Will the Carolina Panthers be sold? The Richardsons walk away!

Posted by Andy Durham on September 1, 2009 at 5:39 pm under Professional | 7 Comments to Read

That’s the question that many people are asking this afternoon, what’s up with the Carolina Panthers? Will the team be sold after both Mark and Jon Richardson resigned today…….

Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer has followed this situaton closely and he has logged these thoughts at the charlotteobserver.com and you can Click Here to catch it all and here’s some of his line of thinking to kick off this topic.

Strange Panther doings at the top

In one of the oddest and most jarring Carolina Panther announcements in franchise history, the team said today that team president Mark Richardson and stadium president Jon Richardson have announced their resignations from the Carolina Panthers.

Excuse me?!

A team official has told me that there is no plan to sell or move the team in the wake of this announcement, so at least that rumor can (more or less) be put to rest.

But an announcement like this makes all sorts of other rumors pop up. The quotes in the Panthers’ press release – one apiece from owner Jerry Richardson, Mark and Jon – tried to smooth over any rumblings of internal discontent. Those quotes also gave absolutely no reason for why this was happening, which makes me think, of course, that there’s some serious internal discontent somewhere — probably in the Jerry Richardson/Mark Richardson relationship.

Mark and Jon used words like “exciting” and “fortunate” and “unique” and “great” to describe their experience with the team in the press release. That begs the question: Why would you leave all that? They are still retaining a minority ownership stake in the team, but as far as the day-to-day operations, that’s done.

And this is the family business, after all — you don’t walk away — or get pushed away — from that lightly. (I left phone messages for Jon, Mark and the Panthers spokesman who handles Jerry Richardson’s interview requests, but haven’t heard back from any of that trio).

Mark has been groomed as Jerry Richardson’s heir apparent for years as No.1 on the Panthers’ organizational chart. Who fills that role now is one of the biggest questions about this announcement. Well-liked Panther ticket guru Phil Youtsey — who has been with the team since its inception — would be one obvious candidate to run the business side as Mark did, but there will be others. And there’s nothing that says the Panthers have to have a team president, either.

Mark has been team president since 1998, since the generally beloved Mike McCormack retired. Mark is the dapper dresser with the expensive tastes who oversaw the business side of the Panther operations. The announcement of his resignation is the one that absolutely has stunned the Panthers’ staff.

Jon is the more down-to-earth brother – the one who has battled cancer off-and-on for the past decade. He loves to wear jeans and eat at diners. Jon has been the head of Bank of America Stadium operations since it opened in 1996. The team release said Jon had told the Panthers’ staff awhile back he was going to resign.

Click on the above link to carry on my wayward son…..

  • Notjimmelvin said,

    Jerry Richardson gets a new heart, and his sons resign. hmmmmmmm

  • reggie said,

    They needed to resign.

  • Eddie Willis said,

    i am not sure why they needed to resign as reggie has indicated.
    mark and i were fraternity brothers at clemson, and we are in touch very often. not that he would necessarily share anything major about the panthers internal issues, but he hasn’t displayed outward signs of pressure the last two times I have been around him. my guess is that something happened very recently that led to these changes.
    maybe “poppa jerry’s” heart transplant was a “hard heart” instead of a regular one. we will know soon.

  • reggie said,

    Eddie, I dated their sister in college for about 10 months or so. Still talk with them from time to time but not at close to them any longer. Have seen them around Wofford. Both are nice guys but seemed to have different ideas. I don’t see anything bad here.

  • Eddie Willis said,

    i understand—-jerry was probably still reliving the Charlie Bradshaw and spartan foods/ spartan express days with his new lease on life—-mark was definitely a progressive thinker and john was john—salt of the earth is a good description don’t you think? when did you dte ashley? we may even know each other. you a clemson guy or did you go to wofford?

  • reggie said,

    Raleigh and Spartanburg. The boys were at Clemson, at least I’m positive one of them was.

    They’re both really good guys. At one time they had some investors in the Panthers besides them. Don’t know if that is still the case. rather not say their names other than to say it’s a prominent textile family. Obviously the Richardson’s are the overwhelming majority.

  • Eddie Willis said,

    mark went to clemson —–the prominent textile family is also a big wofford donor–weren’t the dents and the m’s both involved with both investors i the panthers early on? jerry’s a funny guy—he wouldn’t allow hardees to be a corporate sponsor of the panthers—figure that?