Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Richardson's letter (with commentary)

For many months, Panthers owner Jerry Richardson has not communicated to the team’s fans at all, except apparently through the occasional random phone call placed to a fan who wrote a letter of complaint and e-mailed it to the Panthers’ website.

That has now changed. Richardson has written a letter that has been sent to all permanent-seat license owners. (UPDATE: And, on Wednesday, coach John Fox said he had no idea what a reporter was talking about when asked about the letter. Fox never saw it before it went out -- another sign of the disconnect between owner and coach).

Although this certainly isn’t a substitute for actually answering questions about the team, it’s a good first step for Richardson. I thought the letter was too vague in parts but quite well done in others.

Here, I have put the contents of Richardson’s letter in my blog and have offered my comments on it in parentheses. Again, Richardson’s letter is restated in full here, but everything in parentheses and italics is what I’m thinking as I’m reading it. I’m not trying to be snarky here, just truthful.

So below you'll find a copy of Richardson's letter to PSL holders. If you’d prefer to read it without my commentary -- and I certainly understand some folks would rather do that -- click on the “Inside the Panthers” blog.

From Jerry Richardson to PSL holders:

"I know how difficult the season has been for you. As the person ultimately responsible for putting a team on the field, I take full responsibility for our shortfalls (Nicely done – no excuses, just taking the blame). It is agonizing that we have not performed at the level we had planned for and expected (agonizing is a strong word, but Richardson hates losing enough I believe that it’s true).

"When the season began, we believed there was every opportunity for success. (Really? Every opportunity? Oh, c’mon now). Many of the players were returning from a team that had finished last year very strong (and many more weren’t, including Jake Delhomme, Julius Peppers, Chris Harris, Brad Hoover and so on). The motivation for this approach was both performance-based and a commitment to the future. Obviously we have fallen short (by only a couple of thousand miles), but our faith and commitment are still the same.

"Going forward, our plan of attack is to build through the draft while retaining our core players (good to restate this). We have one of the youngest teams in the League, and a number of those younger players have shown genuine promise in this otherwise disappointing season (true). We won't give up on them. We also have a solid nucleus of veterans that we will seek to keep intact.

"I want all of you to know that we plan to look at every aspect of our organization (this is the only place where Richardson hints that he’ll have a new coach in 2011). What we do in the future will entirely be geared toward putting the best possible team on the field. I am committed to fielding a winning team, and I'm willing to invest the resources necessary to make it happen (this needed to be said, as many fans believe Richardson is doing this year on the cheap).

"Allow me to raise another personal issue. Much has been made of my reluctance to address the play of the team in the media. Throughout the history of the franchise, I have rarely done in-season interviews (this is true, but it’s also true that Richardson used to do offseason interviews with some regularity, and that hasn’t happened for a long time, to the detriment of many, including, of course, those of us like me who are in the media business).

"It's just not my style. In my opinion, comments from ownership during the season are a distraction, and I do not want my comments to interfere in any way with the performance on the field (but at 1-11, how could it get worse? And you answer questions from individual fans frequently. But, I digress).

"This year is further complicated with the uncertainty regarding Collective Bargaining Agreement. (Richardson plays a huge role for the owners in this CBA and is considered a "hard-line" owner). Let me be clear: A successful CBA is critical in sustaining the competitive balance of the NFL. We're all in this together, and what is good for football is good for the continued success of each and every team. It's important for us to reach an agreement that benefits the fans, players, and teams (and, of course, its owners). I want the players paid fairly, and I want us to play winning and exciting football (My contention is still that there will be a lockout but ultimately won’t be any regular-season games missed in 2011, but I’ve been wrong before).

"I understand that in a season like this, words can sound hollow (a nice admission here), but, as PSL Owners, you have my commitment to provide you a team that will make you proud (well-done here as well – and it sure better be true). With three NFC championship game appearances, we have come close. I can assure you we will be aggressive in getting there again (no Super-Bowl-in-10-year prediction this time from Richardson -- smart).

"Thank you for your patience and support in a very challenging time."

Respectfully,
Jerry Richardson

57 comments:

Anonymous said...

Whatever.

Anonymous said...

