Jerry Richardson riot reaction “damn near criminal”?

While Charlotteans work to resolve the challenges faced this week in their city, at least a few outsiders are asking why the Carolina Panthers, and specifically Jerry Richardson, have not done more. David Steele of Sporting News has given a scathing review of how Jerry Richardson and the Carolina Panthers have handled the protests and riots in Uptown Charlotte.

“Maybe the Panthers organization — and specifically the owner, Jerry Richardson — thinks this ostrich impersonation they’re pulling off in the midst of police killings, protests, looting, conflict and fear, is the only path to take.”

“It’s so wrong, it’s damn near criminal.

Wait, what?

Steele then compares how Orioles handled the Baltimore riots 17 months ago to what the Carolina Panthers have done this week. You know, because Charlotte residents just love hearing about how other cities do things. According to Steele’s bio, he spent time as a writer for the Baltimore Sun, so I assume he knows what he is talking about in terms of Baltimore. However, it is clear he doesn’t know much about Charlotte or Jerry Richardson.

I have sent the last 72 hours engaged with countless Charlotte residents, talking about the shooting, protests, riots, and the underlying causes of them. Charlotteans are looking to their government leaders for answers. They are anxious to hear from Charlotte’s police chief on what is being done. Not a single one has wanted to know “What is Jerry Richardson doing about it?” Such a strange question. For someone to ask that, they would probably have an axe to grind to begin with.

Steele goes on to say “For the most part, the Panthers are just a team, and Richardson is just a rich guy with an office in town and a suite at the stadium.”

Nevermind that Jerry Richardson recently donated $250,000 in scholarship money to Johnson C Smith University for those who could not otherwise afford tuition.

Nevermind that Jerry Richardson also quietly donated $100,000 to the families of the Charleston church shooting.

Describing Jerry Richardson as “just a rich guy” does not reveal much truth about Richardson. It does, however, reveal the preconceived notions and biases of the writer.

Jeremy Igo is owner of Carolina Huddle. Based in Charlotte, he has covered the Carolina Panthers for over a decade.