SBD/January 7, 2011/Franchises

Panthers' Jerry Richardson Apologizes For Press Conference

Richardson wants fans to be more patient with Panthers coming off a 2-14 season

NFL Panthers Owner Jerry Richardson Thursday made it a point "to apologize" for his press conference on Tuesday, according to a front-page piece by Tommy Tomlinson of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. Richardson wanted to respond to criticism surrounding the "uncomfortable-to-watch news conference." He said, "It was not my intention to be rude, or disrespectful, or not answer questions.” Richardson noted as of Thursday morning, he had received 11 e-mails from fans, and “10 were glowing.” The owner admitted that he "understands fans are frustrated with the Panthers’ 2-14 season,” but said that “fans should take a longer view.” Richardson: “We’ve only been in (the NFL) a short while. We haven’t been in the league 75 years like the Pittsburgh Steelers. Our fan base is young. They don’t know the up-and-down cycles.” Tomlinson notes fans also have “complained about ticket prices.” The Panthers “won’t raise prices next season, but last season prices went up between $1 and $9 per seat.” Richardson said, “They’re ticked off about the ticket price. The ticket price increase was so modest, it surprised me.” Richardson Thursday also addressed turnover in the organization, specifically his decision two years ago to fire his sons, Jon and Mark. Richardson said, “Sometimes it’s difficult for families to operate well in business together. I have other partners. I can’t run the business the way I’d run it if it was a father-and-son business” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 1/7).

DON'T TAKE IT PERSONALLY: Stanford QB Andrew Luck, the favorite to be the Panthers' No. 1 selection in April's NFL Draft, has decided to return to school next season, and in Charlotte, Scott Fowler wrote this "was totally out" of the Panthers' control. Luck's father, West Virginia AD Oliver Luck, said the Panthers owning the top pick in the draft had "absolutely nothing to do with this decision." Fowler: "Richardson's news conference Tuesday, the Panthers' horrible 2010 season -- none of it mattered" (, 1/6). Oliver Luck said, “Even the collective-bargaining agreement issue and the lockout -- I don't think it had any effect. I'm a lawyer (as well as a former NFL quarterback), and I followed all the CBA stuff. I'm well-versed in it. I told Andrew all the basics. He listened. And I don't think it ultimately mattered” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 1/7).

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