I was hoping there would be a refund check in that envelope....

Anonymous said...

That letter wasn't worth the paper they printed it on...neither are my PSLs. I'm surprised they didn't charge all of us a service fee for sending that letter. What a joke.

Anonymous said...

Let me see, inaugural season in 95, SB run 8 years later. Give the Cats a break from top to bottom. They will get there again and fast. Thanks for the letter Jerry. The true Carolina Panther’s fans are still on board..

Anonymous said...

I have to say one more thing here because I'm tired of PSL owners whining this season. Are you serious? Did you not realize up from that they were an investment and could gain OR LOOSE value depending on how the team is doing? Nobody was complaining last season but oh my god, my investment is worth less because the team is having a bad year. Did you buy them to profit? If you did you deserve to lose your money. If you bought them because you love this team and want to own a piece of it, calm down, their value will come back up.

Anonymous said...

Scott fowler wonders why Jerry doesn't talk much to the media. It's clowns like himself. The owner writes a letter and our lame sportswriter hacks it. What a classless bum!

Anonymous said...

Just as in politics, there are gullible ones in every crowd. I'm not an NFL or Panther fans. The salaries, free agency, player attitudes all throughly turn me off. I call myself an 'objective' observer. I'm a big college football fan and it's a totally different world. I'll acknowlege that the calibre of play in the NFL is of course much higher. No real physical mismatches. To start with, at a USC football game, they generally bring a music faculty member in to do the National Anthem. College band, operatic singer, we get a rousing rendidtion. NFL - with all their money - brings in celebs, teen idols and whatnot who absolutely butcher it. Fan attitude is totally different. Get excited when you win, a little down when they lose, but after all, it's just kids playing football. NFL are pros, and the charge pro prices. If I had invested thousands for a product like this years Panthers, I think I'd feel a little cheated.

Anonymous said...

In other words, "Please keep committed to the Panther's and come to games. I need concession sells and at this rate, the ticket hike just isn't going to cover the losses."

Jerry at what point did building "the youngest team in the NFL" make you think you explored every opportunity to compete. That's the biggest load of #&*#.

Anonymous said...

Winning every year isn't easy. Why does the Charlotte media and some Panther "fans" feel they deserve the playoffs every year when they criticize everything (even this letter from the owner)? The Steelers were 1-13 at one point before Chuck Noll turned them around. The Patriots were 1-15 in 90 and 2-14 in 92. The Colts were 3-13 in both 97 and 98. This is the NFL.

tim said...

take out your childish sophamoric inserts Scott...sheesh

Anonymous said...

Every season, a couple teams have only a couple wins. Yeah, Fox is leaving the team EXACTLY as he found it but at the same time, he took it to 2 championship games and a superbowl. I will watch the last four games and cheer them on, although I dont want them to win another game and blow first pick. Carolina will have a winning season next year, mark my words..

Anonymous said...

I was trying to read the letter but someone kept butting in (Fowler). Maybe I'll find it somewhere else.

Anonymous said...

Scott, the Panthers were going nowhere with the overpriced veterans you mentioned...and you know it. Two years from now the Panthers will be much better off by doing what they are doing now. Jerry has ALWAYS spent whatever needed to compete. It was simply time to start over, so he did. Of course anyone that truly knows sports understands this. But when your sports career consists of only a pen, paper and a sarcastic attitude - this is what you get.

Anonymous said...

Incredible. People moan, groan and complain and DEMAND an apology from JR, and when they get it, they moan,groan and complain anyway. This guy can't win for losing. Most of those who are griping the loudest most likely has no investment at all in the Panthers. Most likely don't own PSL's and rarely go to a game. Do me a favor - go back to your dead end job at Burger King (if you even have a job) and leave the NFL business decisions to those who know what the heck they are doing. Sit back, shut up and enjoy what you have.

Anonymous said...

