Panthers claim Cam Newton was poked in the eye

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Panthers quarterback Cam Newton took a hit to the head with less than 10 minutes to play in Sunday’s loss to the Saints. While walking to the sideline, he stopped and went to a knee. After spending some time on the field, Newton went to the sideline.

He missed one play (a third-down that was unsuccessful and led to a punt) before returning on the next drive.

So what happened? He received a concussion evaluation in the medical tent, but he was quickly cleared to return.

“We are in contact now with the Panthers’ medical staff and we will not comment further until those conversations are completed,” the NFL said in a statement issued on Sunday night.

The Panthers offered an alternative explanation to the possibility that Newton suffered a concussion.

“He actually got poked in the eye,” coach Ron Rivera told reporters after the game. “They took him in there as a precautionary [measure] just to make sure, but when he was sitting on the ground, they were trying to wipe whatever when he got popped. So that’s what that was.”

If that’s what it was, then there was no need for a concussion evaluation in the medical tent. And if there was need for a concussion evaluation at all, the fact that Newton ended up on the ground means — based on a changes to the protocol announced late last month by the NFL and the NFL Players Association — that he should have been taken to the locker room for an evaluation.

The new procedures, according to the joint statement, “[r]equire a locker room concussion evaluation for all players demonstrating gross or sustained vertical instability (e.g., stumbling or falling to the ground when trying to stand).” The language has no exception for eye pokes or other head injuries that aren’t brain injuries.

For the play resulting in the injury, the broadcast footage shows Newton spin away from one Saints player. Before Newton can straighten himself out, Newton takes a chest to his helmet. He then lays on the his left side with his right arm in a fixed position, motionless for a second or two. As teammates help him up, Newton squints with his left eye, then with his right.

Next comes Newton’s inability to walk off the field. He takes a knee, and then he takes a seat. After removing his helmet, he blinks his eyes but he never rubs them or otherwise behaves the way most would when actually poked in the eye. Instead, he sits there, periodically blinking either eye, with no clear sign of trauma to either of them. (Minutes later, he’s seen holding a towel over his right eye.)

And, yes, it’s hard to understand how he was poked in the eye at all, given that he wears a plastic eye shield inside his face mask.

Based on the things that happened in the immediate aftermath of the hit, and in light of the recent changes to the policy, Newton’s behavior was enough to compel a locker-room concussion evaluation — especially if the league’s routinely-stated concerns for player safety causes the league to resolve any doubt in favor of ensuring that the player is fit to continue.

But here’s the problem the NFL faces in playoff games that have progressed to crunch time. By being excessively (and appropriately) concerned about key players who possibly suffered head injuries in those moments, there’s a chance that a key player will be kept from playing for 10 or 15 minutes of real time while he undergoes a locker-room evaluation, only to eventually be cleared.

Without Newton, the Panthers wouldn’t have cut the New Orleans lead from 31-19 to 31-26. Without Newton, the Panthers wouldn’t have had a chance to drive the field and win the game in the final minute. And if Newton eventually had emerged from the locker room without a concussion, someone would have argued that an overly cautious doctor or trainer or whoever directly affected the outcome of a playoff game.

That’s why, no matter what the league does to create the impression for parents, pundits, and politicians that the game is safe, key players in key moments will be more likely to be allowed to assume the full range of risks that comes from playing football — including but not limited to the risk of suffering a concussion, and then suffering another only minutes later.

85 responses to “Panthers claim Cam Newton was poked in the eye

  1. I think the NFL did a good job with Newton. All is good. No concussion. No need to make a big deal out of nothing. The better team won. Cam might some day try to become a QB instead of RB. The QB position is one that is played above the shoulders, not below the knees.

  2. Isn’t violating the concussion protocol the same measly $100,000 fine that Seattle was happy to cough up earlier in the year when Russell Wilson was sent to the sideline?

  3. The game ended the right way. But still, couldn’t he have take like two more steps to clear that double vision problem?

