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Ron Rivera bans hoverboards inside Panthers' facility

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera recently banned players from using hoverboards inside Bank of America Stadium after seeing YouTube videos in which the machines caught fire.

He also strongly suggested players not ride hoverboards to and from work, as quarterback Cam Newton is known to do. Rivera doesn't want any freak accidents as the Panthers (16-1) prepare to face Arizona (14-3) on Sunday in the NFC Championship Game.

"Have you seen those things on YouTube blowing up?" Rivera said on Monday. "I mean, that's what concerns me more than anything else. What if something crazy happens?

"I will say this, too: I caught them drag racing in the freaking hallway one time, too."

Rivera told ESPN.com that he instituted the ban was a few weeks before Christmas. That's when reports started surfacing that internal short circuits with the machines' lithium ion batteries led to overheating and units bursting into flames.

The issue became so concerning that major airlines banned hoverboards on planes. The news of Rivera's ban became public on Monday.

Rivera said he actually showed the team a video of a hoverboard catching on fire.

"I said, 'Guys, we can't have those in here. You bring one of those things in here and they short-circuit and the next thing you know we've got a freaking fire here."' Rivera said.

Rivera has experience with fires. His house sustained $500,000 worth of fire damage last January because of an improperly installed modular fireplace or material defect.

"It's the last thing I need," Rivera said of a fire from a hoverboard.

Rivera wouldn't say which players he caught drag racing, but a lot of Carolina players own hoverboards.

According to tight end Ed Dickson, about 25 players gathered and rode hoverboards to a food truck earlier this year.

Dickson said players weren't upset that Rivera banned them.

"It wasn't like mean or anything like that," he said of the way Rivera addressed the issue. "It was like, 'Guys, I've seen a video on the safety issue. I don't want them in the locker room.'

"Guys appreciated it."

Dickson admitted the hoverboards can be dangerous if you don't know how to use them. He doesn't let his 5-year-old use his at home.

"It's too flimsy," Dickson said. "If you don't know what you're doing you can fall off and hurt yourself. My son, I tried to teach him how to ride it. He was too goofy with it, so I said, 'No thank you."'

Defensive end Mario Addison arrived at training camp with a hoverboard.

"He banned it, it got me kind of scared to keep it at home now," he said. "So I keep it in the hallway away from everything just in case it decides to blow up on me."

Rivera said the YouTube videos he watched not only showed hoverboards catching on fire, but people falling off and getting injured or running into other people.

"I can't imagine," he said. "We still have some that ride them to and from work. I'm trying to get them not to, but they do. But inside the facility, we don't want them running around."

Rivera learned last season about unforeseen accidents when Newton was involved in a car wreck in early December. Newton missed one game with two small fractures in his lower back.

"We don't want something crazy to happen," Rivera said. "We're trying to limit their exposure to injuries."