PSL owners dont need to apologize to anyone....especially those who didnt invest a dime but are laughing at our expense. As the owner of 10PSL's, i agree it sounds delusional to read about those who whine about their investment. ITS NOT AN INVESTMENT. We bought them to entertain friends and clients and that is the problem, there is no entertainment. Jerry...going to a Panthers game used to be exciting, an event we planned around and a stadium we showed off. Now your team isnt entertaining, the stadium experience is so bad due to the pathetic music, over-priced food, not being allowed to return when you have to exit the stadium despite having a ticket, etc. The whole deal right now is embarrassing... to spend that much money and not be proud of it. Or maybe you feel that way right now....

Anonymous said...

Perhaps it would be best for Richardson to step down. He has made a debacle of this team, fired his two sons, fired the best announcer in the NFL who loved this team, and managed to raise ticket prices and beer prices to a level that makes even the clyesdales smile - and I don't think horses know how to smile.

Running the Panthers like a business would have him fired as a CEO years ago. Perhaps Mr. Richardson could learn from the recent Va. Tech Forida State game which electrified the stadium. The atmosphere in the stadium we built was buzzing with excitement and enthusiam.

I say send his sorry ass back to Spartanburg and get an owner with a personality who has a passion for making the game truly entertaining and exciting.

Boring boring boring football with overpriced beers and unimaginative halftime shows.

Anonymous said...

I usually don't care for your point of view. I have to give it you, you keep doing you. You have a job, so obviously you do it well. I just want to say I liked your commentary! Hilarious! I hate football but I can't sleep sO I'm doing some reading. Keep it up!

Anonymous said...

Boring boring boring football with overpriced beers and unimaginative halftime shows

hmm reminds me of Scotts posts sometimes, especially this one.

Anonymous said...

I hate the Panthers, let's get that straight. However, when you pay as much as some of the PSL holder's due you have to right to criticize any move that ownership makes. A casual fan could have looked at this year's Panthers roster from the beginning and told you that this season would be a lost cause based on the talent that the Panthers let go and brought back. A letter from the owner hardly justifies an apology for the investment these PSL's put in to this team. The St. Louis Blues offered Season Ticket holders partial refunds last year if the team failed to make the playoffs. I don't see Jerry offering the same type of offer. Why? Because he knew just like the rest of us that this team would be medioacre at best and so far they have not disappointed and in fact have exceeded that expectation.

Anonymous said...

Time has passed ol' Jerry by, he needs to sell and move on, NOW!

Anonymous said...

Fuck off.
You ate the one who needs to move on you pos. Since when do owners play the game you moron. NFL salaries need to go down no up. Bad economy espec with socialists in the WH.

Its all these overpaid players, except Kasay, who need to get the hell out of Dodge and send a refund to PSL owners. All the other tv bums dont count.

Didnt experts like Sorensen say this was a good team in pre-season? Wasnt that good enuff?

Anonymous said...

Scott you sucking up to this senile old fool trying to get an interview? He had beter takle the blame he is in a league that is wide open now and he has shut down and it time to go away.

Anonymous said...

"Sophamoric??!!" Even sophomores, those wise fools, know how to spell "sophomore." Bet you never got that far.

Anonymous said...

Disappointing that a couple guys in a bar could have had a more successful draft than the Panthers last off-season. Drafting a QB to play WR was a waste of a 3rd round pick (See Armanti Edwards). Also, any moron could have told you we needed another QB. We started the season with 3 QBs with a combined number of starts of 4. Yes, 4... Genius!

Then Jerry jacks up ticket prices? The nerve...

Anonymous said...

The letter should have been addressed to ALL Panther fans, not just PSL holders.

Anonymous said...

Wow some of you people are angry.

I didn't need an apology because I'm a fan regardless. Its a tough year so what? New coach and a top draft pick are the first steps to rebuilding. Hopefully in 3 years we are talking playoffs. No matter what, I'm a fan of the team and the game. Take the good with the bad.

Anonymous said...

You win in the NFL by drafting well and plugging holes with key free agents. The Panthers have no plan to do either of these things. And just watch, they'll win again this year and screw up the draft positioning.

Anonymous said...

More cliches and intentionally vague statements. Imagine that from this organization.

Anonymous said...

HALFTIME ENTERTAINMENT__ You guys like the trampoline act the other week? What a joke....

I like the idea that Jerry knows he needs to spend some money. When our player salaries are half of the top teams (KC excl.) it might be an indicator of our year.

