After a few months of what I’m sure is a whole bunch of paperwork and legal jockeying, the sale of the Carolina Panthers became official on Monday, according to an announcement on the team website. New owner David Tepper took the opportunity to address all the stakeholders as this transition comes to a close and he officially steps into the role:
I am thrilled to begin this new era of Carolina Panthers football and am humbled by the overwhelming excitement and support for the team,” Tepper said. ”On behalf of the fans and myself, I thank Jerry Richardson for bringing the team to the Carolinas and for entrusting me with its future. Winning is the most important thing both on the field and in the community, and I am committed to winning a Super Bowl championship together. I look forward to being part of the Panthers’ family and to supporting this flourishing region.
On his way out the door, Jerry Richardson also decided it was time to address the people he is leaving behind. If you don’t want to read it, let me save you the time... it is exactly what you think it is. A bunch of thank yous and no acknowledgement or mention of “the troubles” that led to his sale of the team. Chances are good this is the last we’ll ever hear from Richardson until the day he passes. He’s already paid his paltry fine to the league, and passed on the opportunity to make any public statement at that time, so I think it is safe to say that you’ll never hear another word about it.
Usually a moment like this would lead to reflection and fanfare in a football community, but it won’t this time. Instead of being remembered and revered as the man who founded the Carolina Panthers franchise, he’ll simply be noted as the one who did it. After that, most of the time someone will follow that up with a footnote about what he did, and how it ended. When you’re a man as wealthy and as old as Richardson, money is no longer all that important. Your legacy is what matters. In the end, the legacy drawn up for JR in this case will not at all line up with what he envisioned.