Carolina Panthers' version of The Traitors takes another twist

Was another traitor found within the Carolina Panthers locker room?

James Campen
James Campen / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Panthers' version of The Traitors took another twist with fresh revelations about locker room moles for team owner David Tepper.

Much has been made about the toxic workplace environment created by David Tepper. The meddling billionaire had his finger on almost everything to do with the football operation. Fired head coach Frank Reich had to endure the misery of weekly meetings with the Carolina Panthers owner. Reports of locker room dissension and backstabbing followed as the franchise descended into the proverbial abyss once again.

This sounds more like the plot of The Traitors than a successful NFL organization. It's also something new head coach Dave Canales and president of football operations/general manager Dan Morgan are keen to disassociate themselves from moving forward.

Canales has wasted no time in removing some long-standing staff members from the equation. A fresh start is desirable considering how things unfolded last season. If that means upsetting a few respected coaches in pursuit of progress, it's a small price to pay.

James Campen accused of being Carolina Panthers' locker room mole

Offensive line coach James Campen was inevitably let go. The protection was nothing short of woeful last season. Injuries exposed a complete lack of genuine depth - especially on the interior - which didn't help. A recent report also suggested the recently fired individual was a locker room mole for Tepper during his two years with the franchise.

According to Tony Pauline from Sportskeeda citing unnamed sources, Campen was seen as someone who'd quickly inform Tepper about the goings on with the locker room. This impacted his ability to mold a cohesive unit and left everyone treading on proverbial eggshells.

"On Friday, the Carolina Panthers fired offensive line coach James Campen, who had been with the team since 2022. The team’s offensive line struggled and could not protect Bryce Young, the first pick of the 2023 NFL Draft. Many of Carolina’s blockers have not met expectations. I’m also told Campen made a few enemies within the organization, as he was the eyes and ears for owner David Tepper in the locker room. In fact, sources at Shrine practice Saturday told me that Tepper had more than a few people in the locker room who would report back to him on the goings on, which destroyed team chemistry."

Tony Pauline, Sportskeeda

While we'll never find out for sure, the fact Campen became surplus to requirements quickly once Canales was hired speaks volumes. It's not like his player development was much good in 2023. If he was also running to Tepper in a traitorous manner, it completely broke the trust of his players.

Whether it's The Traitors or Carolina's operation being compared to the Hunger Games during a report from Joe Person and Dianna Russini of The Athletic, it all stinks. Thankfully, it might also be a thing of the past.

Canales is focused on bringing in coaches he's worked with previously and more importantly, can trust fully. This should limit the alleged tales being sent to Tepper. The fact Carolina is also adopting a model successfully implemented by the two teams in this year's Super Bowl is another sign things are heading in a more positive direction.

Campen is held in high regard around the NFL and should find work quickly if he's interested. But if he was a bad apple - one willing to risk losing the players' respect by going behind their back to speak with Carolina's incompetent owner - it's unlikely there will be many tears shed regarding his enforced departure.