  4. Guy got a cleat to the visor. As shown and mentioned during the game. Who mentioned anything about a concussion? Guy was lucid and able on the field. This article…???

  5. Saints fan here, Cam drives us all crazy but that’s because he’s a tough son of a gun. If he had any weapons at all today might have been different. As it turns out, Gano’s missed 25-yard field goal at the beginning of the game made a world of difference at the end of the game.

  6. Typical of the Saints. How much was the coach paying the players this game? Wasn’t aware that Gregg Williams was able to call mid game.

  7. charliecharger says:
    January 7, 2018 at 9:53 pm

    The QB position is one that is played above the shoulders, not below the knees.
    ——-
    If that’s true why do 90% of NFL QB’s stink?

  8. From a non-medical standpoint it was smart to FAKE the eye injury including putting ice on the eye for the cameras. It should be obvious to any educated individual that Newton was concussed, protocol was ignored, and that Carolina was prepared to accept the inevitable fine just to get him back into the game and give them the chance to win that they miraculously ended up with.

    Team going to get sold now, so what is a fine going to mean? No one will be held accountable for this.

  9. “Without Newton, the Packers wouldn’t have cut the New Orleans lead from 31-19 to 31-26. ”

    Your inner Green Bay is showing

    Lolz

  10. The plastic shield could have come into contact with Newton’s eye during the ‘chest to the helmet’ hit.

  11. “Without Newton, the Packers wouldn’t have cut the New Orleans lead from 31-19 to 31-26.”
    ———————–

    First, Packers didn’t play. Second, the pass was straightforward that even Derek Anderson would’ve completed. Nice try though.

  12. “Without Newton, the Packers wouldn’t have cut the New Orleans lead from 31-19 to 31-26. ”

    Can’t get the Cheeseheads off your mind huh??

  13. Sunglasses at post-game press conference:
    Post-Concussion Syndrome Light Sensitivity. One of the most common symptoms of concussion and post-concussion syndrome is photophobia, or painful light sensitivity. … Some common symptoms of TBI and concussion light sensitivity include: Eyestrain

  14. This is beyond idiotic trying to create controversy. You can see the Carolina sideline telling Newton to go down on purpose on the field to get the injury timeout. Otherwise they would need to waste one and get the backup Anderson in. At no point was he stumbling around like a concussed player.

  15. I hate Cam as much as the next guy, but I thought it was pretty obvious he was poked in the eye. Especially on the replays they showed, seems like his facemask/shield got pushed up there. I don’t even know why I come to this site anymore, the authors make up so much crap just to push agenda’s, it’s ridiculous.

  16. Being poked in the eye doesn’t cause a person to stumble and fall. Incredibly weak cover Panthers. He was obviously concussed. This is why I laugh when players complain about the NFL not caring about their safety. The players only care when it advances their purposes. Just like the teams.

  17. He did show signs of being poked in the eye with the tear running from his right eye. Rewatch when he is sitting on the ground, they even talked about the visor hitting him in the eye during the game.

  18. josh1973sun says:
    January 7, 2018 at 10:20 pm
    Being poked in the eye doesn’t cause a person to stumble and fall. Incredibly weak cover Panthers. He was obviously concussed. This is why I laugh when players complain about the NFL not caring about their safety. The players only care when it advances their purposes. Just like the teams.

    4 1 Rate This

    ——————-

    pretty sure you don’t get pulled in a playoff game for being poked in the eye nor do you go through concussion protocol

    the fact is, he went into the tent for a reason

    carolina cheated and lied

    will article 46 and the integrity police come forward?

  19. He may of been poked in the eye but he was out when he was on the ground. He was froze up about 2 seconds.

    Then he goes down before he got to the sidelines. Thought the NFL said they had people in the booth or on the sidelines to monitor this ?

  20. Newt probably goes through that routine of alternately blinking his eyes, looking dazed, not being able to decide if he wants to stand, sit, or kneel when he eats his breakfast cereal in the morning. Or watches someone walk their dog past his front window.