I like some of youth we have but to be honest, we need a great quarterback prospect. Jimmy does not appear to be the guy..

We need a good young coach that isnt rehashed from some other system and get some life back in the stadium. Im freaking sick of seeing more fans at a damn game than my home team. Its depressing to be the brunt of jokes in any NFL commentary. This team used to be respected and now it needs to re fire that.

On the experience, why not do a better job of the food and beverage costs as a show of good faith to the guys that buy the tickets every week? I couldnt give tickets away this season..

If no one enjoys going to the games, then eventually it's going to make this team go away..
I love the Panthers, but we need to get back on track

mez said...

P.S. Ticket prices will be increasing by 20%. Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

I hate seeing the panthers like this..I have been a fan since the day they announced Charlotte had a team. I will not stop now, but for the life of me I cannot figure out what they are doing now..

Anonymous said...

When will someone at the Observer write the one article that really needs to be written, but that nobody has the courage to do... the one calling on Richardson to sell the team?

Anonymous said...

What a pant load!!

Richardson knew exactly what he was getting this year.

1. The PSL holder's money and

2. A losing team.

JR says he will spend money but I will believe it when I see it. Wouldn't you love to work for a boss like him?

I understand that he expects performance but the employees expect support. He fired a great radio guy over a SB ring. He fired his sons. He fired a QB who took him to the Super Bowl and is about to fire the coach. He fired the best, least expensive full back in the NFL.

And then after pissing off all the employees he raised prices to the customers.

What a boss!! Is it any wonder that his resturant business, Spartan Foods went Bust?

Anonymous said...

Why send a letter only to PSL fans? The fans (like me) which live outside the NC/SC area (Iraq) deserve a letter also. We have supported this team since 1995 too. K7

Anonymous said...

One issue not brougt up is the payroll last year was 120 million and this year is 80 million. He pocketed 40 mill just in case there is a lockout - BUT - HE STILL RAISED TICKET PRICES THIS YEAR!! I lose more and more respect for this owner every year.

Anonymous said...

One issue not brougt up is the payroll last year was 120 million and this year is 80 million. He pocketed 40 mill just in case there is a lockout - BUT - HE STILL RAISED TICKET PRICES THIS YEAR!! I lose more and more respect for this owner every year.

Anonymous said...

I agree K7. Where is my letter? I am not satisfied at all with this letter! Because JR has a captive audience (PLS owners), he has the luxury of only having to apolize and promise to to better. I say BS!
The big problem of the PLS concept is the wine and chesse, Country Club mentality. This is the same sort of letter I presume folks at Quail Hollow would get if there was a problem with the greens. What needs to happen to fix this team, I believe, is for JR to buy back the PSLs and renew the fan base with the general public. Let market forces rule ticket prices and availability! If you don't believe this would work, take a ride to Pittsburgh or Green Bay and try to buy a ticket! wt

OSC said...

I agree, JR should have addressed ALL fans, and not just PSL owners. However, I won't look a gift horse int he mouth, and I will take it upon myself to extend his apologies towards PSL owners, to me as well. It's a step in the right direction, though long overdue. However, better late than never. I've also said all season, if you don't like the product on the field, then don't invest your money into it anymore. I support the Panthers, because I grew up with the team in my home state of North Carolina. Anyone else who has lost interest in the franchise, please feel free to be a fan of the Redskins, Cowboys, Falcons, or whatever team you were a fan of before the Panthers' inaugural season. We want to build a loyal fanbase; not one that pisses and moans from every little hiccup to major catastrophe. Your whining is old and worn out. Fans who were born or grew up with this team, quite frankly, are tired of hearing your shit. If you don't like it, there's the door. You're welcome to leave as easily as you were welcomed in.

I get it said...

PEOPLE!! You act like JR has never spent the money to try and win, but the fact is he's had to maneuver and restructure salaries many times to get back UNDER the cap. That's why he ended up having to pay Jake 12mil this year when he's not even on the team. For whatever reason, this year, he had an opportunity to get back to square one and squirrel away some money, and I don't like that either, but I fully expect him to write a bunch of big checks in the next 6 months.

