Panthers to give up their baseball bats

Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire

Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera announced Tuesday that his defensive backs will no longer be allowed to bring a baseball bat onto the field for pre-game warmups.

The Panthers’ secondary had been doing it for weeks without comment, but it became a major controversy when a practice-squad player pointed the bat at Odell Beckham Jr. during pregame activities. Carolina star CB Josh Norman also ended up with the bat. Norman and Beckham spent most of the game in a physical confrontation that ended with Beckham driving the crown of his helmet into the side of Norman.

Norman was uninjured, but Beckham was suspended for one game for the incident.

“Because I’ll hear it if I don’t,” Rivera said about ending the practice. “That’s the truth of the matter. I’m going to end up hearing it, so to avoid the set of circumstances let’s just eliminate it. That’s what we’re going to do.

“It’s the ‘No Fun League’ for a reason.”

Rivera denied reports that the practice-squad player, Marcus Ball, threatened or used homophobic slurs against Beckham.

“Marcus has given me no reason not to believe what he told me,” Rivera said. “I heard nothing. Several of the people that were around him heard nothing to be construed as something homophobic. If there’s something out there that’s factual, that’s truth, that’s hard evidence, please present it to us as well so we can act accordingly.

“We don’t tolerate that here.”


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