  21. If you think Cam Newton was the problem tonight, you probably just need to stop watching football all together. Like seriously, because your overwhelming bias is showing.

  22. I agree with charliecharger, and wonder why this took 1000 words or more. There was some questionable officiating (surprise) but nothing cost the Panthers the game. I am surprised they were in the game with the way they played.

  23. Newton’s helmet has a face shield, no way another players fingers go up inside the face shield thru the face cage AND a face shield. i call BS.

  24. “He actually got poked in the eye,” coach Ron Rivera told reporters after the game. “They took him in there as a precautionary [measure] just to make sure, but when he was sitting on the ground, they were trying to wipe whatever when he got popped. So that’s what that was.”

    This is BS! Cam Newton wears a visor which makes it nearly impossible for him to get hit in the eye. Cam got rocked and was very slow to get up. All the camera shots they showed made him look woozy. Considering those parameters any objective neurologist would administer a concussion test. Florio is 100% correct! Cam Newton should have been taken to locker room (like Travis Kelce was) for a further testing.

    However, as Florio correctly points out the NFL does not really care about player safety when it compromises ratings(money). The NFL does not want its star players to miss a playoff game because they might have a concussion.

  25. Concussed doesn’t exclude his having also been poked in eye. However, I suspect he really was mildly concussed and was having vision problems from that issue. Glad he seems to be alright. Plenty of time to fully recover from whatever it was.

  26. From the way he was acting, I figured it had to be something with his eye. I figured maybe a contact lense got knocked out, or maybe some of the back rubber pellets in the RealTurf got in his eye. He didn’t appear fuzzy or unsteady to me…he was acting more like a guy who had gotten poked in the eye, but the replay didn’t show him getting a hand inside his visor or anything like that. It was a strange sequence, for sure.

  27. They don’t call him Scam Newton for nothing. “My neck. My back. My neck and my back. No interviews. Especially with questions from the ladies……Dab.”

  28. Did anyone on here watch the game?? The replay clearly showed his visor get kicked. Deflecting inward right at his eye. They had a closeup of this happen.

  29. If your own equipment, made to PROTECT your eye, injures your eye, get different equipment. Or excuses. Cam was mauled all day and acted like Cam getting mauled all day. SB50 sound familiar? So tired of Cam the Glam.

  30. A man doesn’t go to his knees nearly falling down on the way to the sidelines because of a poked eye. Cam clearly had a concussion and the Panthers once again violated concussion protocol.

    But nothing will happen because everyone knows that Goodell doesn’t actually care about concussions. He cares about the appearance of caring about concussions.

  31. ‘If that’s what it was, then there was no need for a concussion evaluation in the medical tent.’
    Geezus people, if they DIDN’T at least look at him in the tent then the NFL would yell at them. Anyone that watched the game saw he got poked in the eye area, so give it a rest. And no, Cam is not anywhere near my favorite player, so I’m not sticking up for HIM.

  32. So very happy and glad that the Panthers lost. Cam is a loser as a person and was faking this eye poke. At least Wilson had some class when he tried to get back on the field. Well Cam you can put on your fine duds and waltz around the talk circuit until next summer.

  33. During the game they said that he hadn’t been poked in the eye, but that the plastic device he had there had been dislodged and that was what hit his eye. According to the sideline reporter, it was that that had hit him and not a finger in his eye. As for the concussion tent…aren’t they supposed to do an evaluation by an independent specialist at the specialist’s choosing? After a hit like that, I would hope he would go into the tent to at least get checked up. Getting hit in the head or in the eye socket does not instantly give you a concussion.

    I’m not saying that teams don’t have incentive to play their best players in spite of injury, but I’m not sure that this article is more accurate than what I heard from the sideline reporter during the game.

  34. I hope the new owner trades Cam

    If you really think about it, he’s not that good, outside of one season where he won mvp but couldn’t dive on a fumble in the super bowl. His drama is unnecessary and not acceptable in a championship winning culture.

