Panthers coach Ron Rivera explains the thinking behind benching Cam Newton

The Carolina Panthers came out on offense Sunday night with a new quarterback under center. Derek Anderson took the first snap and immediately threw a pick, thus ending the Panthers’ opening drive before it even started. The fact that Cam Newton wasn’t in there sent shockwaves through the Internet as everyone was scrambling for answers.

At halftime, it was revealed that Newton was benched for a dress code violation, which was later determined to be the result of him not wearing a tie. Head coach Ron Rivera put his foot down and treated Newton like every other player, and he received a lot of criticism for it – particularly because of the opening interception by Anderson.

Rivera knew it’d be an unpopular decision, too.

Rivera added that he’s done the same thing before, and it was just a matter of treating Newton like the other 52 players on the team.

Newton admitted that he knew the team rules and understood that he was required to wear a tie – he simply opted not to. Here was his explanation of the situation, which stemmed from him not packing the appropriate clothing for the road trip.

Rivera believes it was such a big deal last night because Newton is a quarterback, not a guard or defensive tackle.