Seahawks corner Richard Sherman suggested as much earlier this week, noting that Newton stole a 12th man flag from a Seahawks fan in Charlotte last year and tossed it away.
Newton responded Thursday.
"Oh, OK," said Newton, via The Charlotte Observer. "It's irrelevant what he says right now. I have a lot of respect for Richard and I don't think that has nothing to do with karma that another opposing team's flag was in my stadium. Simple."
Newton is right, but that isn't the point. Panthers coach Ron Rivera noted Thursday that Sherman is just probably trying to stir the pot. No kidding.
At this point, it's probably easy to get a rise out of the Panthers -- a team that played with more panache and confidence than any other in football last year. When Carolina was winning -- and doing so in a beautiful fashion -- everyone in a three-state radius was aware.
Unfortunately, it's not as fun when the shoe is on the other foot. Some personnel missteps and injuries clouded what could have been a fun rebound season in Carolina. Instead, the Panthers have become the irritable little brother, though nothing shuts up a bully like beating them in Seattle (7-3-1).