I wrote this column in Sunday's Charlotte Observer about the Panthers' 0-4 preseason, and specifically how their poor performance in exhibitions had made one longtime Panther fan already sell his two tickets for the season opener Sept.13 vs. Philadelphia.
That column has stirred up quite a hornet's nest of comments. Given that, I thought I would reprint John Rohner's e-mail in full here -- I only used excerpts of it in the paper due to space concerns. You can decide after reading it yourself whether you consider Rohner (whom I also talked to by phone for some more details used in the column):
1) an impassioned fan who has a very good perspective on the 2009 Panthers since he has held PSLs since 1997 and seen a whole lot of good and bad Carolina football, or;
2) a traitorous fan who is putting too much stock in preseason and bailing out way too early.
Here's the full text of Rohner's e-mail -- originally sent to The Observer's executive sports editor Gary Schwab -- which Rohner gave me permission to make public:
"I read your paper on-line daily and appreciate your staff writers' honesty in reporting on the Panthers. Yet, as a 14 year season ticket holder, I see a team that has very little heart or pride.
"If only they could show a little of the determination Mr.Richardson has shown over the past several months! For the last several years my wife and I have driven to almost every home game (8 hours round trip) and each one of those years we had hope of seeing a team that would give their all, which they generally did.
"We have been more than "fair weather fans" but what we have seen in this pre-season is an embarrassment - these young men and coaches should be ashamed of themselves. Yes, it's "only pre-season", but if you can't show you can play the game in practice, what are we to expect in a "real game"?
"I made a promise to myself before the season this year; to never again boo my team when things are not going as hoped - I feel the only way I can keep that promise is to stay home. I have sold my tickets for the first home game and will see if the Panthers have somehow received their own heart transplant so we may return and support our team."
Myrtle Beach, SC