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Sibling Strife Reportedly Led To Sudden Panthers Resignations
Published September 2, 2009
|Mark's (l) Resignation Seen As
Bigger Surprise Than Jon's (r)
FAMILY MATTERS: In Charlotte, Scott Fowler notes Mark had "been groomed as Jerry Richardson's heir apparent as No. 1 on the Panthers' organizational chart for years," and his resignation is the "one that absolutely has stunned the Panthers' staff." Jon's decision is "mostly lifestyle-related." Though his health is "OK for now, the long battle with cancer has taken a toll" and he "wants to have more time to enjoy life." But Mark's departure "was the shocker," and who eventually assumes Jerry's role as controlling owner is "one of the biggest questions about this announcement." But Fowler writes there is "no doubt that patriarch Jerry Richardson," who underwent heart transplant surgery in February, has "re-asserted himself" in the organization. The Panthers' press release "gave no real reason for why this was happening," so it appears as if there could be "some serious internal discontent" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 9/2). Also in Charlotte, Tom Sorensen notes nothing Mark or Jon "ever did or said indicated they were dissatisfied or frustrated with their jobs." But sources said that there was "acrimony between Jon and Mark and had been before the stadium was even built." Sorensen writes Jerry Richardson "does not make a decision without considering what comes next," so he "undoubtedly knows who his successor will be." The Panthers reiterated yesterday that Jerry "will neither move nor sell the team." Sorensen: "There is no chance. And even though his sons are gone, the Panthers remain his legacy" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 9/2).
TOP CAT: Panthers investor Johnny Harris said that Jerry in an address to the team's investors yesterday morning was "committed to the Panthers future in Charlotte and appeared to be 'strong as a bear' and well on his way to a full recovery" after his heart surgery. Harris: "The thing that surprised me was how invigorated he was. He was committed to dealing with this operations change. ... It's pretty clear that the Big Cat is feeling good and is back in charge." Harris noted that Richardson "still plans on heading up" a new CBA between the NFL and NFLPA, adding that the "challenge ahead, proceeding without his sons involved in the day-to-day operations of the team, seems to have reinvigorated" Richardson (GASTON GAZETTE, 9/2). Panthers WR Muhsin Muhammad said, "We all have complete trust and faith in Mr. Richardson's ability to own this organization, put good people in place and run it" (WSOC-ABC, 9/1). But in South Carolina, Darin Gantt writes a "line of succession needs to be in place, even though Richardson's doing well as he recovers from his transplant surgery" (ROCK HILL HERALD, 9/2).