In the next 48 hours we’ll get different explanations both on and off the record and from a whole bunch of sources from the front office, close to the players or with knowledge of the situation.
It’ll all be damage control and impossible to separate fact from fiction, like scrolling your Facebook news feed or figuring out why these same Panthers let All-Pro Josh Norman leave for no good reason in the offseason.
(That decision seems more germane to this conversation than anything you can buy at Macy’s.) In the postgame pressers, no one said much of anything though."I’m not going to get into our dress code," Rivera said after the game.Newton described in detail late Sunday night the sequence of events that led to him violating head coach Ron Rivera’s team rule that requires all players to wear a tie.The problem, Newton said, was that he failed to pack a collared dress shirt that would accommodate a tie for the team’s extended West Coast road trip that began with last week’s game at the Oakland Raiders.If I had to guess though, this was a short-term move meant to have long-term impact.
There are many reasons teams that lose in the Super Bowl have, more often than not, disappointing follow-up seasons: the schedule, the fact that you’re now the hunted, the attrition of players who can get bigger deals. That would be far from the only reason for Carolina’s 4-8 record but it’s surely a factor.
But, unless the other 52 guys in the locker room are on board (and you can’t get 52 people to agree that ice cream is good so it’s doubtful the whole team is on Team Ron for this one), there’s always going to be a risk like, say, going out after the benching and getting waxed 40-7 in a primetime game in a listless, embarrassing performance in which the team had the interest and effort as a 12-win NBA team playing the last night of a back-to-back-to-back.
If the point was to fire up the team, to show them that no one’s above the law and that their coach is so confident in them that he can afford to sit his star for a series to make his point, it failed miserably.
Thus, sending a message to your team leader could be a veiled attempt to send one to the whole team. Maybe Rivera had ulterior motives for his move or maybe he made a snap decision that’ll dominate a news cycle.
Maybe it was a move that will help the team down the road or maybe it’ll blow up in the team’s face.
They’re what schools impose on their basketball players to assuage the NCAA. We’re never going to really know what led to the suspension.