I rarely do this, but today I'm posting a football fan's e-mail in full. Thought it was interesting. This is from Neal Mitchell of Greenville, S.C. He sent it to me the day after Carolina's loss to Chicago, but I'm just now getting around to posting it.
I know some of you will say, "Geez, let it go with Peppers already -- he came, he went, he won, it's over!" However, I thought Neal's reaction was worth seeing, and it's being posted late because of my tardiness, not his. Let me know what you think.
I’ve been a fan of yours since your freshman year at UNC. You were/are an exceptional athlete and very exciting to watch. I enjoyed the years that you were with the Panthers and don’t think I would have it any other way. However, now, I have lost respect for you.
You want to know why the fans, including me, booed you unmercifully at Sunday’s game?You lied to us.
For 8 years, the fans stood and screamed at the top of our lungs when your name was called during pre-game announcements and you repaid us with qb sacks, forced fumbles and athletic interceptions that are certainly hall of fame worthy when all is said and done. Then you went and said the Panthers disrespected you? How exactly was that? By not offering you 101 mil over 7 years? Was 10 million not enough for you to have the adoration of thousands of Panther fans?
Don’t lie to us, we aren’t stupid. You didn’t want to play in Carolina anymore. If you had just manned up and admitted that you didn’t want to play here any longer, I would have said fine and continued to root for you wherever you went. But you didn’t... You expect this type of behavior from Randy Moss and Albert Haynesworth, but not from our Peppers.
Now, don’t get me wrong here. I respect and admire the sacrifices that you and all athletes make all for sake of entertaining the masses. I think that the top athletes deserve to get compensated in big numbers for these sacrifices. But don’t you think that the fans should be repaid with a little honesty and some type of respect? Put yourselves in our shoes for a minute. Most of us fans literally scrape together the money to buy season tickets to the Panthers, to the tune of $830 for one set of section 201 tickets. That may not be a lot of money to you, but it is to us.
When you turned down the offer to be the highest paid DL, that screamed to us you didn’t want to play here anymore. Why would a guy loved by so many turn down so much? Why have I spent so much of my money to see someone I’ve respected, disrespect my team? Why did I spend countless games screaming until I was horse for this guy? Athletes only thank the fans when they win the Super Bowl. Well, guess what? If it wasn’t for fans, you guys wouldn’t be getting those fat contracts.
Jordan Gross said Sunday, “You get booed by everybody that cheered you for eight years…you’re not going to take it.”
Well Julius, you deserved it for treating your fans the way you did. Tell the truth and you’ll gain one fan back.