Inside the Panthers

Panthers’ Ron Rivera: Violent protests in Charlotte not ‘right way’

Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said Wednesday that the way to deal with dissatisfaction with the status quo in government is to get out and vote. He said protests in Charlotte that turned violent Tuesday night are not the right way.
Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said Wednesday that the way to deal with dissatisfaction with the status quo in government is to get out and vote. He said protests in Charlotte that turned violent Tuesday night are not the right way. dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera says he thinks it’s unfair his players were dragged into race and politics Wednesday by reporters asking for their reactions to Tuesday’s officer-involved shooting in Charlotte.

But Rivera jumped into the conversation by saying the violence, destruction and looting that followed the killing of Keith Lamont Scott were not the “right way” to protest.

“Eight years ago, this country did something nobody ever thought we would do. We elected an African-American president,” Rivera said. “Why did we do that? Because people got up and voted. There was a movement. We changed things. This country changed things because that’s what happened.

“So maybe instead of tearing up your own city, maybe instead of doing things the wrong way, we do things the right way. This is a democratic society. Like I said, vote. It’s the most powerful thing we have. That’s what the men and women of our armed services fought for – these rights.

“Maybe that’s what we need to do: Take a deep breath and do the right thing and do it the right way. I’m not sure if what happened last night was the right way. I just don’t know. I know this much: I’m going to vote like I do every year or every two years. I’m going to vote and see what happens.”

Rivera also was critical of partisan politics and alluded to the latest chapter in the HB2 controversy, with Charlotte mayor Jennifer Roberts saying the city would not repeal the anti-discrimination ordinance that led to HB2.

“There needs to be some conversation. But the people that should be conversing about it aren’t. Are they? Have they reached across party lines? Have they reached across the Senate and the House and talked about it? Have you heard anything come from them? No, we haven’t, have we?” Rivera said.

“The governor’s trying to get something changed and the city won’t talk to him. I probably shouldn’t have said that, but I did.”

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