A group of Panthers fans has a suggestion for who should be the next addition to the team’s Hall of Honor, and they’re letting their thoughts be known in a public way.
Members of the Panthers Poundcast, a fan-made YouTube show, rented billboard space in Charlotte to call on the team to give the honor to Steve Smith Sr., who last played for the Panthers in 2013.
The electronic billboard went on display Wednesday on Interstate 77 near Tyvola Road, said Alex Helms, a member of the show. In a direct message to new Panthers owner David Tepper, the sign states, “Steve Smith Sr Ring of Honor 2019.”
“We’re going to keep it up there as long as we can,” said Helms, who bought the billboard time earlier this week with show members Mike Plowman and Carlos Brichaux.
Smith, who played 13 years with the Panthers, was cut from the team in 2014 in a move that strained his relationship with former team general manager Dave Gettleman.
When Gettleman was fired by the Panthers last year, Smith sent a parting shot on Twitter, the Observer reported at the time.
“It’s Okay! Dave I know how you feel....,” the now-deleted tweet said.
For Helms, it stung to no longer have Smith on the team.
“Not to sound dramatic, but it was like having a best friend move away,” Helms said.
The group hopes their billboard catches the eye of Panthers leadership. The message is shown during rush hour, Helms said. It costs about $30 a day to have the sign, and the group has created a GoFundMe to seek donations to keep it on display.
Only one player is actually in the Panthers’ Hall of Honor: Sam Mills who created the team’s “Keep Pounding” motto. Former team president Mike McCormack and PSL holders are also honored.