Richardson not Wrong in What He Told Newton

Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson told a local sports radio talk show host about the suddenly controversial conversation with Cam Newton before this year’s draft.

He told Newton not to get any tattoos nor piercings during that conversation, with the point being that he wanted a clean-cut player as the face of his franchise.

This was not about Richardson being an overt, old-school racist.  It’s about what he thinks is best for his team in the long run.  Richardson knows that his team would not be as marketable – especially in this part of the country (the Carolinas) – with some brother who’s tatted up, blinged out of his mind, and with his pants hanging down below his ass.

Newton is a clean-cut young brother who says the right things, and appears to be a hard worker to boot.  Given by his “no sirs” to Richardson while answering the questions “do you have tattoos?” and “do you have any piercings?”, Newton may well be on his way to being the franchise icon that Richardson desires.

The more clean-cut, the more endorsements $$$ a player – white or black – can make.  Ask the Titans’ Chris Johnson and Allen Iverson if that is a big deal.

There are some people understand what Richardson was doing like this sista.  Unfortunately, I know that there are the Jesse Jacksons of the world, the NAACP and other folks who may scream about how what a racist bastard Richardson is, like this guy.  A lot more people think he was over the top, like this guy.

Richardson should tell those folks to kiss his ass.  It’s his team, and if he wants his franchise QB to be a clean-cut, straight-laced brother (like we were raised to be, right?), then so be it.

It’s Richardson’s team – not mine, yours’ or anyone else’s.

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7 replies

  1. Richardson should not have gone public with that. If he wants to have a private conversation with his franchise player and suggest that it’s in both their interests for him to present a clean cut image, that’s fine.

    When he makes the conversation public, it can be interpreted that he’s ordering Newton to toe the line. The Yankees have always had a clean cut policy and it’s served them well. Richardson has lost some trust. If I were Newton and had another conversation with Richardson, I would wonder if he’s giving me good advice or just plans to make himself look good when he brags about it later.

    You’re absolutely right, Klownboy. Getting endorsements are all about appealing to as broad a section of the public as possible. MJ, Tiger, Bird, Magic, Dr. J, even Barkley maintained a generally clean cut appearance that would not offend the mainstream. MJ goes so far as to not make political endorsements. His explanation was his famous remark, “republicans buy shoes too”.

    Jim Brown criticizes them and he’s entitled to his opinion. But Tiger and MJ can use their corporate contacts to raise millions through their foundations and provide lots of service to the needy. (Well, not so much with Tiger now, but you get the point). There’s more than one way to skin a cat.

    Is that selling out or just good business? Depends on your point of view.

    It’s funny that Ice Cube used to poke fun at Will Smith for his PG rated lyrics and mainstream friendly image. Now he’s completely adopted it himself.

  2. I agree up to a point. Your last sentence implies that Richardson has the right to make Newton adopt a clean cut, straight laced appearance. Unless it’s been collectively bargained, he doesn’t.

    Certainly he can recommend or suggest. But he can’t treat Newton any differently than he treats his snarling linebackers or safeties.

    All Richardson had to say was something like, “Your clean cut, professional look is great for our image. It’s part of why we drafted you and want to make you the face of the franchise. Keep up a respectable image in your dress and actions off the field. Not only will it make our team look good, but Madison ave. will make you even richer than I just did”.

    • Yo,

      I see what you are saying, but again the bottom line it’s Richardson’s team. Plus you gotta give it up to the old man for knowing how to market his QB to the locals…

  3. Yes, it’s Richardson’s team. But the amount of autonomy he has over the players has been collectively bargained. I’m not privvy to the agreement but it’s clear to me that tattoos, earrings and long hair have not been prohibited. Therefore, he can’t single Mr. Newton out and tell him to abide by a different standard than other players.

    He can certainly suggest, advise, cajole, even beg if he wants to! But it’s in bad taste for him to divulge his conversation with a third party and give the appearance that he’s telling Mr. Newton what’s what.

  4. Why is this racist exactly?? The race card is played WAY too often. It pretty much invalidates your entire column. Try to only use it when it’s obviously in play… Do you honestly think it had to do with him being black? Cuz white dudes never get tattoos and piercings, right?

    • Uh dude,

      Where in this rant did I call Jerry Richardson a racist? Did you not notice me saying that it is his team and has the right to run it as he sees fit? Hell, did you even bother to read it?

      After all the rant was titled “Richardson not Wrong in What He Told Newton”.


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