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Panthers quarterabck Cam Newton was roughed up in the season opener against the Broncos, and now, according to 9News’ Mike Klis, Denver linebacker Brandon Marshall and safety Darian Stewart have been fined by the league.

The NFL wants you to believe they are very serious about player safety (commissioner Roger Goodell just announced an additional $100 million in concussion initiatives), especially when it comes to head injuries. But for reasons that defy explanation, Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, who took numerous shots to the head during last Thursday’s regular-season opener, never entered the concussion protocol.

Instead, with the game on the line and time expiring, there was Newton, under center, leading the Panthers downfield to set up a game-winning field goal attempt. Afterward, the story wasn’t how the Broncos held on for a 21-20 victory, but how Newton was allowed to continue playing.

“The game was never stopped,” Panthers spokesman Steven Drummond said Thursday night, via the Charlotte Observer. “We never got a call to the sideline and the independent neurologist never alerted us to stop the game.”

By Friday morning, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy issued this statement to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora:

“There was communication between medical personnel on the Carolina sideline, including the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant, and the two independent certified athletic trainer spotters in the booth. During stoppage in play while on-field officials were in the process of administrating penalties, the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant and team physician requested video from the spotters and reviewed the play. They concluded there were no indications of a concussion that would require further evaluation and the removal of the player from the game.”

By Sunday, the NFL announced that it will launch a review with the NFLPA into the matter involving the hits to Newton. The NFLPA also announced it would seek a compliance investigation.

After the game, Newton didn’t make excuses — “It’s not my job to question the officials” — but teammate Thomas Davis didn’t mince words when talking to reporters.

“That’s nothing new,” the veteran linebacker said at the time, via the Charlotte Observer‘s Scott Fowler. “They didn’t do anything different that hasn’t happened all along. It’s just something that the league is going to have to police and they’re going to have to do a better job of and start treating him like the quarterback that he is.

“They look at his size. It’s kind of like the NBA used to allow guys to get away with that against Shaquille O’Neal because of his size. But when you dig deep down into it, they talk about player safety all the time and they need to protect that player as well.”

In a letter published Wednesday on Playsmartplaysafe.com, Goodell conceded, “…[W]hen it comes to addressing head injuries in our game, I’m not satisfied, and neither are the owners of the NFL’s 32 clubs. We can and will do better.”


Source: CBS Sports / Report: Brandon Marshall, Darian Stewart fined for hits on Cam Newton