Most of the sports world expressed little, or no support for Carolina Panthers Owner Jerry Richardson when he announced his intention to sell the team, after sexual harassment charges against him went public.
However, one particularly important member of his football team has come to his support, his quarterback, Cam Newton.
“Nothing is actually proven,” Newton told reporters. “It’s just another person’s word against another person’s word. Needless to say, I still think extremely highly of Mr. Richardson. I don’t even know any of the sources. I’m reaching to find it. I take sexual assault extremely serious, and I didn’t want to offend anybody by that. Just having a lot of allegations thrown at a person isn’t fair.”
Newton further explained that Richardson had “enlightened me on so many different types of things, on and off the field.”
Perhaps it’s not surprising that Newton would feel some empathy for Richardson, when faced with serious public allegations. Newton, and his father, faced allegations in 2011 that they had accepted money from Auburn, to play football there.
Those allegations were not backed-up by evidence.
Newton compared his situation then, to Richardson’s situation now.
“I basically almost got an NCAA … almost been suspended, just off an allegation,” Newton said. “That’s how I feel about it. Not comparing apples to apples. It’s still something somebody said. When I went through my allegations, it was all false.
“In this day and time, it’s almost, you’re automatically guilty until proven innocent rather than, in the rights of the judicial system, you’re supposed to be innocent until proven guilty.”
Newton drew the ire of feminists in and out of the sports world, after mocking a female reporter during a press conference. Newton lost a lucrative yogurt sponsorship, and eventually wore a feminist pin on his hat to attempt to repair the damage.
While Newton’s comments about Richardson are certainly correct, they’re not likely to help him with the feminist crowd.