Richardson creates stir with $10 million donation

AP

After shaking down the City of Charlotte for $87.5 million to help fund upgrades at Bank of American Stadium, Panthers owner Jerry Richardson has forked over $10 million to apply his name to another football venue.

And some folks in Charlotte understandably are miffed.

Richardon’s donation to UNC Charlotte will result in the Charlotte 49ers playing in Jerry Richardson Stadium.

Nobody asked us to do this,” Richardson said, via the Charlotte Observer.  “Charlotte is our home [and] I think athletics plays a key role in any university or college experience.

“In fact, I don’t do well when people ask me for money.  I’d rather give it because I want to give it.”

The irony in that last part is obvious to anyone in Charlotte who thinks Richardson should be paying for upgrades to the football stadium he owns.  The man who doesn’t like to be asked for money asked aggressively and repeatedly for taxpayer funds.  Though he didn’t get everything he wanted, Richardson came away with $8.75 for every $1 he donated to get his name on the local college’s stadium.

But Richardson most likely won’t be changing the name of the place to the Charlotte Taxpayers Stadium.

On one hand, we understand the distinction.  Richardson got public money to help fund the upgrades because that’s part of the reality of NFL stadium economics.  Having a team in town benefits the city financially; at some point, the city should acknowledge that with a financial contribution.  Whether the owner of the team can afford to provide the money he’s seeking is irrelevant to whether the taxpayers should bear part of the total burden.

On the other hand, it reminds me of one of my all-time favorite jokes, as told by David Letterman in the 1980s when his NBC after-Carson show spent a week in Las Vegas.  (Stop me if you’ve heard this one — or better yet just scroll to the next story.)

Letterman said during a monologue that he was approached on the street by a man who asked for cash because his wife needs an operation.  Said Letterman to the man, “How do I know you’re not going to use this money for gambling?”

The man responded, “Oh, I’ve got gambling money.”

20 responses to “Richardson creates stir with $10 million donation

  1. Rich guy donating to college. We better over-analyze this because a rich guy feeding his Ego to have a stadium named after him just doesn’t make sense.

  2. so ,, in what world should the tax payers be subjugated into paying for a barbaric sport that some/most of them do not follow.

    Especially when that sport is backed by the most successful organization in the country
    While the owners don’t drop a penny and continue to make millions upon millions…..

    lets get real.
    not to mention Panthers fans have no heart.. i couldn’t see them backing this expenditure.

  3. The only people who should be able to grumble are the ones that originally voted against his request for tax payer $.

    Outside of that, you can not tell that man how to spend his own money. (As much as you would hope he’d spread the wealth)

  4. The Panthers are a tenant of the stadium. If you are renting a house and something needs to be upgraded, are you going to pay for it? Or are you going to ask your landlord?

  5. Did UNC Charlotte threaten to move if the rich alums didn’t pay for their stadium?

    The argument that NFL teams bring revenue to cities is hogwash. Banking firms, malls, and hotels also bring lots of money into the community and on a daily basis, not just 8-10 days per year. Yet those corporations don’t shake down cities by demanding the taxpayers pay for their buildings.

  6. I don’t blame him one bit. If I was rich and was able to get other people to pay for my stuff, I’d do it too. The rich stay rich by being cheap.

  7. If you run a company and the capital markets are willing to underwrite debt (cheaper than equity), do you take it or not? No question, you take the debt.

    If you’re Jerry, in 1993, you actually don’t take the debt — he never asked the city for money.

    Fast forward 20 years, and he’s asked for < $100 million. A number that PALES in comparison to what other cities (like Baltimore) have contributed to fund their respective stadiums.

    Don't criticize the man, criticize the system. It is what it is. Wake up people – your anger is misdirected. If you want to be angry, elect a new town council, write your congressman, etc. Sadly people get too riled up one way or the other to ever actually think for themselves or do anything productive.

  8. I would like to thank all the taxpayers for the money. Ima gonna donate $10 million of it to a local college so I can get my stamped on their stadium. Appreciate you.

    -Jerry R.

  9. Like most people who have collected more shiny stones than most other people, this guy thinks he is more entitled to everything under the sun, than any of the pests – the “little” people who don’t matter, except when it comes to helping line his pockets with even more shiny stones.

  10. of course…

    the good people of charlotte could have just told him to take a hike…and he probably would have taken his Cam Newton home and not let anyone play with him anymore.

    choices…life is about choices. once you make them, you can’t sit around crying about them.

    CAM NEWTON or Bud Light and NASCAR?

  11. sheeeeesh .. we criticize a smart business man for his influence on govt ?? we should be un-electing those who agreed to the $87m !! rich people get rich by spending other people $$ … stand up and say to to entertainment business’ like nfl, nascar , etc . let the fans & TV , and consumers pay for it , not those
    who don’t go , or buy their products. i love the nfl and nascar , but don’t believe in supporting them via taxes.

  12. “On one hand, we understand the distinction. Richardson got public money to help fund the upgrades because that’s part of the reality of NFL stadium economics. Having a team in town benefits the city financially[citation needed]; at some point, the city should acknowledge that with a financial contribution. Whether the owner of the team can afford to provide the money he’s seeking is irrelevant to whether the taxpayers should bear part of the total burden.”

  13. “Having a team in town benefits the city financially; at some point, the city should acknowledge that with a financial contribution”

    There have been studies what have shown that the overall “benefits the city” is way over-blown. Tax-payers should not have to foot the bill for a sports team (unless of course there is a direct vote regarding the expenditure). The sports team is a private business.

  14. @granadafan

    “The argument that NFL teams bring revenue to cities is hogwash. Banking firms, malls, and hotels also bring lots of money into the community and on a daily basis, not just 8-10 days per year. Yet those corporations don’t shake down cities by demanding the taxpayers pay for their buildings.”

    You really don’t know that banking firms, malls, and hotels also get tax breaks for locating within a city or state? I’m guessing that you will be shocked when you do some homework on the subject.

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