If you didn't see the full-page advertisement in Monday's Charlotte Observer sports section that was very critical of team owner Jerry Richardson and coach Ron Rivera, you can see the original story about that ad right here.
The ad inspired a lot of debate on both sides. Incidentally, I wrote in today's newspaper that I believe Rivera should be given one more year by Richardson, but that he should be fired following the 2013 season if he doesn't make the playoffs.
Some have praised the ad for its bluntness. Some have criticized it for its anonymous nature. Today, I received the following email from the "Perturbed Panther" fans who wrote the original ad (so they say), and I am reprinting their email on this blog in full without additional comments so you can judge it for yourself. Feel free to leave your own comments about their email below.
I've been asked to contact the Observer on behalf of a large number of Panther fans (many not PSL owners) regarding the reaction to the open letter to Mr. Richardson that was in yesterday's paper.
It seems some media outlets are more interested in the names of the many dissatisfied and demoralized fans in Panther land, or the cost of the ad itself, rather than in the heart and soul of our message.
First, this is not about whining, money, different classes of fans or anything personal between us and Jerry Richardson or Ron Rivera. Both seem like nice gentlemen, but we don't know them personally and that is not the point.
What this is simply about is unacceptable RESULTS and the extreme frustration felt by so many of us by the failure of Mr. Richardson, or to some respect, many of Charlotte's media outlets, to address this perennial dilema openly, honestly and thoroughly. We fans are happy to pay for entertainment and know there will be up and down years in any professional sports franchises history but the Panthers' results are borderline embarassing and we think we fans and the Carolinas deserve a better effort instead of that old bromide about repeating the same thing year-after-year and expecting better results.
At the end of the day, four winning seasons (and none consecutively) in 18 years is indisputable and kind of says it all. This record, by definition, simply cannot be reflective of effective ownership/management of this or any professional franchise. Then we wonder why a former highly competitive professional athlete and successful businessman would tolerate repeated mediocrity or embarassment. The only answer we can come up with is money. If personal net worth is going up tens of millions of dollars a year, human nature suggests it is awfully difficult to get too upset about the core endeavor that is generating such wealth. Put another way, if the Panthers performance on the field were generating out-of-pocket losses each year, would Mr. Richardson's sense of urgency and efforts to turn things around be as understated?
Scott, the NFL "business trade" is simple: Community gets behind wealthy owner(s) to get franchise established; Once franchise granted,owner virtually guaranteed escalating wealth by the league and parity provisions; Community receives direct and indirect economic stimulation; Fans pay up for right to be entertained and engender pride in franchise and greater community; Team performs at level adequate to sustain the preceeding benefits at highest levels.
The only element of the trade here in Charlotte that has not been delivered is the last one, which happens to be the only "pay back" for us fans. When critics of our letter say we're a bunch of whiners who, if we don't like how things are going, should sell our licenses and/or tickets, our response is: WE DON'T WANT TO QUIT! WE LOVE OUR TEAM AND OUR COMMUNITY! WE WANT THIS OWNERSHIP TO WAKE UP AND DELIVER ON THEIR END OF THE BARGAIN! That is the point we are trying to deliver to the media and Mr. Richardson. Who are we? We are the heart and soul of the Panthers; their most loyal (and demoralized) fans.
We have taken the time and chipped in some money to go public with our views and open the fact-based discussion. We get criticized for speaking our mind and remaining anonymous. Everyone knows who Mr. Richardson is but,with rare exception, he chooses to stay silent. Which do you think is worse.
You guys in the media take the torch from here. Pressure Mr. Richardson to lay-out a specific and plausible turn-around plan. We have done our part and hope you will help get this ownership to deliver on theirs.
Respectfully, TRUE PANTHER FANS EVERYWHERE!