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September 24, 2012

Rivera: Smith's words to Newton should have stayed private

Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said Monday that he believed Steve Smith's discussion with Cam Newton in the fourth quarter of the New York Giants game should have stayed in the locker room.

"When two players talk about things and it's between them, it stays between them and we move on from there and look at the fact that we play Atlanta on Sunday," Rivera said at his Monday press conference.

The confrontation made national news last week after it was reported that Smith went to a sulking Newton on the sideline after the quarterback had thrown his third interception of the game. The 12-year wide receiver and one of the team captains said he had some "unchoice words" for the second-year star quarterback to get off the bench and watch the game with the rest of the team on the sideline.

Rivera said he does not think the issue will divide the two men, but he reiterated that he would have preferred that conversation stay within the locker room walls.

"It's all part of it. You've got to learn to accept it whether you get criticized or you're the one criticizing," Rivera said. "You take it for what it is, and it's a discussion. And honestly, I just wish it was a discussion that would have been kept between the two of them. I don't think it needs to be out there. But that's what happened so I'm going to leave it at that."

ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported Sunday that Newton has been seeing a "mind coach" to help him adjust to the expectations surrounding the quarterback following his Rookie of the Year performance.

Rivera said if Newton was seeing a coach, it's no one affiliated with the team. But Rivera praised the 23-year-old for seeking one out.

"Anytime guys find opportunities to help them deal with certain situations and circumstances that's great, and I mean it<" Rivera said. "I got a guy on speed dial that I talk to who's a sports psychologist that I've known since 1999, and he's been outstanding with me. So I see no problems or issues with it. I think it's outstanding that he's been proactive and trying to help himself, if that's what he's doing."

--Jonathan Jones

Posted by Observer Sports on September 24, 2012 at 12:58 PM | Permalink


I sure wish Marty Hurney would see one so he could help Cam with some good draft choices for a change. Mr. Richardson does Marty have some naked pictures of you or something?

Posted by: KEVIN | Sep 24, 2012 1:18:27 PM

This team has too much talent to be playing so poorly. THIS IS A COACHING PROBLEM!!! Rivera get your team motivated and ready to play. NO excuses!

Southernboy JJ

Posted by: Southernboy JJ | Sep 24, 2012 1:21:54 PM

With all due respect Coach, you are completely wrong. Fans are THRILLED to know that Smith got on Cam like that. This wasn't just 'oops, bad throw.' This was sitting, sulking, pouting, not doing a THING to improve the situation. That has got to stop, and Cam deserved the tongue lashing that Smith gave him. Man up Cam!

Posted by: Jack | Sep 24, 2012 1:26:54 PM

he should've punched that towel right off of his strange head.

Smith should be our GM and Coach.

Posted by: big gulps | Sep 24, 2012 1:30:43 PM

Well he's seeking help, thats a start! And Rivera needs to light a fire under the players to do better!!!! It starts with coaching! If someone is performing poorly........benched them!!! but dont wait until 4th qtr when the game is out of reach to do so either!

Posted by: Big Daddy | Sep 24, 2012 1:36:33 PM

The Panthers need to relax. The Giants played great and showed the Panthers all the things they need to work on to become a better team. Mostly - better line play on both sides of the ball.

Posted by: Dom | Sep 24, 2012 1:36:33 PM

Well he's seeking help, thats a start! And Rivera needs to light a fire under the players to do better!!!! It starts with coaching! If someone is performing poorly........benched them!!! but dont wait until 4th qtr when the game is out of reach to do so either!

Posted by: Big Daddy | Sep 24, 2012 1:36:34 PM

I would love to have the talent of Cam newton. Put me in his position and see if I need a Psychologist. Play football and get paid. All he needs to due is worry about football and everything else will take care of itself. This is a big bunch of crap catering to a baby. I was very hard on on Jimmey Clausen for his play but you want to talk about a professional I have the utmost respect for the guy because of the way he carries himself. Steve Smith did the right thing and for coach Rivera to say that he didn't makes me question his philosophies.

Posted by: U Know | Sep 24, 2012 1:44:11 PM

Why do you see all the elite QB's around the league on the phone with coaches from the sideline or looking at photo's. Trying to improve their play. All you ever see is Cam sitting on the end of the bench with the towel around his head. I don't completely blame him, but what is the coach doing letting him get by with it. Do your job and tell the offensive coordinator and QB to get off their butts when the defense is on the field and talk about what can be done differently. Rivera step up and COACH

Posted by: LC | Sep 24, 2012 1:45:35 PM

Let me make sure I have this straight - Smitty should WAIT until AFTER the game to tell Cam to get up and take mental reps?!? Huh?

