While NFL owners seemed paralyzed by fear last year over what Donald Trump might tweet about them next, the man buying the Carolina Panthers might enjoy that fight.
Hedge fund manager David Tepper will buy the Panthers on Tuesday, according to reports, for $2.2 billion. While most new NFL owners aren’t all that notable, Tepper is because of his opposition to the president. Trump and the NFL waged a bit of a silly war last season, with Trump grandstanding on the national anthem issue and the owners strangely worried about avoiding any more of his criticism.
While there are other anti-Trump owners (Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie probably being the most prominent), the addition of Tepper is interesting because of his past statements on Trump.
‘The father of lies’
In November of 2016, just before the presidential election, Tepper ripped Trump on CNBC. He specifically seemed upset at Trump’s lack of charitable giving, which he had bragged about.
“During Sandy, the big Sandy benefit, the big 9/11 benefit, not one dime. Not one dime! You can’t tell me this is a charitable, generous person,” Tepper said on CNBC, which wrote that his voice was rising to a scream as he ranted about Trump.
“Trump masquerades as an angel of light, but he is the father of lies.”
Tepper isn’t necessarily a Democrat — the Charlotte Observer wrote that he said he planned to vote for Hillary Clinton in the presidential election but Republicans for Congress because he supported their financial platform — but he clearly doesn’t align with Trump. That didn’t seem to change after the election.
‘Demented, narcissistic scumbag’
SI.com pointed out that Tepper didn’t run recently from another inflammatory comment he made about Trump before the election, when he called him a “demented, narcissistic scumbag.” He brought up those comments in a speech last month, SI.com said.
“The economy’s really good right now, despite different things,” Tepper told a first-year business school students at Carnegie Mellon University, SI.com reported. “… Whether I like the person or not I’m not going to get into that — although I did call him a demented, narcissistic scumbag. And if you look up demented, narcissistic scumbag, you’ll see my name calling Trump that. Just Google those three words.”
Tepper’s fit among other owners will be worth watching
Not all owners share the same political views, but many contributed to Trump. Some who contributed to Trump have since criticized him, most notably Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft (Khan has been public with his criticism, Kraft’s came out in a New York Times story that chronicled an owners meeting last fall). But it’s fair to assume Trump still has his supporters among NFL owners.
That makes for an interesting dynamic, assuming Tepper is approved as the Panthers’ new owner as expected. Since Tepper doesn’t seem like the type to hold his words, the owners meetings might be lively, especially if there are more issues with Trump. It could be interesting to see if Tepper continues to bash Trump from his platform as an NFL owner. And Trump isn’t exactly known for ignoring criticism, so it could start another round of Trump vs. the NFL.
If nothing else, Tepper is a little more interesting than most new NFL owners.
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