Tom Sorensen

Panthers owner Jerry Richardson’s silence leaves a void, but he doesn’t care

Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson’s relative silence with the media leaves a void, but he doesn’t care.
Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson’s relative silence with the media leaves a void, but he doesn’t care. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Colleague and friend Scott Fowler wrote a strong column about Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, and why he owes fans an explanation for the firing of Dave Gettleman.

With Gettleman gone, all the Panthers lack is a general manager, an assistant general manager and a president. Aside from that …

I disagree with Scott, however. Although I’d love to hear an explanation, I don’t think Richardson owes fans one. If he does hold a news conference, I hope he brings Charlotte Hornets’ owner Michael Jordan with him. Collect the whole set.

Richardson and I have talked many, many times. I know where he likes to eat lunch. I know where to park when I drive to his house (same place whether my car has been washed or not). I know about his famous grandfather clock and the nearby chair in which players, coaches and administrators have to sit when they’ve been bad. Listen to the clock and you want to confess even if you didn’t do anything.

Maybe Richardson will speak to me. Maybe he’ll speak to somebody else. Probably he won’t speak to anybody.

The danger is that because we don’t know why Gettleman was jettisoned, the void will be filled with speculation and retractable facts.

Firing Gettleman on the cusp of camp is bizarre. But next week the team gathers in Spartanburg, the hitting begins and the story that shook fans will quietly go away.

As long as the Panthers win, it will stay there.

Tom Sorensen is a retired Charlotte Observer columnist. Sign up for his newsletter, and follow him on Twitter: @tomsorensen

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