If we were being nitpicky, we’d point out that the stadium deal – which puts the taxpayers on the hook for $87 million – never precisely spells out how the Panthers are going to use the money.
If we were being small-minded, we’d admit that it’s a wonderful thing to be among the ranks of NFL cities, but being a professional-grade doormat is not the civic image we wish to project.
If we were being indelicate, we’d ask whether anyone on game day was ever overhead sputtering, “I can’t freakin’ believe this temple to athleticism has no escalator!”
If we were being censorious, we’d complain that batting around the idea of a tax increase behind closed doors is outrageous.
If we were being waspish, we’d point out that the clause graciously granting us the right to ask a judge for an injunction to stop the Panthers from moving provides scant comfort.
If we were being surly, we’d argue that for that kind of money, we ought to get more than a six-year commitment from the team to hang around.
If we were being cantankerous, we’d inquire why the powerful legislature wouldn’t kick in a penny, even though it managed to find $10 million to help out back when Raleigh wanted to build an arena in a cow pasture at the edge of town.
If we were being grumpy, we’d mutter that if Los Angeles wanted a football team, there are plenty of other cities to go shop for one, and they’d be wise to start their search by thumbing through candidates in Florida.
If we were being ungenerous, we’d seethe that surely a city as sophisticated as Charlotte could have cut a better deal all around.
But we’re none of those things.
No, we’re just being charitable when we say that when the next giveaway is negotiated – which is in roughly 300 weeks – that it must be handled much, much better than this one.
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