Rivera: Panthers will no longer bring bat on field


Ron Rivera is putting the bat back in its rack -- for good.

The Panthers coach told reporters on Tuesday that players will no longer be permitted to bring a baseball bat onto the field during pregame activities after the practice became a main plot point in the aftermath of Carolina's fiercely competitive game against the Giants on Sunday.

"The bat is a huge misunderstanding," the coach said. "I know there's reports that this has been done before by other teams and other players throughout the league, bringing the bat to represent those types of things. So I think a lot more was made out of the bat than needed to be made."

Added Rivera: "It's the 'No Fun League' for a reason."

Prior to kickoff, Panthers practice squad player Marcus Ball carried a black baseball bat onto the field and motioned toward Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. The two players then engaged in a brief verbal exchange. Panthers cornerback Josh Norman also had the bat in his possession at one point. Beckham reportedly felt threatened by the actions.

Beckham would collect three personal fouls in the game and has been suspended this Sunday for his actions against the Panthers. He is appealing the league punishment.

Rivera also addressed the speculation that Panthers players directed gay slurs at Beckham. Rivera said he heard nothing and wondered if some of the accusations were part of "spin control by somebody."

"Unless there's audio or something out there, show me," Rivera said. "I've seen some of the clips, but honestly, those clips are benign. ... The truth of the matter is if you give me something concrete, so I can sit down and take care of it, if not let me move on to the next thing."

What a mess. This has become a "he said/he said" scenario of the highest and most ridiculous order. If you're the Giants, you just want to move on from this nightmare as quickly as possible. We'll see if that happens.

UPDATE: Troy Vincent, NFL executive vice president of operations, sent a memo to NFL teams Tuesday saying that only certain objects are allowed on the playing field:

As part of our responsibility to protect the integrity of the game, please be reminded that no foreign objects unrelated to the uniform or playing equipment are permitted on the playing field and sidelines on game day (which includes the pre-game period, during the game, and postgame on the field).

While we realize that teams and individual players may have items they use for motivation or to symbolize a theme that the team has used this season, we ask that you instruct your club personnel and players to leave those items in the locker room. For the purposes of this policy, "foreign objects" broadly encompasses any item that is neither intrinsic to the game nor necessary to conduct pregame drills and treat and prepare players for the game. To be clear, items such as massage rollers, agility ladders, medicine balls, and any equipment to assist the medical and athletic training staffs in treating players are permitted.

Please advise players and personnel that they will be subject to discipline for any violations of the policy set forth above.