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The Carolina Panthers have written the manual on trash owners


Three million dollars (total) in fines. Two atrocious owners. One franchise. The Carolina Panthers are a mess.

In less than a decade, an NFL franchise that serves as the “home team” for two states has become the model of mediocrity when it comes to showing us just how inept sports owners are — particularly in football.

“I am deeply passionate about this team and regret my behavior on Sunday,” Tepper said in a statement after he was caught on video tossing drinks at opposing fans and fined $300,000. “I should have let NFL stadium security handle any issues that arose. I respect the NFL’s code of conduct and accept the League’s discipline for my behavior.”

Fans have started a petition to remove Tepper from his position. The Panthers have one of the worst records in the NFL over the last few seasons. And the team has been nothing but a disaster since Tepper bought them, with cash, in 2018. Before Tepper, Carolina was coming off a run in which they’d won the NFC South in 2013, made it to the Divisional Round in 2014, went to the Super Bowl and had an MVP in Cam Newton in 2015, stumbled in 2016, and bounced back by going 11-5 and making the playoffs in 2017. Since Tepper, the Panthers haven’t had a winning season and six men have served as their full-time or interim head coach.

Terribleness within the owner’s suite in Charlotte isn’t a new thing, it existed before Tepper even showed up.

“I believe that it is time to turn the franchise over to new ownership,’’ the late Jerry Richardson wrote in a statement in 2017. He was fined $2.75M after an investigation uncovered a team that was run by a racist who sexually harassed women. “Therefore, I will put the team up for sale at the conclusion of this NFL season. We will not begin the sale process, nor will we entertain any inquiries, until the very last game is played.’’

A Sports Illustrated story from that year reported that Richardson had made confidential payouts for workplace misconduct that included sexual harassment, as well as using the N-word.

“Show me how you wiggle to get those jeans up. I bet you had to lay down on your bed to fit into those jeans. Did you step into those jeans or did you have to jump into them?” are some of the things Richardson reportedly said to women on Fridays which were “Jeans Day.” It was also reported that Richarson used the “seatbelt maneuver,” in which he would insist on fastening women’s seatbelts for them so that he could brush his hand across their breasts.

This is the league in which women are rarely in power to run franchises, which is based on misogyny. This is the league that has never had a majority Black owner, which is based on racism. This is the league that will keep around white men like Richardson and Tepper for as long as they can, or ones that get caught up in prostitution rings, which is based on capitalism.

The Carolina Panthers have back-to-back failed ownership tenures due to the actions of men who should have never been allowed to control franchises in America’s top professional league. So the next time ownership changes hands in the NFL and women and Black people are excluded, know that it’s because the NFL isn’t concerned with the bad PR that men like Jerry Richardson and Dave Tepper bring to the league. Why? Because they know it won’t stop you from watching.





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