Fractured relationships send Carolina Panthers owner to the fringes

The billionaire's reputation could damage the Carolina Panthers' ambitious plans.
David Tepper
David Tepper / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Panthers descended into chaos under David Tepper's ownership. He harbored big ambitions to turn the organization into an industry leader after buying the franchise from Jerry Richardson. It's been nothing but a downward spiral to rock bottom ever since.

Tepper's not covered himself in glory. From the Rock Hill debacle to meddling in football matters and throwing drinks over fans, it's been one embarrassment after another. Thankfully, one of the worst seasons in team history last time around finally led to a change in approach.

The Panthers are doing things differently under another new regime. There is more professionalism with Dan Morgan and Brandt Tilis leading the front office. Dave Canales is a progressive young head coach with the inner drive needed to get this once-proud franchise back among the contenders. More importantly, Tepper is staying in the shadows.

Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper is finally taking a back seat

This is something Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer stated doesn't just apply to the football operation. The respected columnist revealed that the Panthers' quest for public funding is also seeing others take the lead thanks to Tepper's fractured relationships with some in positions of power throughout the state.

"It has been wise for [David] Tepper to stay in the background and let the executive team directly under him be the faces of this proposal. Tepper has gotten a lot of advice — including in this corner — to stay out of the fray more often because he's hurt himself and his reputation in Charlotte several times when he wades in. Let the coaches coach and the GMs draft. Let the team execs do the stadium deal. He's doing all that now, for the moment, and the proposal likely has a better chance to pass because of it."

Scott Fowler via The Bleacher Report

It's a testament to how poorly Tepper's conducted business since taking charge. It's also a sign that he's willing to listen and change. People are giving him advice and he's adhering to their concerns. There is a long road ahead, but this is arguably the most encouraging element of his ownership tenure so far.

The Panthers are asking a lot from the community. Around $650 million, to be precise. This is the number Tepper wants from public funds to assist with his state-of-the-art renovations of Bank of America Stadium. Something that would ensure the team stays in Charlotte for the next 15 years at least.

Tepper craved the spotlight for so long. He desperately wanted to get his hands on an NFL franchise. But as the hedge fund manager found out to his cost, it takes a lot more than just owning the deeds to command respect in league circles.

People employed by Tepper are being paid a lot of money. They are experts in their respective fields. Allowing them to do their jobs and taking their counsel is only going to serve him and the Panthers well moving forward.

After all, it's not like Tepper's hands-on approach came with anything other than abject failure. This newfound ethos across the franchise might just turn the tide at long last.