  35. A poke in the eye is not what stopped the Panthers. Cam Newton is simply not a good QB. The most inaccurate QB ever. He is also a child and incapable of being a leader.

  36. Bird smashed into the windshield of my car. Poked me in the eye.

    That’s basically what they’re claiming. that somehow the visor which is flat and 4 inches away from his eyes somehow managed to be pushed in far enough to hit him in the eye yet never fell out of the helmet. It deflected 4 inches to the mans eye and put him on the ground (remember Cam is supposed to be a LB playing QB) but never fell out of the helmet or broke..

    Riiiight….

  37. skawh says:
    January 7, 2018 at 10:00 pm
    charliecharger says:
    January 7, 2018 at 9:53 pm

    The QB position is one that is played above the shoulders, not below the knees.
    ——-
    If that’s true why do 90% of NFL QB’s stink?

    They only seem to stink b/c you’re comparing them to Brady & Manning (not Eli). We’ve been spoiled by the 2 greatest QB’s ever to wear a helmet. Once Brady is gone we may see the league deteriorate into that JAX Buf game. You know, the type that we watched back in the good ol’ days. Boring, tedious, low scoring. People forget what life was like before the Mad Bomber Lamonica or Air Coryelle.

  38. It wouldn’t even be possible to know if that big dummy had a concussion or not.

    Great hit though.

  39. Might wanna remember this. Newton pulled the same sort of stunt during the Vikings game as well. Made it to within 10 feet of the sideline and “collapsed” as well. Unsure where the eye poke or concussion comes into play…just saying, it wasn’t the first time.

  40. I hope there aren’t any Saints fans calling out Carolina on this. If they are, they probably need to explain how Coby Fleener got leveled earlier in the season, wasn’t evaluated, was allowed to play, then placed on IR for a concussion the next week. If Payton ain’t cheatin’, he ain’t coaching.

  41. Oh, gee. Now Panthers fans are whining that the Saints intentionally poked Newton in the eye and that’s why they lost the game.
    That’s a joke. Sean Payton did his very best to help you win it with that bonehead call to go for it in 4 and 2 around midfield, and Newton couldn’t pull it off. If the Panthers “D” back had used his head, he’d have dropped the interception and the Panthers would have had the ball at midfield with about 50 seconds left
    So you had plenty of chances to steal that game even with no time-outs, but you didn’t get it done.
    You lost. Deal with it. The Saints had the better QB, and that was the difference in the game.

  42. I don’t like Newton and I’m glad he lost the game. But it was obvious to me that he was poked in the eye.

  43. The dropped end zone TD (to Clay?) would have “sealed the deal!” for Cam-rolina. But sadly too, Cam was concussed, so an eventual NFC Conference Final with Hotlanta (Eagles are “one and done” lol) would have been null and void.

  44. This ‘eye’ stuff is just a cover up by the team and the NFL is embracing it because it covers them even more. It is now the next morning and they just replayed the events in detail all angles. He never reaches for his eye. He is unsteady on his feet and cant stay on them. He cant even be led to the sideline he is too wobbly to get there. Also they showed his arm and hand movements in the seconds right after the hit. That was a concussion all the way.

    But as far as addressing the Panthers that should just be a quick $100k no more because that stays consistent with Seattle. And nothing should happen to Cam, Ill even rescind some of my past comments on his toughness. Its the NFL that needs to address their system, because what we see here is a team and player can still coerce the league monitors into bavking down when they want to. In order to protect players from themselves these guys gotta be willing to stand up and do the right thing in the face of pressure from player or team.

    I think the Oanthers might get away with this story because the NFL wants it even mire than the team.

  45. iejdaniel says:
    January 8, 2018 at 7:43 am
    I hope there aren’t any Saints fans calling out Carolina on this. If they are, they probably need to explain how Coby Fleener got leveled earlier in the season, wasn’t evaluated, was allowed to play, then placed on IR for a concussion the next week. If Payton ain’t cheatin’, he ain’t coaching.

