No tattoos, no piercings, no problem: Jerry Richardson’s clean image request for Cam Newton

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    Cam Newton (Credit: Carolina Panthers)

  • by Daisy Barringer

    Most of us have some sort of work dress code to which we have to adhere. No jeans, no t-shirts, and in more corporate offices, collared shirts, slacks, and no visible tattoos or piercings. I happen to freelance at a start-up in San Francisco where there are absolutely no rules about what employees can wear, but I’m not going to lie: on days when guys show up in t-shirts, jort cut-offs and flip-flops, I sort of wish there were. Recently, the company sent a photographer around the office to take pictures of all of the employee’s tattoos to use in a client-facing marketing piece. Trying too hard? Maybe. Edgy? Certainly not in a day and age where tattoos and dyed hair and piercings have become the norm.

    Unless, of course, you’re Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, who won’t be sending anyone to photograph his players’ tattoos any time soon. In fact, during his first meeting with No. 1 draft pick, Cam Newton, Richardson asked Newton if he had any tattoos or piercings. When Newton responded, “No, sir,” Richardson made it clear he’d like it to stay that way.

    In the PBS interview with Charlie Rose where Richardson shared this story, Richardson didn’t share a specific reason why he requested that Cam Newton refrain from getting tattoos or piercings, just that it seemed like a reasonable request. We can postulate about his reasons: he doesn’t want someone who might become the face of his franchise to alienate potential fans; he wants his marquee quarterback to remain “approachable”; he thinks tattoos and piercings are thug-like. Whatever the reason is, and in my opinion, it’s just old-fashioned Southern “standards,”Newton certainly may go out and get as many tattoos and piercings as he wants. But, for now, it seems like he has no desire to do so, both because it doesn’t fit with his personal style, and, why would he want to rock the boat when he’s poised to start the season?

    Anyway, what I want to know is where you stand on this. Do you think that Jerry Richardson was out of line when he asked Cam Newton not to decorate his body? Do you think Cam Newtonshould obey his boss’ wishes or do his own thing, if he so desires? Let me know in the comments. In the meantime, I’ll be at my eleventh Tattoo Removal session squirming in agonizing pain. Ah youth…


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