Anonymous said...

Did he not pay that traitor ripoff Peppers one million per gam last year for 16 million? For what? He sucked.
He is putting twice the effort for Chicago this year. Why?
There are many other players who did this.
They play for Carolina for the money but screw the team and Carolinas.

Its the greedyass backsliding undedicated players. Dont blame JR. He has tried his best. You can take a horse to to water but you cant make him drink.
Overall JR is in the upper middle of total payout to the teams since 1995.

Anonymous said...

Same for ex-UNLV Running Rebels Larry Johnson who was drafted by George Shinns Charlotte Hornets in 1991 and signed for the most lucrative deal in NBA history at 84million that double any other.

LJ was half ass as hell and screwed around most of the time never the star he was in Vegas so he was traded to Miami where he excelled greatly. Same for Alonzo Mourning who was halfass and paid a huge salary but had to be traded where he excelled in Miami too.

Why do big name players intentionally play halfass here?

senorpancake said...

Gotta love all the half thought out comments. You beg for a response from Richardson and then complain when you get it. You do realize that he's not obligated in any way to address anyone, right? Just like you're not obligated to purchase a PSL. And to those of you bitching about stadium food prices, you do realize that the vending is contracted out to a 3rd party that has the bulk of the say in setting prices, do you not? I love those of you who think that Richardson's some manical fiend conspiring in the shadows to raise the price of hot dogs by a quarter. It's fascinating how many of you apparently have no grasp on the concept that football is cyclical. You do realize that there have to be some losing teams every year, right? The math wouldn't quite work out if every team went 16-0. Does the product on the field suck? Absolutely, but if you're a quasi-knowledgable fan, it would have been hard to look at the roster at the start of the year and think we'd win less than 8-9 games. Injuries happen, players don't pan out, guys who had career seasons retreat towards the norm. To those of you bitching about our draft this year, you do realize that rookies stepping in and performing at a high level immediately is the exception, not the rule, right? How do you expect Clausen to do anything when he spends half the game running for his life behind that swiss-cheese line. Cut the guy a break, you're really ready to give up on him after 7 or 8 starts? That's just absurd. I do find interesting that not a single comment so far has addressed the utterly pathetic job Fox has done this year, however. His complete refusal and/or inability to adjust his game plan even slightly is baffling. His playbook has remained unchanged since 2002.

Zachery said...

All I know is the Bucs can put a winning team on the field and they ARE the youngest team in the NFL. Carolina will bounce back, its just their performance is being magnified by how well the rest of the NFC South is doing. Especially the Buccaneers considering both teams were supposed to be in the same boat.

Jared said...

I am so glad that I got rid of my PSL's . Why would I or any other sane person for that matter ever spend a dime on this team? All the owner does is bleed every single penny possible from it and the fans. Cut every single veteran, just to save a dollar. And then he has the audacity to raise ticket prices?? I pity anyone stupid enough to spend any more money on this team. Get out while you can.

BTW, still wondering where all the julius peppers money went. Thought it might be a good move, so we could reinvest the money saved into improving the team..guess it wasn't enough for JR and the solution was to cut more salary and veteran players. Now I know that the only reinvesting done was into JR's Hedge Fund.

panthers4life said...

I speak for the young. I'm 19 and was born/raised in this city. my parents did not attend college so i didn't have the luxury of calling their team my team. supporting the panthers is home to me. watching this team grow from the new(decals and jerseys mean nothing) to going to the super bowl have brought me to love this team and their future achievements. panther fans i am ashamed of not the team, not the young players, not the jacked ticket prices, but you! yes you! if i was out of college and could afford 20 seats i would get them in a heart beat. Its about supporting your team. if you don't have a passion for the panthers(and how they support the city of Charlotte) then stop watching them and root for the patriots(they win a lot but prob don't know that...) The panthers are not entertainment(technically yes they are) if you asked greenbay fans or steelers fans why they watch their team they might say because we love them. when do you hear that in this city? this team we have is young and i dont feel like explaining the obvious about this team. this team is like a young baby right now. us fans are the parents.(we should be considered family) are we going to get pissed at the baby bc it cant feed itself or are we going to help it and wait for better days? its up to you to decide.

