Ron Rivera: “Don’t question my integrity” regarding concussions


For a guy who should be a in good mood about the whole 12-0 thing, Panthers coach Ron Rivera was fairly salty in his day-after press conference when asked about the condition of quarterback Cam Newton.

Newton went to the locker room briefly after taking a helmet-to-helmet shot from Saints linebacker Michael Mauti, but didn’t miss a play. He insisted after the game he didn’t have a concussion.

And Rivera apparently didn’t care for questions about Newton’s status Monday, after the team announced after the game that Newton had been cleared by the league’s independent neurologist.

“We follow the rules here,” Rivera said, via Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review. “Don’t question my integrity when it comes to those things. Understand that. I try to be as forthright as I can when I answer your questions. When I’m doing that, the least I could do, is get the common courtesy that I’m being believed.

“Okay, I take it very seriously and it is not up to me to make those decisions and these calls. It’s up to the doctors, just so you understand that. I’m being very upfront with this and very forward because it does bother me. I’m not the doctor. I’m not the one who makes these decisions. We have a protocol and we follow the protocol. We had a player stay out for, what, three or four weeks? And at no point in time did we force that young man onto the field because we believed him. So please, do not question me on this.”

Rivera was alluding to linebacker Luke Kuechly missing three games after his concussion in the opener as evidence that the Panthers are trying to do right by their players.

And while there’s no reason to doubt Rivera’s sincerity, the fact that Rams quarterback Case Keenum was allowed to keep playing with a concussion two weeks ago makes any such questions valid — particularly when they involve an MVP candidate.

He didn’t see it that way.

“I know what happened with the Rams, and I know coach [Jeff] Fisher talked about being in the moment of the game and not knowing – I didn’t know yesterday as far as what had happened, because when plays happen, you go to the next one,” Rivera said of Keenum’s situation. “I can see what coach Fisher’s talking about. And when he [Newton] was over on the sideline shaking his head, I didn’t see that till I saw that on the replay this morning. So as the head coach, you see certain elements of what’s going on. I didn’t see that, and I didn’t know what the whole protocol was going on until well after that game.

“So, again, as I said, I don’t know. I get the information when I get the information. So until I do, it’s hard for me to sit there and tell you anything other than what I do know.”

The problem isn’t with the integrity of any particular team. The problem is two-fold: Players are almost always (with the recent exception of Ben Roethlisberger) going to try to stay on the field even if it means lying to doctors, and the league-installed system to protect them has already failed at least once, and perhaps more often than we know.

51 responses to “Ron Rivera: “Don’t question my integrity” regarding concussions

  1. Cam Newton gets slammed in the head hard. 5 plays later he comes out and goes to the locker room for about 1.5 minutes and comes back into the game. Sounds kind of fishy to me.

  2. There is no way Cam didn’t have some damage done to his brain with that shot.
    I give him kudos for being a tough guy and still playing but that was a direct laser of a helmet to helmet hit that had to make him dizzy.
    Completely legal too.

  3. Statements like this only prove why we need independent spotters. This coach “THINKS” he knows better yet he has no qualifications in order to diagnose concussions. His only job is to win and at any and all cost.

  4. If that had been Brady with that hit, Belichek would have noticed, and immediately pulled him for the concussion test…..wait for it…..

    Because the Patriots are such paragons of virtue and emphatic followers of the rules.

  5. The Carolina Panthers are the Iowa Hawkeyes of pro football.

    The Panthers will meet their Michigan St in the playoffs.

  6. Is there any other teams having anything interesting happening or is this going to be a Panther slobberfest up until Carson Palmer wins the MVP?

    He has to finish a entire season 1st..

  7. No one can say he was def injured b/c it ‘looked’ like a hard hit. These players can take a LOT more than anyone on here. I believe Rivera, but the only issue is that he said he didnt know they were checking for a concussion until after the game. You have to get prepared for the back up incase he did have an injury. Anytime the star of your team goes into the locker room- you know about it 100%. He IS your team, and u just had no idea what his status was??? That sounds weird.

