CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton said Wednesday that the time is now for him and his teammates to help bring people closer.
"There's something that's in the midst," Newton said. "The time is upon us for us to do something to bring people closer together."
"The message is unity from me. Black, white, different minorities around America. I want everyone to come together," he added.
Newton said he and his teammates met with owner Jerry Richardson regarding the league-wide national anthem protests.
"We just wanted to meet with Mr. Richardson and discuss certain things that was on our hearts and minds," Newton said.
Cam Newton on yesterday’s meeting with Jerry Richardson pic.twitter.com/3dSmwGwaAP— Bill Voth (@PanthersBill) September 27, 2017
Panthers defensive back Captain Munnerlyn said the team now feels more comfortable with demonstrating after meeting with Richardson.
"When you have your owner backing you, that's huge," Munnerlyn said.
"We agreed that everyone is entitled to their own thought process," Newton said.
Newton said he is not looking to offend the public.
"I don't think anybody who has protested wanted it to be disrespectful to [the U.S.]," he said.
Newton went on to applaud former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick for protesting the national anthem during the 2016 season.
"That's a legend right there," Newton said of Kaepernick.
Last week defensive end Julius Peppers remained in the locker room during last Sunday's national anthem against the New Orleans Saints.
"This wasn't about disrespecting military, first responders," Peppers said following the Panthers' 34-13 loss to the Saints. "This was about me standing up. I feel like my brothers were attacked."
Newton did not say if the Panthers will demonstrate individually, as a team or demonstrate at all during Sunday's Week 4 game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium.
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