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The Carolina Panthers’ Screw Job Of South Carolina Is Complete

But David Tepper’s screw job of the Panthers is ongoing …

The mantra of the Carolina Panthers has always been “two states, one team.” Until now, anyway. In the aftermath of an aborted attempt to move its headquarters to Rock Hill, South Carolina, the decidedly North Carolina-based franchise has now completed its screw-over of the Palmetto State – announcing the pending relocation of its practice facilities from Spartanburg, S.C. to Charlotte, N.C.

For the past twenty-eight years, the Panthers have held their training camp at Wofford College in Spartanburg. Beginning in 2024, however, the team will move its training camp to the Queen City.

“We’re excited to hold training camp at our facility in Charlotte,” a team executive announced in a news release last week. “We appreciate Wofford and the Spartanburg community for their hospitality over the years. We are dedicated to the fans in South Carolina, and we will continue to bring fan and community events to the state.”

Wait … dedicated to the fans of South Carolina?

Could have fooled us …

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Panthers’ owner David Tepper – a liberal, billionaire hedge fund manager – agreed to move the team’s corporate headquarters (and practice facility) to Rock Hill in 2019, a deal hailed as the signature economic development of S.C. governor Henry McMaster. The agreement collapsed, however, and in 2022 Tepper’s holding company filed for bankruptcy in Delaware.

Our media outlet opposed that deal from the beginning.

“This is a bad deal. Period,” I wrote in March of 2019. “South Carolina should pass on the Panthers … and tell Tepper that while he is welcome to locate in the Palmetto State, he is not going to get paid to bring (his team) here.”

There is still an ongoing criminal investigation into this botched “economic development” debacle. As for the complex itself, it was demolished four-and-a-half months ago – leaving a vacant 245-acre lot and a bunch of angry local politicians and developers.

Speaking of angry politicians, Tepper’s latest move drew a sharp rebuke from South Carolina congressman William Timmons.

“The Panthers have spent their summers in Spartanburg since their inception in 1995 allowing children and sports fans alike to meet their favorite players,” Timmons wrote on X. “David Tepper has fumbled once again, this time alienating South Carolina from the ‘Carolina’ Panthers. So much for two states one team.”

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RELATED | THE DAVID TEPPER DISASTER CONTINUES

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Timmons is correct … Tepper has shredded any sense of loyalty South Carolina fans may have previously felt for this franchise. He’s also shredded the Panthers’ competitiveness as a franchise.

After Sunday’s embarrassing 28-6 defeat at the hands of the New Orleans Saints, the Panthers are an abysmal 30-65 (.315) since Tepper took the reins of the franchise in 2018 – failing to post a winning record or reach the playoffs over that time. By contrast, during the five years prior to Tepper purchasing the team, the Panthers went 54-32-1 (.621) – reaching the playoffs four times and making it to Super Bowl 50.

Tepper shocked the professional football world in January by hiring former Indianapolis Colts’ coach Frank Reich to lead his team (thus initiating his second attempt at a franchise rebuild). Tepper’s controversial decision came despite the fact Panthers’ former defensive coordinator Steve Wilks posted an impressive 6-6 record as interim head coach following the firing of former head coach Matt Rhule on October 10, 2022.

Days after firing Rhule, Tepper offloaded star tailback Christian McCaffrey – who is currently leading the NFL in rushing with 1,177 yards for his new team, the San Francisco 49ers.

In addition to jettisoning McCaffrey, Tepper also decided to mortgage the Panthers’ future on this year’s No. 1 overall draft pick, Bryce Young – the former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback from Alabama. This decision came despite reports suggesting Reich wanted to take Ohio State signal-caller C.J. Stroud with the top pick instead.

(Click to view)

Bryce Young (Panthers)

How’d that decision pan out? Stroud is currently leading the NFL in passing, while Young is one of the lowest-rated passers in the league. His efficiency rating fell to 70.9 following the loss to the Saints, the second-worst mark among qualifying quarterbacks. The diminutive rookie also does not appear to be progressing under center, having been held under 200 passing yards in six consecutive games.

Despite firing Reich last month (after the shortest NFL head coaching stint since Jimmy Carter was in the White House), Tepper is squarely bearing the brunt of fan outrage for the franchise’s free fall – as he should be.

“You may have billions of dollars,” one fan wrote in an open letter to the owner on Carolina Huddle. “You may have succeeded into the stratosphere of the hedge fund industry. You may have every earthly possession you could ever want. But you don’t have what it takes to build a winning football team. You don’t have the respect of the Panthers fan base. In fact, you the full and disgusted disrespect of what is left of the fanbase after witnessing the rotted corpse of what used to be a somewhat enjoyable NFL team to follow.”

“I just moved back to North Carolina after living away for 13 years and I’m shocked at how few Panthers fans remain,” the fan continued. “You really have outdone yourself. You destroyed an albeit emotional yet proud fanbase. Please stop. Hire people more qualified than you to fix the disaster you have created. Sail off on your yacht to Monaco and enjoy an F1 race or something. Go to space. Do something billionaires are good at. Just stop ruining our football team.”

