CHARLOTTE, N.C. — As the points and production piled up, so did the frustrations on the Green Bay Packers' sideline during Sunday’s 37-29 loss to the Carolina Panthers.
It culminated in an incident in the fourth quarter between second-year safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and outside linebacker Julius Peppers, who exchanged words after the Panthers took a 37-14 lead off a 14-yard Devin Funchess touchdown reception with 9 minutes, 22 minutes left. The argument was picked up during FOX’s broadcast of the game.
Defensive tackle B.J. Raji stepped between the two and gestured to Clinton-Dix to walk away. Clinton-Dix said something that incited Raji, who shoved him before Morgan Burnett, Mike Pennel and Demetri Goodson separated the two.
None of the individuals involved would detail what led to the altercation in the post-game locker room other than it was a frustrating day for a defense that gave up 34 points and more than 400 total yards at the time.
“It’s an in-house thing. It’s a family issue and we’ll take care of it,” Raji said. “It’s an emotional game. Sometimes things are said and things are done. Ultimately, we’re a family and we stick together.”
Clinton-Dix agreed there were a lot of emotions involved, but said it didn’t have anything to do with the touchdown the defense had just allowed.
"I was talking to him and telling him to keep us going, keep us pumped up. That was it," Clinton-Dix said. "Just a lot of emotions and a lot of things going on."
Clinton-Dix said he wasn’t sure why Raji stepped into his discussion with Peppers. The Packers settled down afterward, but the frustration was tangible for a defense that's allowed nearly 1,500 total yards in their last three games.
“You've got to take that up with B.J.,” Clinton-Dix said. “I don't know what's wrong with B.J., but it was just a lot of emotions. B.J.’s pumped up and trying to make some plays, make things happen. Sometimes it gets the best of us but that got us turned up a little bit.”
After the locker room ended, the former first-round pick took to his Twitter account after the game to apologize for the incident.
“I don’t think it’s nothing big like that,” said Burnett, who pulled Clinton-Dix from the fray. “We have competitive guys on this team with a great competitive spirit. You know tensions can get high over the course of the game. You can’t take personal anything that happens on the sideline. It’s nothing to worry about.”
Whatever the disagreement was, the defense kept the Packers in the game afterward with a Damarious Randall interception and a pair of three-and-outs. Peppers downplayed the incident and said he doesn’t have a problem with Clinton-Dix.
“That was nothing,” Peppers said. “Nothing happened. That’s not even an issue.”
Packers coach Mike McCarthy also said he wasn't worried about the incident.
"It doesn't concern me. It's football," McCarthy said. "Things happen on the sidelines. I'd go back to my answer before. I think it's a product of us not playing to our standard and sometimes things like that happen. I have no concerns."