CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The perception when Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton came into the NFL as the top pick of the 2011 draft was that then-owner Jerry Richardson wouldn't allow him to get a tattoo.
Newton disputed that when it was revealed world-renowned tattoo artist Keith "Bang Bang'' McCurdy gave the 2015 NFL MVP his first tattoo on Monday, six months after Richardson sold the team to David Tepper.
"He NEVER said I could NOT get a tattoo or grow my HAIR,'' Newton posted Thursday on his Instagram story after news about his tattoo surfaced. "I was free to do WHATEVER I wanted to do! I should have said something the first time this came up years ago but I can not let this fly this time! I KNOW FOOTBALL SEASON IS OVER AND REPORTERS ARE SCRAMBLING FOR NEWS STORIES BUT THIS AIN'T IT! Stop with the s---s! 1OVE.''
McCurdy told ESPN that Newton flew to his New York City studio, "Bang Bang NYC,'' on Monday and got a small tattoo on his left hand. He respectfully declined to reveal the design, saying only that it was Newton's idea with a little professional advice "to make sure he got the best tattoo.''
"I actually enjoyed spending time with him,'' McCurdy said in a telephone interview. "We had a fun little banter about football. I told him six months ago I was cursing him and saying, 'f---ing Cam Newton' because they were playing the Eagles and he kicked our ass in the fourth quarter.
"Now we're friends.''
He was referring to Newton leading Carolina to three fourth-quarter touchdowns to overcome a 17-0 deficit on Oct. 21.
McCurdy posted a message on Instagram on Monday night along with a picture of him and Newton.
As for the perception Richardson didn't want Newton to have a tattoo, that came from a 2011 interview the then-75-year-old owner did on the "Charlie Rose'' show on PBS. Richardson recounted a conversation he had with the then-22-year-old Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback before the NFL draft in which he asked Newton if he had any tattoos or piercings.
Newton, now 29, said no. Richardson told Rose his response was, "Good. We want to keep it that way.''
McCurdy, who has put tattoos on celebrities such as Justin Bieber, Rihanna and Miley Cyrus, said one of Newton's representatives recently reached out to him.
The original plan was for McCurdy to come to Newton in either Charlotte or Atlanta for the procedure, but when that couldn't be worked out, Newton made a day trip to New York.
McCurdy said the entire process took about 15 minutes and that Newton was completely humble and entertaining throughout the whole time.
"I asked him right before we started, 'Are you nervous at all?''' McCurdy said. "He kind of laughed and said, 'No, not at all.' I told him I imagined defensive tackles hurt a lot worse than a little tattoo on the hand.
"He kind of shook his head, like, 'It's an indescribable amount of something he goes through as a quarterback.'''
McCurdy didn't say what Newton's tattoo cost, only that the studio's price begins at $500.
He noted many people come back for a second tattoo after getting their first, but so far nothing has been scheduled for Newton.
"Not yet,'' McCurdy said with a laugh. "But I'm pushing.''