CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Some Carolina Panthers fans don't like the fact that their star quarterback, who is under concussion protocol and missed Monday night's game against Tampa Bay, was spotted in uptown before the game riding a scooter without a helmet.
ESPN writer Adam Schefter posted the photo of Newton on Twitter Monday.
Cam Newton progressing well from concussion. Proof:— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 11, 2016
Cam on a Segway-like scooter today in downtown Charlotte. pic.twitter.com/3mQESjzNeE
After the loss, the Monday Night Football crew ripped Newton.
"That picture, in the middle of the street, that's a bad look," said former NFL receiver and ESPN analyst Randy Moss.
"Just shocking," said analyst and former quarterback Tim Hasselbeck.
"The optical is poor," said fellow former quarterback Trent Dilfer. "When they say face of the franchise, that means you can't do something like this."
But head coach Ron Rivera brushed off the incident on Tuesday afternoon.
"I'm not going to worry about that," Rivera said. "The bottom line is he's an adult."
Rivera said that Newton had a good day Monday, throwing to receivers, running and lifting weights, but did not give an update as to his status for Sunday's game at New Orleans.
@AdamSchefter C'mon man. No helmet in traffic? Even w/out concussion protocol, c'mon. Are you THAT desperate for attention?— That Busy Daddy (@thatbusydaddy) October 11, 2016
@AdamSchefter Forget the floppy hat! Wear a helmet, man!— Andy (@ATNorth2) October 11, 2016
Others didn't think it was a big deal.
@AdamSchefter @notthefakesvp in fairness, that's right outside his apartment— L W (@ISE_Wolf) October 11, 2016
@AdamSchefter Not really a issue. NFL Docs kept him out. He didn't hold himself out. Maybe wanted to make a point he can play.— Travis Myers (@mindg4me12) October 11, 2016
The league's MVP last season, Newton suffered the concussion last Sunday after absorbing a helmet-to-helmet hit from Atlanta Falcons linebacker Deion Jones on a two-point conversion plunge.
The Carolina Panthers stumbled Monday night, losing a sloppy game to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when rookie kicker Robert Aguayo’s 38-yard game-winning field goal provided the final 17-14 margin as time expired.
Now the Panthers are 1-4 and at the bottom of the NFC South.
Newton was not on the sidelines during the game.
"This loss is a tough pill to swallow because it was right there in front of us," Rivera said on Tuesday.
Backup quarterback Derek Anderson started in place of Newton and coughed up the ball three times, including a fourth-quarter interception from the Bucs' 1-yard line.
Carolina next faces the New Orleans Saints (1-3), desperately hoping to end its three-game skid. Whether Newton returns Sunday remains a mystery.