Carolina Panthers break into fight at training camp

Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera didn’t appreciate the “chippiness” of Tuesday’s practice.

ron rivera

The day was marked with multiple late and/or cheap shots between teammates. Eventually, the unsettled team broke into a “melee” which involved a dozen Panthers.

“We can’t have chippiness or late shots toward a teammate,” Rivera said afterward. “The concern obviously is it escalates and it festers and it lingers and the next time we go out on the football field somebody is taking a shot …”

Rivera ended up at midfield waiving his fists in air, yelling and hollering at players.

“We can’t afford to have anybody that we truly need get caught up in this.”

The scrum, or melee, was between players from the offense and defense. By the time third-year quarterback Cam Newton was pulled from the altercation, there were more than twelve players in the middle of it.

“You have to look at it like a double-edged sword,” Newton said. “On one hand, you have to like the fire in the guys. But at the same time, you have to be respectful of guys’ careers. When a fight breaks out, anything can happen.

“For something that can be just for kicks and giggles, somebody can get a sprained ankle or hurt. So that was coach Rivera doing his fatherly due diligence, trying to protect his players and express to us to play smarter.”

The incidents are mostly being reported where one player is on offense, and the other defense.

Many of the reported altercations are occurring on receivers down field in vulnerable positions, positions where injuries are not just possible, but likely.

The Panthers looked like a promising turnaround when Cam Newton first arrived two years ago. But 2012 was another disappointing season, and fighting at training camp isn’t going to help change things.

At its current level, Rivera has actually had to threaten players that they will sit if they are unable to abide by the rules he sets.

The NFLPA does not currently have a statute regarding players who are put in time-out, but they may need one soon.

  • 1molly23

    Don’t these high paid loooooosers have anything else to do?