By Collin Cunningham
(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) Happy Monday, Charlotte, and what a whirlwind of a weekend it was for Queen City sports fans. Not only did the reports about Cam Newton returning to the Cardiac Cats turn out to be true, but they also came true immediately. Today's roundup recounts Newton's first performance back with the Carolina Panthers after a stint with the New England Patriots, which ended with a much-needed win for the Charlotte team.
In other news concerning Charlotte sports, the Hornets managed to sting the Golden State Warriors out of a seven-game winning streak on Sunday.
Health officials have also reported finding a new "delta plus" variant of the coronavirus in eight states. North Carolina is one of them, so we'll lay out what this means for the Tar Heel state based on what medical experts know so far.
Today is Monday, Nov. 15, and though last Friday didn't have a roundup we hope this one can suffice with everything Queen City residents need to know.
What happened: The Carolina Panthers' prodigal son returned on Sunday, when Cam Newton scored a rushing touchdown and followed up with a scoring pass during the first two plays of his unprecedented comeback while backing up quarterback P.J. Walker, defeating the Arizona Cardinals, 34-10. Per NFL.com, Newton signed a $10 million, one-year contract after meeting with staff on Thursday. Depending on how Newton performs during the remainder of the season, coach Matt Rhule may sign him for 2022.
Why it matters: Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold's fate may be up in the air given Newton's return. The starting quarterback is set to miss at least four games on injured reserve due to a shoulder injury and Newton will back Walker up in the meantime. Sunday's performance also included some of the most successful plays the team has seen in weeks, with the Panthers putting more than 30 points on the board for the first time since the preseason. Newton's one-year contract with the team also helped tuck months of rumors and commentary surrounding the former Panthers quarterback's return into bed.
What happened: On Sunday the Charlotte Hornets put a stop to the Golden State Warriors’ seven-game winning streak, in which the San Francisco team had cleared several opponents at their home stadium. Stepping out for the first time in eight games to the Spectrum Center in Uptown Charlotte, the Warriors had a last-minute dunk with 44 seconds on the clock, but were unable to to follow up on a hook shot from Hornets forward Miles Bridges. Charlotte guard Terry Rozier’s finished up the game with a successful jump ball and two free throws.
Why it matters: The Hornets are now ranked eighth in the Eastern Conference, sporting a 8-7 win-loss record this season with a 4-2 home record and 4-5 away. The loss also had Warriors player Steph Curry, who called Cam Newton’s return to the Panthers “surreal,” eating his words. The Charlotte basketball team is set to play its next two games at home, starting with a bout against the Washington Wizards at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
What happened: The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has announced that a new variant of coronavirus has been found in the Tar Heel State. Medical officials dubbed it the AY42 variant and have given it the nickname “delta plus.”
“So far we haven't seen very much of that here in North Carolina which is good, but we're certainly keeping our eye out for that,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen.
Why it matters: NCDHHS stated little is known about the newly discovered variant, but recent data shows that it can spread faster than the Delta variant. The NCDHHS’s website calls the regular Delta variant “the predominant strain of the virus in the United States,” stating it’s “more than twice as contagious as previous variants.” Delta plus has also been discovered in California, Florida, Maryland and four other states. Health officials say vaccines remain the best way to fight the new variant.
What's happening: Gaston County Board of Education members should expect a protest before tonight's meeting, with activists scheduled to appear to speak out against the Red Raider, Belmont South Point High School's sports team name and mascot. Members of the Retire the Red Raider coalition say that the mascot, which depicts the likeness of a Native American, is stereotypical and demeaning, and will be joined at tonight's meeting by members of the Metrolina Native American Association.
"We've been engaging with the Gaston County Board of Education for about a year and a half now. They will not meet with us," said coalition member Hayley Brezeale. "We have asked to sit down with them in meetings and just talk about the mascot issue so that they can learn more information, but they really just kind of ignore us."
Why it matters: In June, members of North Carolina's Lumbee Tribal Council issued a request for the school board to remove the name but nothing came out of it; South Point's website still proclaims the high school is "Home of the Red Raiders." A 2020 Change.org petition to change the name has over 11,000 signatures.