  8. He looked concussed BEFORE he took that hit, the way he slowed down. He thought he was just going to to breeze into the end zone. The whole sequence was really weird. Maybe it’s a good thing he wasn’t going full speed because that was quite a helmet-to-helmet shot he took.

  9. so riverboat ron says believe everything he says regarding concussions as it pertains to the information that he has at that moment. Um ok no…Go BEARS! Woo!

  10. I was skeptical of Rivera when he first interviewed for HC vacancies, and he had to settle for assistant with the Chargers for a minute – tells you that several teams didn’t see it in him, and they’re better coach evaluators than I am. I have to give it up – I think Cam is a turd, but they’re winning, They get something out of Ted Ginn, for God’s sake. He’s a good coach, and former player – if anyone is entitled to a BTFU in this debate, it’s him.

  11. “I’m not a doctor. I’m not the one who makes these decisions”.- Ron Rivera.

    Somehow, that wasn’t comprehended by you people.

  12. Some of the reporters need to get a life and ask relevant questions. Some of these reporters questions are just plain stupid.

  13. His comments are the exact reason why the independent observers were brought in. Coaches do, in fact, have a lot to keep track of and limited access to replays on the field. They cannot, and should not, be required to keep track of the physical health of all of their players.

    That’s I blamed the spotter in the Rams game, and not Jeff Fisher, whom I cannot stand in general.

  14. As Cam stated this morning, he had to go to the bathroom so that’s why he left the field to begin with. The doctors examined him after his bathroom break and cleared him to come back into the game. Clearly, he didn’t have a concussion with the way he finished the game!

    The hate is strong on here for Cam, and who cares. The Panthers have been facing doubters all year long. “Worse team to have won 16 straight regular season games”…..Keep fueling the fire. #KeepPounding

  15. mackcarrington says:
    Dec 7, 2015 2:46 PM

    “I’m not a doctor. I’m not the one who makes these decisions”.- Ron Rivera.

    Somehow, that wasn’t comprehended by you people.


    Couldn’t agree with you more.

  16. How quickly people forget that Luke Kuechly missed 3 games for a concussion. This has nothing to do with Rivera, he did everything he was supposed to to.

  17. I have no dog in this race ( since my SD Chargers stink) but I don’t understand all the negative vitriol against Rivera. He said things to the press that were honest and to the point. If you don’t like his players, so be it, but compared to certain other coaches in the NFL, Rivera is not a villain.

  18. I believe Rivera regarding the concussion protocol. What bothers me is that a series or two after Newton took the pop in question, they ran another quarterback keeper on a first and goal somewhere nearer the 10 than the goal line. Seems like it was taking an unnecessary risk at the time. Call for it on the 1 or 2 yard line, but not that far away. Was this Newton calling his own number? If it was, that is proof that he was suffering some sort of decreased brain function.

  19. i have faith in?Rivera, that being said, if something happens to Cam, the Panthers are screwed.

    he is their heart and soul.

    and face it, the guy does take a lot of risks, i would tell him to tone it down a bit with respect to going head first.

  20. How would anyone know if Cam Newton passes the protocol anyway…he can’t speak in complete sentences when he hasn’t taken a hit. Just sayin’….

  21. So…

    Newton showed no symptoms of concussion.
    Newton says he had no concussion.
    The team trainers and doctors say he had no concussion.
    The independent neurologist said he had no concussion.

    But some idiots on the Internet know more than these people.

  22. The hate for the 12-0 Panthers is unreal!!! Folks stop being salty b/c your team sucks this year! It is what it is! Go get them Ron!!!!!

  23. Don’t question my integrity or I will pummel you into oblivion. I played linebacker for the ’82 freakin’ Bears! Now go about your business.