Posted by: PSLOwner | Sep 24, 2012 1:53:08 PM

Cam needs to let the offensive line have it! Hurney keep spending money on backs and don't worry about getting o-lineman who can block! Gross needs to give up his Captain C to Cam for getting him killed!

Posted by: joe cool | Sep 24, 2012 1:54:00 PM

I'm with a few others who are glad it's public. Newton has to be a leader out there - a leader when times are good AND when they're bad. He needs to be the inspirational figure the team can rally around when they're down, and he has to remain motivated when he's the one making the mistakes. He has GOT to fix his attitude before this team can be a contender.

Posted by: Curry | Sep 24, 2012 2:01:38 PM

I guess Steve Smith is growing up a little. At least he didn't sucker punch Cam in the mouth as he's done in the past to teammates and had the Panthers side with him. I'm glad Cam doesn't LIKE losing. The last thing they need is a quarterback who is comfortable losing.

Posted by: Clt | Sep 24, 2012 2:02:02 PM

Baloney...Smith did the right thing. Judging by the way Rivera spoke, I doubt he nor anyone else on his staff would have chewed on Cam's ear.

Posted by: Tvan | Sep 24, 2012 2:08:42 PM

Is Cam making a few extra bucks from Gatorade for wearing their towel on his noggin on the sidelines?

Posted by: eduardo | Sep 24, 2012 2:09:20 PM

Coach get over it! Your team stunk the place up as well as your preparation and coaching. Do you want Steve to be a yes man as well? We need a leader to be a leader and if that means getting onto his fellow teammates then so be it. We have enough choir boys. By the end of the season, my season tickets will not be worth the paper they are printed on!

Posted by: lpappy | Sep 24, 2012 2:11:01 PM

Fire Marty Hurney.

Posted by: Mark | Sep 24, 2012 2:18:57 PM

Steve Smith telling anyone to not act like a baby is comical.

Posted by: Doug | Sep 24, 2012 2:19:47 PM

Coach Rivera maybe should have told Smitty this privately... Smitty said nothing that isn't obvious to even the most casual observer. Good leaders are humble and always striving to do better. The towel seems to be symbolic of his wanting to shut out his surroundings (teammates) on the sideline. If he wants to be elite, he'll have to grow (up).

Posted by: BB | Sep 24, 2012 2:29:01 PM

Marty H needs to go!!

Posted by: firemarty | Sep 24, 2012 2:29:35 PM

I agree the conversation Steve Smith had with Cam Newton should have remained between them. Why did Steve Smith feel it necessary to discuss this with the media? We all know Steve Smith is an integral part of this team, but he is also a very selfish player. How ironic the guy who sucker punched two teammates, used profanity when he felt he should be a WR and not just a kickoff/punt returner, expressed how he felt he was underpaid is the person telling Cam how to behave. Cam is going to be a great player. Give him an opportunity to mature and grow into his leadership role with this team. The team needs to let Cam know his desire to win is not his burden to carry alone. Maybe if more members of this team felt as badly as Cam does after a defeat there would be better play in all areas of the game the next week. GO PANTHERS!

Posted by: Sugarbugga | Sep 24, 2012 2:29:42 PM

TVAN Yes Cam has a contract with Gatorade for real.

Posted by: KEVIN | Sep 24, 2012 2:44:46 PM

I think most fans see it as a mentoring that Steve is doing when he gets on Cam about sulking on the sidelines. The fact Steve cares enough to get on Cam shows he's got all the right to help Cam snap out of his funky attitude.

Posted by: Jon | Sep 24, 2012 2:46:23 PM

Kevin, I didn't bring up the Gatorade contract. That was eduardo . The name is under the comment.

Posted by: Tvan | Sep 24, 2012 2:47:00 PM

I think people should get use to seeing this type of sulking and bad loser type of behavior. This stems from not taking score in kids games, letting them swing as many times as it takes them to hit the ball and everyone getting trophies at the end of the season. No losers. Everone's a winner. Kids need to be taught how to be good losers at a young age and there is only one way to do that and that is by losing.

Posted by: Panthergreat89 | Sep 24, 2012 2:47:07 PM

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