Rivera: Panthers QB Cam Newton didn't cross line with 'dab' dance

Was Newton's TD celebration too much? (1:46)

First Take's Skip Bayless was not pleased with Panthers QB Cam Newton's elaborate touchdown celebration, but Stephen A. Smith has no problem with it. (1:46)

Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera said quarterback Cam Newton didn't cross the line into taunting with his "dab" touchdown dance in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 27-10 victory at Tennessee.

"As long as I don't feel he's instigating things, I don't think there should be issues," Rivera said Monday as the Panthers (9-0) began preparing for Washington.

Titans interim coach Mike Mularkey saw it another way a day after basically brushing it off as no big deal.

"I think that's a little rub-it-in-your-face type of deal, and there is a little code of ethics in the NFL and not a good move," Mularkey said.

"I think that's a little rub-it-in-your-face type of deal and there is a little code of ethics in the NFL and not a good move."
Titans coach Mike Mularkey

Newton skipped his normal "Superman" celebration following his 2-yard run in the fourth quarter and went with an Atlanta-based dance called the "dab."

His dabbin' upset Titans linebacker Avery Williamson, who got into Newton's face. Newton provoked the situation further by dabbin' again.

Officials rushed to separate the players before it escalated, as happened in New Orleans last season, when Newton was doing his "Superman" celebration.

Back then, Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan shoved Newton in the back. The players began jawing in each other's faces before players from both sides got involved.

Panthers tight end Brandon Williams was ejected after throwing several punches at Jordan.

Sunday's exchange ended quickly, as Newton ran back onto the field, grabbed the football and delivered it to a Carolina fan as he traditionally does after a touchdown.

"As hard as this game is, and as difficult as it is and as entertaining as it is, it's all a part of the entertainment," Rivera said.

"As hard as this game is, and as difficult as it is and as entertaining as it is, it's all a part of the entertainment."
Panthers coach Ron Rivera

Rivera said he was all right with that "as long as it's not overly outlandish, as long as it's in a respectful manner, as long as he's not taunting them."

The Titans didn't make a big deal about the celebration until Monday.

"I think Avery was frustrated by it, but I think there was a whole lot of people frustrated by it," Mularkey said. "I'm proud of [Williamson] for what he did. He stood up for our team."

Nothing was said of the dance Williamson did after making a play.

"You see it constantly," Rivera said, not referring to Williamson's dance. "It's something I don't understand, because a guy makes a tackle for a 6-yard gain and he gets up and points to the back of his jersey. I struggle with that. The guy just gained 6 yards on you."

Rivera said social media has changed the way people look at the game.

"It's also affected the way some of the players look at the game," he said. "To a degree, it has become more than just the competition of the game.

"It's become a little bit of the entertainment. Beyond the running, the tackling, the hitting, the passing and catching, it's become about the flashiness, the ability to kind of be a showman."

Rivera, who played for the 1985 Chicago Bears who introduced the world to the "Super Bowl Shuffle," says he's all right with the entertainment factor as long as it doesn't get into taunting.

"But let's be smart about it, and let's make sure we're not taunting," he said. "And I don't think that's his intent at all -- ever."