While fans are livid with Tepper for the collapse of the franchise off the field, the Panthers are paying dividends for the owner as an investment. After purchasing the team for $2.3 billion in 2018, the latest valuation of the franchise – conducted in August of this year – came in at $4.1 billion.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

Will Folks (Brett Flashnick)

Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.

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17 comments

Avatar photo
Dr Roberts Top fan December 11, 2023 at 3:50 pm

Thanks Will, among other things, your article answered a question I asked someone a few days ago: “why in the world did the Panthers trade McCaffrey?!” Now I know.

Reply
Billy jack December 11, 2023 at 6:54 pm

You can have the sorry ass mf,they suck anyway,thanks I needed to find another team hideous mf

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Darrell December 12, 2023 at 3:28 pm

Why do you think he is so rich? He knows all the in and outs of making money. Charlotte needs to watch him. He is not a good ole southern boy!

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Henry Howard December 12, 2023 at 7:52 pm

Tepper is killing the team intentionally so as to move (sale) the Panthers to another US city for profit.

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JK December 11, 2023 at 8:06 pm

Tepper is a terrible owner with no patience and a culture of fear from every employee but the plan was for the team HQ and practice facilities to be in Rock Hill. The city of Rock Hill completely blew that deal. If there was better leadership in RH the panthers would be based in SC and play their games in NC.

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Mike Egleston December 11, 2023 at 8:41 pm

While Tepper might know a thing or two about hedge funds, he is way in over his head as far as what it takes to be successful in professional football. When smart people are stupid enough to put themselves in that position, they normally surround themselves with people who are far more intelligent on the task at hand. Either he is just totally ignorant or too much of a narcissist to get out of his own way. I will not attend, donate, or be a part of anything Panther related, and will encourage others to do the same, as long as Tepper is the owner. His true colors have shown me more than any fan should have to put up with. Very, very, sad day for all Panther fans when Tepper bought our beloved team.

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Marvin Smith December 12, 2023 at 7:07 am

If Yepper were a republican this would never happen

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Brian December 11, 2023 at 8:45 pm

I see how you omit the part where the deal with SC fell thru becuz SC politicians didn’t follow thru on their financial end of the legal agreement. I’m not a big Tepper fan, but he didn’t blow this one, SC did

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D December 12, 2023 at 10:10 am

Maybe the politicians didn’t want to waste taxpayer money on a team that sucks

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Brion December 12, 2023 at 3:21 am

Not only did you leave out the part of how Rock Hill and politicians in SC screwed up the deal with the Panthers. But you sure mentioned how Mr Tepper is a Democrat, an impartial reporter would have also mentioned that the politicians in Rock Hill who blew this deal were republican.

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Marvin Smith December 12, 2023 at 7:08 am

Exactly, I don’t see why they mentioned his political affiliation

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Foosball is da debil December 12, 2023 at 8:00 am

Bahahahaha.Just part of another SC legislature fail. Wait till VW and Scout motors bends them over……

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Todd G December 12, 2023 at 12:09 pm

Tepper should sign up for the deep sea navigation to see the Titanic.

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MarkH December 12, 2023 at 3:49 pm

It’s has always been a North Carolina team since the stadium and team is located in Charlotte( thanks Bank of America). No where near SC. This benefits NC tax base not SC. So stop calling them Carolina Panthers it’s North Carolina Panthers. I hope one day there will be a South Carolina team. I’m a 49ners fan anyway.

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J. Gore December 12, 2023 at 2:01 pm

Thank you for this article. I’ve personally watched and rooted for this team ever since the inaugural season. But this year it all come to an end for me. After watching Tepper strip this team of all talent, draft a point guard to play quarterback, force SC legislature to back out on the Rock Hill deal by demanding tax dollars, and now strip the training camp from Spartanburg, I’m officially done as a Panther fan. If only there were some way the two states could oust Tepper. I hope to be a fan again someday but until he’s gone I can’t. So much more on my mind. I could write a book. But I’ll cut it short. This is not the team Jerry built. Done pounding.

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Lucy Smith December 13, 2023 at 11:56 am

Please get a new and better quarterback that don’t play like he is still in college yes he might have been good in college but he is not a good NFL quarterback some of the players are great but I have been watching other teams and you as the owner can choose better and not get rid of the good players I have seen a lot of the good players get replaced by not good players Please bring them back.I want to say I have watched the panthers play since they started I was grateful that the panthers came to Charlotte so has a lot of other fans I know you can make it better for all fans they have had better quarterbacks than young Please make a hard and wise decision get someone better than what’s there.

Reply
Lucy Smith December 13, 2023 at 11:56 am

Please get a new and better quarterback that don’t play like he is still in college yes he might have been good in college but he is not a good NFL quarterback some of the players are great but I have been watching other teams and you as the owner can choose better and not get rid of the good players I have seen a lot of the good players get replaced by not good players Please bring them back.I want to say I have watched the panthers play since they started I was grateful that the panthers came to Charlotte so has a lot of other fans I know you can make it better for all fans they have had better quarterbacks than young Please make a hard and wise decision get someone better than what’s there.

Reply

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