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Cam Newton calls speculation on benching 'falsified stories'

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton called speculation over why he was benched for the first series of Sunday's loss at Seattle "falsified stories."

The reigning NFL MVP said Thursday that the truth was just as he and coach Ron Rivera had said after the game.

"I violated the wardrobe [policy], and that's it," said Newton, who was punished for not wearing the required tie on the flight to Seattle. "You don't have to dig into certain stories that I violated curfew, was out at a club, somebody was calling the room. I still stand by Coach Rivera's decision, and that's just a warning for everybody.

"At no point in time -- or even still -- do I think I'm above the law. I never thought that. I'm not that type of player."

Newton said the whole situation could have been prevented had he had the proper attire for the trip.

He said those who don't believe him don't really know him.

"When you start hearing falsified stories from the people that really know you, that's when it really affects you," he said. "And I haven't.

"It is what it is."

Asked whether he's been treated fairly this season, Newton said, "If I was trying to impress every single person that thought I was an a--h---, then I would be drained. I'm me."

There also has been speculation that Newton's numbers are down this season because he had too much going on during the offseason with his Nickelodeon television series and other outside interests and that he didn't properly prepare.

Newton threw a career-high 35 touchdown passes to go along with 10 rushing touchdowns en route to the MVP award a year ago, when Carolina went 15-1 during the regular season and reached the Super Bowl.

During this 4-8 season, he has only 14 touchdown passes and five rushing touchdowns, and his 54.7 completion percentage has him on target for a career low.

Newton said that preparation has nothing to do with his drop in statistics or the team record.

"Distractions come every single day, from family, from media, from workload," he said. "It's my job to put myself in the best situation to succeed. I understand we're not having the season we wanted to have, but there's no need for people to just maliciously go out and say, 'Well, he was doing too much. He was doing this. He's worried about this.'

"That's the easy route."

Rivera said he was "very comfortable" with his quarterback's preparation, adding that people don't see the amount of time Newton puts in during the offseason or season.

"That's unfortunate and disappointing that people draw conclusions based off other things," Rivera said. "The young man is dedicated, and when he comes here, it's phenomenal."

Newton couldn't say whether he would do the Nickelodeon show again during the offseason.

"Life is bigger than football," he said. "So if you're questioning certain things that I'm doing, I have a whole other list of requirements and duties that I need to take care of.

"Outside of football I do have a life. Football takes up a lot of my life, and I appreciate it. This is the life I chose. I'm not complaining. All I'm telling you and just everybody is I'm human. That's the moral of the story."

Newton doesn't know why his numbers are down, although catastrophic injuries to the offensive line haven't helped.

"I can tell you it's not because of preparation," he said. "We get ridiculed off our production on the field, so it doesn't how much I prepare, if it doesn't transfer onto the field people will just say, 'Ah, he's just garbage.'

"For me, it's trying to get it to carry over from practice to games. In this situation and this season, it just hasn't turned over. And I don't have nobody to blame but myself."