The Carolina Panthers want to keep Cam Newton, the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft, as wholesome as possible.
Owner Jerry Richardson told interviewer Charlie Rose of PBS the talented quarterback can't get tattoos or piercings, even though such body decorations are increasingly commonplace in sports.
“I said, ‘Do you have any tattoos?’” Richardson recalled of his first meeting with the Auburn product. “He said, ‘No, sir. I don’t have any.’ I said, ‘Do you have any piercings?’ He said, ‘No, sir. I don’t have any.’ I said, ‘We want to keep it that way.’
“We want to keep no tattoos, no piercings, and I think you’ve got a very nice haircut,” he added.
NBC Sports pointed out that Richardson has drafted and signed players who have tattoos and piercings, including tight end Jeremy Shockey. But it is widely known that the team is hoping the handsome Newton will become the face of its franchise.
Richardson did not imply that such restrictions were in Newton's contract, and it's doubtful the team could enforce the edict. Newton signed a four-year contract in July worth nearly $6 million per year. He is competing for the starting job, a relatively rare feat for a rookie signal caller.
The 6-foot-5, 250-pound Newton courted controversy in college, leaving University of Florida under threat of expulsion over academic cheating. He resurfaced at Auburn after a stint at junior college. The NCAA investigated charges Newton's father had tried to get as much as $180,000 to steer his son to Mississippi State, but no evidence the player or his family took money to play for Auburn ever emerged.
Newton won the Heisman Trophy last year, as college football's top player.