Anonymous said...

Clausen should be finishing his Sr year at Notre Dame leading the Irish to another half-ass season.

Under Clausen ND went 3-9 in 2007, 7-6 in 2008 and 7-5 in 2009. Total record for Clausen was 17-20 for a whopping 45.9% and he was drafted by the Panthers?

Yea he won the national high school football player of the year in 2006 and his 2 bros played QB for U Tenn as starters.

And yes the OL sux and they are not blocking and same for a suck defense. He is a good fit. Suck for suck.

Jermel said...

"I want all of you to know that we plan to look at every aspect of our organization..."

I hope this is a hint that Marty Hurney will be gone or at least removed from the GM position.

Anonymous said...

On a rarity Sorensen got it right on the Bobcats name change in spite of the flakes who ran off Shinn and have no loyalty to anything anyway and just love to whine and bitch. Nitwits. Knuckleheads. Morons. Idiots.

It wouldnt make a bit of difference what the team is named anyway. Such ignorance and stupidity from those washy washy flakes.

There are both insect hornets and animal bobcats still found in Mecklenburg County if thats relevant although MASCOT names are stupid and meaningless.

Tim T. said...

I agree with Jermel,

"I want all of you to know that we plan to look at every aspect of our organization..."

I hope this is a hint that Marty Hurney will be gone or at least removed from the GM position.

December 9, 2010 7:44 AM

Marty Hurney and Don Gregory should be held accountable for these Panther draft busts: Armanti Edwards, Dwayne Jarrett, Ryne Robinson, Tim Shaw, Hilee Taylor, Everett Brown, Corvey Irvin, Duke Robinson, Tony Pike R.J. Stanford, Robert McClain

Tim T. said...

I fotgot Mr. Fat ASS, Puke (Duke) Robinson

Anonymous said...

In 1776 by fable or myth Brit Gen Cornwalis came thru and called this place of 2000 settlers a "hornet nest". Ironically US Gen Washington rode thru in 1976 and called it "trivial".

Maybe a vote is needed. Rename the NBA team Hornet or Trivial?

Anonymous said...

guys who haven't even stepped on the field are "busts" after 1/2 seasons? 7th round picks are considered "busts"? what percentage of draft picks do you expect to immediately pan out? rookies stepping into the starting lineup and performing at a high level immediately are the exception, not the rule.

Anonymous said...

"Armanti Edwards, Dwayne Jarrett, Ryne Robinson, Tim Shaw, Hilee Taylor, Everett Brown, Corvey Irvin, Duke Robinson, Tony Pike R.J. Stanford, Robert McClain".

Wow I didn't know 5th-7th round such as Hilee T(4th or 5th), Duke R(5th), Cory I(5th), Tony P(6th), Stanford and McClain(7th) would be listed as bust? 5th-7th rounders are usually cut before the season starts.

Hurney should be restricted trading away 1st and 2nd rounders, not be fired. Every player he had drafted as bust, he replaced them with far better players.

This coaching staff can't develop young talent. Brown would have success in a 3-4, AE would produce with a Eagles or Patriots offense 100xs better than this elementary school crap.

Anonymous said...

I agree! 5th and 7th round picks are really your back-up/special teams players. It's the Dwayne Jarrett 2nd rd (1 td / 2 dui's), Everett Brown 1st rd (2 sacks), Armanti Edwards 3rd rd (bench warmer). selections that set you team back in the long haul.

Anonymous said...

"It's the Dwayne Jarrett 2nd rd (1 td / 2 dui's), Everett Brown 1st rd (2 sacks), Armanti Edwards 3rd rd (bench warmer). selections that set you team back in the long haul".

Well at least Hurney had finally stop drafting USC receivers for once lol. They didn't surrender a 1st rounder for Brown straight up, they also have gotten Mike G(4th) rounder in part of surrendering the 1st. AE would have success elsewhere instead of this lame duck staff.

But they can set your team back for years, especially not having a staff that can develop them the proper way. Great post.

Anonymous said...

Blah, Blah, Blah. We will again raise the PSL's next season so we can for sure be a Super Bowl contending team in 2014!

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