New Carolina Panthers wide receiver Torrey Smith not among the captains and veterans who met with owner David Tepper recently…
Immediately following the spring NFL owner’s meetings last week, new Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper flew to Charlotte for a meeting with some of his players. The league had announced a new national anthem policy and Tepper wanted to address any concerns from his team.
The new policy states any players on the field during the playing of the national anthem should be standing but an option remains for personnel to remain inside the locker room. Tepper, aware these decisions have the potential to divide a team, took a preemptive measure and met with veteran Panthers leaders immediately.
Safety Mike Adams, entering his fifteenth NFL season, was among the players who took part and according to reports, seemed optimistic about Tepper’s ownership style and commitment to winning – although he would not offer any particulars on the new policy stances of anyone taking part in the meeting.
Wide receiver Torrey Smith, who joined the Panthers this offseason via trade, is a veteran himself having played for three different organizations in seven years. Never afraid to speak his mind and a long supporter of the communities where he plays, Smith is a three-time Walter Payton Man of the Year Award nominee, his opinions were recently offered on the new league policy.
"“I think it could stir things up, which is the problem because you’re stirring things up because you’ve been told to be quiet. It could’ve been done together to figure out what we can do to move forward and what would be best for the players. The whole reason guys were protesting was to draw awareness to something. To take that away and be, ‘Hey, don’t do that anymore,’ like you’re anti-American or something like people try to paint – it is very frustrating to continue to see that false narrative.”"
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Smith went on to say he was disappointed but not surprised, recognizing the NFL is a business. His comments offered insight into a topic rarely broached under former owner and founder Jerry Richardson.
He too met with players last year and while all indications were the outcome generated positive results, no one ever offered much insight into what was said behind closed doors. Smith opened up even though he wasn’t part of the latest meeting, “I wasn’t in there, but I heard it was awesome. I heard [Tepper’s] a great guy. He’s very passionate about winning and the community.”
A continually developing story across the league once players begin having to choose whether to be on the field or not, league officials may have unintentionally created a brighter spotlight on pregame festivities this season.