    ——————
    The funny thing is that with that little rant you just acknowledged there is something to be called out.

  46. MCxShow says:
    January 8, 2018 at 12:47 am
    I hope the new owner trades Cam

    If you really think about it, he’s not that good, outside of one season where he won mvp but couldn’t dive on a fumble in the super bowl. His drama is unnecessary and not acceptable in a championship winning culture.

    ——————-
    He looks good to me. He even looked really good in that game, its just that Brees was better. Also regardless of his past the Cam I saw yesterday played with heart and determination.

    After all the choke games we have had dumped on us I thought this one was refreshing. It was hard fought, both teams played tough. Its just that every game has to gave a victor and a vanquished as did this one.

  47. In your step-by-step commentary of Cam’s every move before/during/after being evaluated on the field, you missed the part where he makes a fumbled & failed attempt at undoing his chin strap before he drops to the ground… …I’m sure we can ALL relate to having been poked in the eye, and then suddenly losing the hand strength and coordination required for undoing a simple snap. RIGHT??

    I’m the first one to complain about the over-sensitivity to every single hit the occurs in the league these days – but in this specific case, there is no doubt this was a player in distress whose safety was absolutely compromised for the sake of getting the win. And there is NOTHING anybody can or will ever do about it! It’s the nature of the sport, these players have all signed on for the risk, and we just need to accept that this kind of stuff will ALWAYS happen in football…

  48. He had a concussion, it’s common knowledge. But like Wilson’s case, it’s bad for the brand when their media-darlings are not on the field.

  49. I have been one of the first to criticize Cam in the past….but he played his heart out yesterday and made some tremendous throws. It was just too bad his receivers could not hold on to them

  50. That’s why, no matter what the league does to create the impression for parents, pundits, and politicians that the game is safe, key players in key moments will be more likely to be allowed to assume the full range of risks that comes from playing football — including but not limited to the risk of suffering a concussion, and then suffering another only minutes later.

    —–

    Tell that to the Bills.

  51. THat’s what it looked like. The only thing I questioned was that he has a plastic shield but it certainly looked like his eyes were bloodshot and poked. Why is it that the NFL is the only sport that lives in weekly stupid controversy?

  52. Non-story. I think it was all handled OK, and it’s playoff time this is what they play for, unless the dude is obviously knocked out or concussed then no reason to go all crazy with it.

    Also he didn’t fall to the ground because of injury, you can clearly see the trainer/coach there come out and tell him to go down so they get the injury timeout and give time for the backup QB to warm up a bit.

  53. iejdaniel says:
    January 8, 2018 at 7:43 am

    I hope there aren’t any Saints fans calling out Carolina on this. If they are, they probably need to explain how Coby Fleener got leveled earlier in the season, wasn’t evaluated, was allowed to play, then placed on IR for a concussion the next week. If Payton ain’t cheatin’, he ain’t coaching.

    —————————————————————————————–

    Fleener went back in the game for one play before they took him out, and it’s because he got up and trotted back to the huddle after the play so they had no reason to think anything was wrong. After the next play they pulled him out. This is not even close to the same thing.

  54. So who exactly poked him in the eye. He was sacked and tried to continue running and the defensive lineman hit him straight up and knocked him over! At what point did a hand or finger go under Cam’s visor to “Poke” him in the eye. Maybe his visor brushed against his eye on the tackle but that’s not on the Saints defender and it not a penalty. While Cam was on the ground, the Saints defender’s cleat was near his shield but again how can that be intentional on the Saints or be considered dirty play instructed by Sean Payton. They lost the game when they had an opportunity to win and didn’t capitalize on it…dang!

  55. I don’t see how Cam Cheating could have had a concussion.

    He only uses his brain stem and there is no actual adult thought processes that go on in his head – since he never uses anything above the brain stem, I believe all he had was a poked eye from wearing a shield that protects him from poked eyes.

    (sarcasm)

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