Grass turf has been installed at Bank of America Stadium, but it's unlikely to remain for the Carolina Panthers once this weekend's soccer concludes.
There seems to be no trouble with David Tepper and the Carolina Panthers accommodating other sporting teams with grass at Bank of America Stadium. The red (or green) carpet is being rolled out for two international soccer fixtures this weekend, which includes a fresh makeover to the often-maligned artificial surface that's been the cause of great debate among fans and players alike in recent months.
The turf's condition came in for severe criticism following the Panthers' win over the Detroit Lions on Christmas Eve. It was lambasted by players from both sides and the NFLPA, who deemed it unfit for purpose and something that must be improved at the earliest possible opportunity.
Senior figures such as Shaq Thompson have made no secret of their desire for the Panthers to switch back to their once-proud grass surface. This is more costly in terms of upkeep but is far more forgiving than an artificial turf playing field.
David Tepper can continue Carolina Panthers redemption arc with grass surface
Tepper's done a lot of good things this offseason. Pulling the plug on his costly Matt Rhule experiment was the start of a notable redemption arc that's seen a complete shift in culture and professionalism behind the scenes, matched by improved collaboration and a real sense of trust between those in positions of power.
One could even make a strong claim that Tepper is winning back the good graces of fans all things considered. There's still a long way to go and nothing has been proven on the field as yet, but the foundations for future accomplishments are being laid brick by brick after a turbulent start to his ownership.
Another way Tepper can get an easy win is by making a permanent return to grass. Whether this is in keeping with his desire for Bank of America Stadium to be utilized as an entertainment venue or not is another matter.
As stated previously, this costs a lot to maintain - especially considering Charlotte FC also uses the stadium for competitive matches. However, for a man with a real-time net worth of $18.5 billion according to Forbes, it'll be a small drop in the ocean.
Thompson is respected enough to speak for the entire locker room. And the former first-round selection didn't mix his words about the matter when speaking during the 2022 season via David Newton of ESPN following the NFLPA's official complaint.
"It's probably going to take all of us to stop going to practice until we get grass. I mean, they make enough money off of us to maintain grass. I hate to say this, but with our last owner [Jerry Richardson], we had grass. … Listen to your players. We want grass."- Shaq Thompson via ESPN
Listening to the fans. Listening to the players. That seems like the best course of action for Tepper considering he's more than able to switch surfaces if a luxury like the USMNT comes calling.
This all comes down to priorities. Does Tepper want the Panthers to be a legitimate contender on the field on a surface that plays to their strengths, or would he prefer the extra revenue coming from concerts and other non-football-related events?
If that's the case, don't be surprised if these latest calls fall on deaf ears once again.