*Panthers quarterback Cam Newton spent 18 minutes answering questions during in his weekly Wednesday media appearance. None of the questions were about football. Here is Newton in his own words: * On meeting with Jerry Richardson:"We just wanted to meet with Mr. Richardson to discuss certain things that were on our mind and our hearts from different perspectives. The different people that were over there come from different backgrounds and have different views. One thing about it is that we agreed that everyone is entitled to their own thought process, so to speak. I feel as if a lot of what we talked about is confidential, but it was a very productive meeting."
On what the message was: "Well, that's one of the things that's confidential. I don't want to be the person – one of many that were there – I don't want to speak out, but it was extremely productive and a step in the right direction for us as an organization."
Clarifying that Mr. Richardson supports a possible protest: "That's anything. If I were to say certain things outside football right now, I'm pretty sure it would have its benefits and backlashes. It was just him being more concerned about our well being and for the people who don't know Mr. Richardson and can't understand or doesn't know that side."
On if the team is planning any protests: "I just think you have to watch and see. But by no means we don't want to offend anybody. Nobody who has protested meant for it to be disrespectful to the United States flag or whatever demonstration or a protest that person had. It's just personal beliefs that individual believes in and with the amendments and U.S. bylaws, you have to give that person respect. Whether we agree with that person or not, they still have the right to feel a certain type of way. You just have to respect that."
On why he didn't protest: "Well to be honest, if we would have came together and spoke about it, I believe I would have done something. But one thing I don't want to do is make an irrational decision in the spur of the moment. Where I stand, I want to think about it and have reasoning and feel like I want to have action into it. But it wasn't about doing anything this Sunday or not doing anything this Sunday. I feel as if it was too spur of the moment and didn't give us time to think about it. We had a team meeting the night before the game, and I'm one of those people that as the game gets closer, my tune-in level to outside things loses strength, so to speak. This is me personally. I heard about it – I'm not going to sit up here and lie I didn't know what happened - but me being dialed into the game, that's where my energy was. It didn't allow us to unite as a team and think this is what we're going to do. If we were to play on Monday or another day, we probably would have had something more together. That's how I feel."
On when the team met about this before game: "We discussed it as a team Saturday night before our meetings. For a person that's numb to our schedule, we meet at eight o'clock, therefore our bodies are idled down. Right before our team meeting, you have the offensive meetings to make sure you're geared to go asleep on the game plan. Coach met with us and he spoke and gave us an opportunity, 'Does anyone have anything to say?' I don't think it was digested to certain people including myself. I can only speak for myself on this, I didn't really digest the whole situation that took place. I just heard there were things in the media that we would hear about, and waking up that next morning still oblivious to a lot of outside things. A person that doesn't listen to the radio, I don't have my TV on, I'm preparing myself for the game and walking over, I believe one of my teammates showed me the response from the Steelers and Coach (Mike) Tomlin from the Steelers. I was like, 'OK, it's really something.' By this time, I had heard the president had said something. For me, I just think at that time with me not having time to sit back and meditate on a decision I would know right, wrong or indifferent, I can rest easy at night knowing I had a purpose for doing something. I never really had that time to just sit back and say this is what I want to do and have a reasoning for it. That's why I pretty much didn't do anything."
On if he's had time to think on all this: "Absolutely. For me, I've been talking to people affiliated in football, outside of the NFL, different athletes and entertainers, and there is something that is in the midst – with the right cooperation, with the right connections from those people. The time is upon us for us to do something to bring people closer. You can't just be (rash) and jump out there and say this is what we're going to do and this is our answer for it. It has to be ongoing. We have an obligation on Sundays to do our job, but at the end of the day, this is not just a Sunday thing. This has been an issue in this country for years and years and years. It just has to be an everyday thing. That's what we have to make people aware of. It's not just about the national anthem on Sundays – it's about Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday as well as Sunday."
On if the window to protest has closed: "It was popular to do something this past Sunday, but it is still an ongoing situation in this country. If we don't do something now to show people that come to the stadium and watch us on Sundays…but this is something bigger than that. This is for the people that don't have the opportunity to come to the stadium and hear about it. We have to be that type of voice for people that don't have the outlets that we may have."
On if he was anxious to see Richardson put out a statement: "Not necessarily. You can't point blame. It wasn't like it was a race to make a statement. I think that's what people get caught up in. I'm happy that it was something that he felt needed to be said. It's never a race to get your side out, just as long as people understand where you are coming from."
On the epidemic of injustice in this country: "In my situation, I really don't see it. But that doesn't mean where I'm from they don't see it. How I view things – it's not the Cam that you see today. I'm from Atlanta, Georgia by way of College Park. It's a lot of stereotyping, a lot of cultural division in those areas. The person I am now? If I were to see a person of a different race, of course I am going to get their best behavior. But when you go back to that area, as Atlanta represents themselves in different zones of the police precinct – a person growing up walking down the street may not have the same cushion, so to speak, from a policeman or whatnot. That's what I mean. It's my job, it's my duty, it's my fine print as a person that people do look up to and people love to critique, that I represent those people. And knowing that we haven't been getting our just do."
On Colin Kaepernick:"That's a legend right there. For him to think outside of himself, to raise awareness of something. We are 365 days removed from his initial stand, and now here we are still doing the same things. And now everybody is understanding what his reasoning was. I respect that."
On the importance of getting this message out: "I want everybody to come together. We get nowhere separated. People that are looking down upon other people, you don't get nowhere with that. We all are created equal. That's how I feel about this whole situation. We need to find some type of way to come together to make this situation better. Because where we are going now, it's not healthy."
View photos from the Panthers' week of practice leading up to their game against the Patriots.