Panthers owner Jerry Richardson was conspicuously silent, as nearly every other owner in the league issued some degree of statement following Donald Trump’s remarks over the weekend.
And now that he finally has, he would like to ask us all to please stick to sports.
“We are proud of the men we have on this football team,” Richardson said. “Our players have been active and impactful participants in making our community stronger. From the first time I stepped into an NFL locker room at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore in 1959, I have lived and seen the sport’s ability to bring people of all backgrounds together.
“Politicizing the game is damaging and takes the focus off the greatness of the game itself and those who play it.”
Richardson played for the Colts, and is the only owner to have played in the league. And if he had noticed at some point in the years since, the game has been politicized for many years. From wrapping itself in red, white, and blue bunting to celebrate veterans in November, or military flyovers, the league has been a marketing tool for one view or another for some time.
Most recently, it was politicized by the President of the United States, who said owners should fire any “son of a bitch” who protested during the anthem.
Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers was the only player to make a peep yesterday, staying in the locker room while the rest of the team stood at attention as coach Ron Rivera asked them to.
And the idea might not have been Rivera’s alone.