|David Tepper opens new Panthers era with an easygoing approach|
|Owner OK with football, wants greater outreach|
|Published Tuesday, July 10, 2018 7:00 pm|
|PHOTO | PAUL WILLIAMS III|
|Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper wants to upgrade Bank of America Stadium to tie it directly to the community as host to concerts, high school football games and Major League Soccer.|
Out with the old. In with the new.
David Tepper’s purchase of the Carolina Panthers officially closed on July 9, after approval by NFL owners on May 22 at their spring meeting in Atlanta. Tepper, founder and president of global hedge fund Appoloosa Management and former Pittsburgh Steelers minority owner for the better part of a decade, bought the franchise for a league-record $2.2 billion.
“I’ll take the patience of letting things develop,” Tepper said Tuesday at a Bank of America Stadium press conference. “Sometimes, things are made too fast. I also have a personal great appreciation for things I don’t know.”
Tepper is the second Panthers owner in franchise history, following Jerry Richardson, who chose to sell the team following allegations of racial and sexual misconduct in the workplace that came to light in December.
A league investigation found sufficient evidence to back up the claims, and the league fined Richardson an NFL-record $2.75 million. Tepper isn’t looking back.
“Whatever was, was,” he said. “This is now.”
Tepper touched on his personal experience growing up in Pittsburgh, which he described as “real inner-city stuff,” where a high school class that started with nearly 800 students ended with approximately 500.
“Sometimes it seems like different lives for me,” Tepper said.
He reflected on how that upbringing contributes to his charity work, and how he sees similarities in the work being done by the Panthers.
“There’s incredibly good guys here—really good guys that love this country,” Tepper said. “That doesn’t get said enough…hopefully we’ll get more involvement from them, but they’re already involved.”
Carolina has not replaced former president Danny Morrison, who left the organization prior to last season. However, Tepper intends to fill the role with an individual who has “experience running a sports team,” noting he has a “couple of people” in mind.
Other areas of Tepper’s focus include upgrading 22-year-old Bank of America Stadium and practice fields as well as providing a more accessible community asset. For instance, Tepper referenced hosting potential high school football championships, entertainment such as concerts, as well as possibly Major League Soccer.
On the football side, the Panthers finished second in the NFC South last season at 11-5 with a 31-26 loss in the Wild Card Round to New Orleans. Tepper expressed enthusiasm with offseason additions to the coaching staff, particularly offensive coordinator Norv Turner. However, Tepper didn’t arrive in Charlotte with eyes set on immediate success, but sustainable results.
“We’re actually blessed with a pretty good football side here,” he said. “I appreciate some of the changes that were made on the staff side in my view. I would have had nothing to do with it, but I’m just going to appreciate it. Norv is a pretty good addition in my mind on the offensive side, and I think Ron [Rivera, the head coach] is a natural defensive guy. Natural, like walking down the street and drinking water natural. I’m not looking to do too much there. I think we’ve got some good folks there.”
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