Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper isn’t used to not getting what he wants. And since purchasing the franchise back in 2018, he hasn’t gotten much—at least as far as the football side of the business is concerned.
Those misfortunes continued on Tuesday, with the latest news on the team’s Rock Hill, S.C. development shedding a not-so-flattering light on Tepper. In a report from the Charlotte Business Journal, a York County councilman said he believes the Panthers have permanently abandoned the construction of their 240-acre headquarters.
On March 7, Tepper Sports & Entertainment claimed the city of Rock Hill did not follow through on their initial promises—$225 million in taxpayer money—to help fund the project. The team has since denied the city’s hopes of devising alternative financing plans for the property.
As a result, state senator Wes Climer took a few shots at the billionaire owner.
“The bottom line is that our community deserves answers,” Climer said. “The city, the county, the state and the Panthers worked together constructively for a considerable period of time at great effort to bring to Rock Hill a world-class sports entertainment center. David Tepper came to Rock Hill promising us Jerry Jones and ever since then he’s given us Dan Snyder.”
But is there a greater, more ominous underlaying message to all of this? Is Tepper’s hardball approach a precursor for things to come?
Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio suggests it may be. Just as he’s doing with Rock Hill, Tepper could threaten to pick up his ball and go elsewhere if he doesn’t get what he wants. And what he might want out of Charlotte, in due time, is a new stadium.
“Frankly, there’s a good chance Tepper is playing high-level hardball with Rock Hill as a shot across the bow at Charlotte,” Florio writes. “The hard bargain Tepper has chosen to drive in South Carolina could be a precursor to the hard bargain he’ll drive in North Carolina.
“Maybe that’s why Tepper seems to be untroubled by the current situation. His deeper message could be far more pointed.
“Give me what I want, or I eventually will be gone.”
Last year, Tepper stated he wouldn’t build a new stadium alone—implying the community must help foot the potential bill. Well, good luck trying to get the people of Charlotte to buy what this middling product is currently selling.
This, however, wouldn’t be an out-of-character move—especially for a guy who bought his old boss’ home for $43.5 million, only to tear it down and build a mansion twice as large for the sake of pettiness.