Panthers Coach Ron Rivera made it very clear in a press conference Monday afternoon, when it comes to following concussion protocol, "Don't question my integrity," he said.
He made the comment responding to reporters' questions after Quarterback Cam Newton took a hard hit to the head as he neared the end zone in the third quarter. Newton slowed down as he got towards the end zone, and likely didn't see the New Orleans Saints player who delivered the punishing blow. Cam Newton was slow to get up, but doctors checked on him and declared he was okay to continue playing.
"We followed the rules here," Rivera said. "Don't question my integrity when it comes to those things. Okay, understand that. I try to be as forthright as I can when I answered those questions, and when I'm doing that, the least I can do is get the common courtesy I'm being believed. Okay? I take it very seriously. Alright, and it is not up to me to make those decisions and these calls. It's up to the doctors, just so you understand."
He said he was bothered by the line of questioning because he's not the doctor making the final call on whether a player should be held from the game.
This comes as the NFL faces more scrutiny over the health of its players, particularly when it comes to their long-term health and concussions. NFL Hall of Famer Joe DeLamielleure is just one of many former players being tested and diagnosed with CTE, a brain disease that can cause anger, depression, memory loss, and sometimes suicide.
Panthers Linebacker Luke Kuechly missed three games at the beginning of the season when he got a concussion during the team's opening game against the Jaguars.