'Frustrated' Panthers to reportedly meet with owner about protest 'restrictions'

Week 3 of the NFL season saw a large number of players, coaches and owners make public statements about President Donald Trump's comments Friday in Alabama relating to NFL players protesting the national anthem before games. 

Colleague Ryan Wilson did a superb job breaking it down from a team-by-team perspective, and if you read Ryan's story you may notice a limited amount of information about the Carolina Panthers. As it turns out, Jerry Richardson may not be enthused about the entire protest situation.

In a statement released by the Panthers on Monday afternoon, Richardson said "politicizing the game is damaging and takes the focus off the greatness of the game itself and those who play it."

The only Panthers player to engage in any protest or demonstration was defensive end Julius Peppers, who said he believed it was necessary to take a stance after Trump "attacked my brothers."

"I felt like he attacked my brothers in the league, so I thought it was appropriate to stand up with them and stay in the locker room," Peppers said Sunday afternoon.

According to Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer, the statement from Richardson and the delay in Richardson making a statement is beginning to weigh on the players in the Panthers locker room and has resulted in a "frustrated" group of players planning to meet with Richardson privately.

From Person's story:

Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson is scheduled to meet Tuesday with a group of players upset that his strongly held beliefs do not allow them to join the growing protests around the NFL.

Those players are frustrated by restrictions implemented by Richardson and concerned about possible repercussions should they speak out on social issues, the Observer has learned.

Person also reports that coach Ron Rivera, who himself is the son of a veteran, believes players should find different ways to protest but is concerned about making sure the Panthers locker room does not become fractured; hence why he reportedly spoke to his team on Monday about the issues.

Asked about Peppers, Rivera said he believes the long-time NFL defensive end, who was originally drafted by the Panthers before leaving to play for the Bears and Packers, was attempting to demonstrate his feelings in an appropriate way.

"I think he was trying to find a way to do it the right way," Rivera said. "I think he was trying to make sure that everybody understood that he has a tremendous amount of respect for what the flag stands for, for the military personnel and for the first responders."

Virtually every NFL team expressed some sort of sentiment or participated in some sort of demonstration, with multiple teams staying in their respective locker rooms for the duration of the anthem.

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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