Cam Newton on Packers banner: A matter of respect
The Carolina Panthers are reviewing the policy on fan banners and signs at Bank of America Stadium, after complaints were filed against quarterback Cam Newton Sunday for ripping down a banner held by Green Bay Packers fans.
The banner and flag policy is under review, not only to make it more clear, but to “serve the best interests of our organization,” Scott Paul, stadium operations executive director, said in a statement Monday.
When asked Tuesday whether all fan banners – including those made by Panthers fans – could be banned from the stadium, Panthers staff said, “It was under review.”
The Packers fan’s banner – which included a green map of North Carolina, the Green Bay logo and phrase “North Carolina cheesehead” – was approved by security before it was brought into the stadium and was deemed in compliance with rules. Those rules include not affixing banners or flags for opposing teams to any stadium surface. At the time Newton grabbed the banner, Dobs said he and his family were holding it in their hands, dangling it over a wall.
The team has reached out to the Green Bay fan, Mike Dobs, of Fayetteville, with an offer to replace the $500 banner that Newton grabbed during pregame events Sunday. Newton apparently ripped up the sign, making it impossible to return to Dobs, a retired veteran who works at Fort Bragg.
A Panthers tailgating group, the 652 Gang, has also offered to replace the banner with the help of one of its corporate sponsors, Steele Creek Printing & Design Inc.
“We’d rather not see opposing signage in our stadium, but when this policy was developed, it was consistent with the vast majority of NFL stadiums,” Paul, the stadium official, said in the Monday statement. “We’ve just begun the process and are working to finish the review in a timely manner.”
He said he does not believe a policy change would lessen the “game day experience” for fans, whether they are cheering for the Panthers or their opponents.
“The reality is that we continue to see very few banners on game day and don’t feel that policy changes would in any way impact the atmosphere at our home games,” Paul said.
The stadium has become increasingly cautious of what people bring into the venue after four environmental activists rappelled from the upper deck and unfurled a banner at a Panthers game earlier this month, calling on Charlotte-based Bank of America to quit financing Dominion Resources, which is building a liquefied natural gas facility.
Dobs said this week that security was so tight Sunday that he had to open his banner for examination multiple times at various security points before being allowed to take it into the stands.