The Panthers have not soiled their hands by shaking down the city of Charlotte for money to upgrade their stadium.
But they are certainly willing to catch whatever might be generously thrown at them, and the Charlotte City Council voted 7-2 last night to endorse a proposal to give the team $125 million.
The vote came during a closed session, and neither city officials nor anyone from the team commented on the proceedings, according to Steve Harrison of the Charlotte Observer.
Panthers owner Jerry Richardson and team president Danny Morrison made a presentation to the Council at last night’s meeting, at which police guarded the door.
Both Richardson and Morrison (the two quiet guys pictured here, next to coach Ron Rivera) left today’s press conference to introduce new general manager Dave Gettleman without taking questions, with a team spokesman referring all inquiries back to the city.
The plan would call for a tax on prepared food and beverages to be increased from 1 percent to 2 percent, and would have to be approved by North Carolina’s General Assembly and governor Pat McCrory (a former Charlotte mayor).
The Panthers are clearly sensitive toward the perception of taking a public handout, even though Richardson privately financed Bank of America largely through the sale of PSLs. But city officials are also sensitive toward anything resembling not appeasing the local NFL team, apparently scared by the specter of Los Angeles rumors.