Cam Newton wears MLK T-shirt after unrest in Charlotte

CHARLOTTE -- Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton made a statement on the unrest in Charlotte on Sunday by wearing a black T-shirt during pregame warm-ups with a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. emblazoned on the back.

In all capital letters, the quote read: "INJUSTICE ANYWHERE IS A THREAT TO JUSTICE EVERYWHERE. -- MLK"

Newton typically doesn't voice an opinion on controversial social issues. But he spent a majority of his Wednesday news conference addressing Tuesday's shooting in Charlotte that sparked violent protests on Wednesday night only a few blocks away from Bank of America Stadium.

Reports indicated that there would be threats of a protest prior to Sunday's game vs. the Minnesota Vikings, and about 100 protesters kneeled outside the stadium as the national anthem was played.

The protesters chanted along to the beat of a brass band, and then were drowned out by noise from inside the stadium. Fans gathered along the ramps inside the stadium and watched the scene below before the game.

Read more: Protesters remain peaceful outside Panthers game.

Officers wearing black riot gear ringed the stadium, and police on bicycles lined up wheel-to-wheel to surround the protesters.

Also in Charlotte, Panthers backup safety Marcus Ball stood with his right hand raised and index finger extended during the national anthem. He was the lone player to do anything during the anthem.

In Jacksonville, Florida, four Jacksonville Jaguars players -- defensive end Dante Fowler Jr., defensive end Jared Odrick, linebacker Telvin Smith and linebacker Hayes Pullard -- raised their right hands during the anthem before the game against the Ravens. It was the first time any Jaguars player had done anything during the national anthem.

On Wednesday, Newton said he wasn't "happy how the justice has been dealt with over the years, and the state of oppression in our community.

"But we also as black people have to do right by ourselves. We can't be hypocrites. And I say that on one voice and also another voice that when you go public or when things happen in the community, it's not the fact that things are happening, it's the way they are being treated after they happen."

Late Tuesday afternoon, a black Charlotte police officer shot and killed Keith Lamont Scott, who also is black, in an apartment complex parking lot about 15 minutes away from Bank of America Stadium.

The police said Scott exited his vehicle carrying a gun. Scott's family said he was unarmed and sitting in his car reading a book while waiting for his son to come home from school.

Protests involving hundreds on Tuesday and Wednesday night turned to violence.

"It could have happened in Atlanta. It could have happened in Los Angeles. It doesn't matter," Newton said. "It's embarrassing for things to keep happening, and from what I do know, we had an incident that happened in 2013 that had something to do with the police, and it went to jury and whatever, it got washed away in time."

Newton was referring to the 2013 fatal shooting of Jonathan Ferrell by Charlotte officer Randall Kerrick. Ferrell, who was black, was shot 10 times by Kerrick, who is white.

Kerrick was charged with voluntary manslaughter. A judge declared a mistrial after the jury could not reach a verdict.

"My big thing is holding people accountable, no matter what the race, no matter what the gender is, no matter what the age is," Newton said. "We all have to hold each other accountable. And that is the world we are living in.

"When you get a person that does some unjust things or killing an innocent person, or killing fathers, or killing people that have actual families, that's real. I have a son and a daughter that I'm responsible for. How would it be if one day they come home and there's no more Daddy? You can get a settlement, but money doesn't matter in that sense. We need people to be held accountable."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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