  24. QBs get a pass when it comes to concussion, Rodgers avoided the medical staff on Thursday when his head hit the turf hard, and Cutler clearly was concussed but they let him play.

  25. I am completely indifferent to the Carolina Panthers, I don’t love them, I don’t hate them. But I think The Panthers are the most well rounded team in the NFL. They have a very good QB. Sure he is a bit to in your face at times, and other times a little childish, but he has a great arm, good accuracy, is tough to bring down, and can scramble.
    Greg Olson is a machine. Cotchery, Funchess, and Ginn may not be Antonio Brown or Chad Johnson, but they can run routes and catch.

    Jonathan Stewart is a bruising RB that can cut. The run game is there.

    The offensive line is solid.

    They have arguably the best MLB in the league in Luke Kuechly. The guy is just plain smart. He calls the defensive audibles and does it very well. He can read offenses. He’s fast. He can cover. He’s a run stuffer. They have arguably the best corner in the league in Josh Norman.
    Throw in Kewaan Short, Thomas Davis, blah, blah.

    This is a well rounded team that is going to be very hard to beat. I would like to see a game where they get out scored in the first half by a couple touchdowns to see how they respond to from being behind, but other than that, I’m sold.

    Why is it everyone continues to doubt this team. Seriously, they were underdogs to the 3-7 Cowboys! At 12-0! Come on, man!

  26. draculalambert says:
    the worst 12-0 team ever,,,,,mark my words, they are 1 and done in playoffs.

    There’s some serious smack there. Wish it was my Giants taking that drubbing and there’s 30 other fan bases that wish it was them absorbing that withering broadside as well

  27. I believe Ron Rivera like many of the smart posters on here. He seems like a stand up man and stand up coach – the fact his defensive MVP missed 3 weeks at least due to concussion protocol and he didn’t say one negative thing says enough.

  28. The only reason would question the proceed would be because cam didn’t leave the field for very long, normally when a player heads to the locker room for concussion protocol they are gone for several series. Cam wasn’t, so it was a valid question by the reporter.

  29. The panthers did come back from 2 td’s in this game. Cam is calling plays at line of scrimmage like Peyton Manning but Peyton is a “genius” and Cam is dumb according to most of these posters. Hum why would they think that? Cam seems to me to be poorly educated but that is different than dumb. I have friends in the rural south who speak with terrible grammar (passed down from generation to generation) and have PhD’s in math and computer science. Don’t equate black and poorly educated with dumb. Cam has become Tom Brady with legs and physical skills. The league better watch out for the next 5-8 years.

  30. pittsburghdamned says:Dec 7, 2015 4:15 PM

    I don’t think Newton started with much brain power to begin with, but you’d think they’d want to protect that lil bit that helps him tie his cleats on game day, etc.
    I find it funny that people think Cam is dumb… he is leading his team to an undefeated season (16 in a row so far) and audibles as much as Peyton did in his prime, not to mention he does this without a “wristcoach” that [insert your favorite QB] wears. But that does not fit your narrative….

    Keep on trolling, they’ll keep winning. 12-0

  31. People taking shots at Cam’s intelligence is truly more of a reflection on your own intelligence

    Haters gonna Hate.

    Hit on Cam:
    Cam took a big hit. I think he saw stars on the big hit on the goalline. I don’t think he had a concussion. I’ve sneezed hard enough to see stars!!! He gathered himself, stood up, came off the field, Went to the doctors, then RAN all the way to the tunnel.

    I also don’t believe that a physician would jepordize his/her livelyhood in falsifying a concussion test especially in todays high alert for player safety.

    I do think the reporter, Joe Person, of the Charlotte Observer, Shouldn’t have asked the question. Based on Ron’s response, its sounds as if Ron/Joe had a detailed Q&A beforehand off record or on record. The fact the reporter asked again, would piss me off, insinuating I was lying or I didn’t give you the answer you wanted to hear.

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