Commentary

Carolina Panthers owner defends kneeling players, blasts Trump

David Tepper – Image: Wikipedia

It was already apparent that the Carolina Panthers NFL team had accomplished a major upgrade in team ownership earlier this year when Pittsburgh billionaire David Tepper bought the team from fast food mogul/troubled and dirty old man Jerry Richardson, who made racist comments and sexual harassment a part of front office culture for many years. Now there’s additional evidence that Tepper is a true breath of fresh air in the Queen City. This is from a story this morning in the Charlotte Observer (“David Tepper: It’s ‘dead wrong’ to accuse protesting NFL players of being unpatriotic”) about an interview Tepper gave to CNBC:

New Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper said it’s “dead wrong” to accuse NFL players of being unpatriotic should they choose to protest during the national anthem.

In an interview with CNBC’s Scott Wapner Thursday in Pittsburgh, Tepper was careful not to mention outright the name of President Donald Trump, who routinely slams NFL players who protest police brutality and racism during the national anthem. Kneeling during the anthem is a practice started by former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick at the start of the 2016 season.

“It’s the biggest pile of bull-dingy ever. These are some of the most patriotic people and best people. These are great young men,” Tepper told CNBC. “It just makes me so aggravated and angry. OK? It’s just wrong. It’s just dead wrong.”

People should focus on what NFL players do in the community instead of what they do during the national anthem, Tepper added….

In the past, Tepper has been, as Wapner noted, “exceptionally critical” of Trump.

Before the 2016 election, for instance, Tepper slammed then-candidate Trump for failing to donate to relief efforts after disasters that struck New York, including 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy, despite claims by Melania Trump that her husband is generous. “Trump masquerades as an angel of light, but he is the father of lies,” Tepper told CNBC at the time.

In the interview Thursday at Carnegie Mellon University with CNBC, on the new quad that bears Tepper’s name, Warpner tried several times to steer Tepper back into talking about the national anthem, which Warner, said “everybody is talking about.”

Tepper responded that there’s “a red-headed guy in D.C. that likes to talk about it. But I don’t want to mention his name right now.” Wapner pressed the issue further, coaxing Tepper with “everybody knows who you’re talking about.”

“Well I don’t know — Howdy Doody, who is that?”

Tepper went on to note that “justice for all,” is what fans should be focusing on.

Go Dave – give ’em heck!

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