Carolina Panther quarterback Cam Newton called for more police accountability Wednesday ahead of the defending NFC champion’s matchup with the Minnesota Vikings.
Asked about the shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott by Charlotte police that incited riots on Tuesday night, Newton admitted to not having enough information to fully comment, but he nevertheless answered the question.
“In my sport, in my life, if I’m not held accountable there’s Derek Anderson, there’s Joe Webb,” Newton said in reference to his backup quarterbacks who could take his job. “But what if people are dying, and from some cases its innocence and in other cases it was a threat to the police officer. Who am I to sit up here and make a judgement?”
Newton, who’s received heavy criticism for saying America is beyond racism in an interview published by GQ in August, told reporters that he looked into news reports and articles about Scott’s death and the riots that made national headlines but didn’t believe he had the full story.
“Well, I do know something tragic happened in the Charlotte area, my heart mourns for that family,” Newton said, “but I just don’t know enough information at this specific time.”
The 27-year-old reigning NFL MVP also said he’d heard conflicting reports from various sources, with one saying Scott was carrying a book, another a gun, and another stating the officer didn’t have “his camera on.” Newton was referring to the body cameras that Charlotte’s City Council voted in January to buy for police.
After using tear gas to suppress violent riots that resulted in injured officers, Charlotte police spent much of Wednesday defending its actions against the 43-year-old Scott, and stressed he was holding a gun when he was shot and killed.
Newton did also stress that, when he first entered the NFL as the Panthers No. 1 draft selection in 2011, he wanted to bring unity to unity between the white and black communities in North Carolina.