CHARLOTTE - Through five games last season, the Carolina Panthers were the hottest thing in football. Capping a 5-0 start with a huge victory at Seattle.
Five games through the 2016 season? The team is 1-4, and Scootergate is a real thing.
During the Panthers 17-14 loss to Tampa Bay on Monday Night, in which quarterback Cam Newton sat out with a concussion, a picture of him riding a scooter through Uptown Charlotte, with no helmet, floated around on the internet.
Cam Newton progressing well from concussion. Proof:— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 11, 2016
Cam on a Segway-like scooter today in downtown Charlotte. pic.twitter.com/3mQESjzNeE
After the loss, the Monday Night Football crew ripped Newton.
"That picture, in the middle of the street, that's a bad look," said former NFL receiver and ESPN analyst Randy Moss.
"Just shocking," said analyst and former quarterback Tim Hasselbeck.
"The optical is poor," said fellow former quarterback Trent Dilfer. "When they say face of the franchise, that means you can't do something like this."
But head coach Ron Rivera brushed off the incident on Tuesday afternoon.
"I'm not going to worry about that," Rivera said. "The bottom line is he's an adult."
Rivera said that Newton had a good day Monday, throwing to receivers, running and lifting weights, but did not give an update as to his status for Sunday's game at New Orleans.