CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Panthers are wrapping up a successful year and trying to finish the season strong, but questions surrounding the team’s next owner are overshadowing what is otherwise an exciting time for Panthers fans.
After misconduct allegations against owner Jerry Richardson, he announced that he'll put the team up for sale next year.
Defensive back Kurt Coleman said the decision to sell the team was shocking, while not addressing the alleged racial and sexual misconduct by Richardson.
“There’s only a few things I know are true right now,” Coleman said. “Until there's truth out there, that's all they are.”
Right now, they misconduct allegations are just allegations about a man many players on the team consider to be a mentor, a man who cares deeply about their personal well-being, not just their professional production.
“I think guys were bummed because of how everybody feels about him and what he's meant to a lot of guys in this locker room and just how he's taken care of guys,” linebacker Luke Kuechly said. “Everyone's got a different story.”
When tight end Greg Olsen’s son T.J. was diagnosed with a congenital heart condition, Richardson offered the family his private jet to fly to Boston to consult with the nation’s top neonatal doctors.
Moments after the sale announcement, Sean Combs, more commonly known as Diddy, expressed his interest in buying the squad.
"I will be the best NFL owner that you can imagine," Diddy said.
According to Yahoo, Diddy is setting up meetings with potential investors. The website also reports that former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick had a long call with Diddy to discuss forming an ownership group.
The high-profile duo's interest has Cam Newton wondering what to think.
"Obviously, he's a person who has a lot of influence on the culture. It's cool. I don’t know what to expect," the Panthers quarterback said.
Some Panthers fans outside the team store say, “Keep dreaming.”
"He's more about promoting himself than he would be about promoting the football team," Chris Wood said.
"He just seems like he has his priorities out of check," Jeremy Joyner said.
But fan Frederick Knight thinks Diddy would bring a fresh perspective to the team.
"I'm all for it as long as the team stays in Charlotte," Knight said.
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