With age comes a tremendous amount of wisdom, and with that respect, acceptance and value to your younger peers.
I know this because every time I step aboard a USAirways flight I take a peek in the cockpit, and I always travel easier knowing the guy in the left seat has a good bit of gray hair. Think Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger.
I like that in a commercial airline pilot and I like that in a NFL team owner.
With age also comes the ability to get away with things that you wouldn’t have in your younger days. So it should come as no surprise that Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson was more interested in a couple of hot female reporters than conducting a press conference. It’s his show he can do what he likes.
“I want Morgan Fogarty to sit up front so I can abuse her like she has abused me” was one of many slightly off point comments made by the Panther’s majority owner.
If I tried such behavior, I’d be shot down faster than a Brett Favre text message. But for Jerry Richardson who also had his eye on Nicole Darin from WBTV it was all fair game, and no one including Morgan and Nicole seemed to object.
What troubled me was Jerry looked good but sounded out of sorts. I’m not a sports writer, but I know when a pitcher is having an off night. Things were just not clicking with Jerry Richardson and I don’t know why. He knows the numbers, inside and out. In fact it was the numbers he retreated to many times during the hour long meeting. But the “Big Cat” was not the same man we once knew.
Years ago I’d run into Jerry and Mark Richardson at their offices on Roxborough Road near SouthPark. They were often at the restaurant on the first floor called La Bibliothèque. Jerry was always on his “A” game and he pitched his PSLs to anyone who would listen. Back in the day he was quick and sharp and always very personable.
He promised not only an NFL team but one that would take Charlotte to the Super Bowl. Jerry delivered and I have the limited edition ball to prove it.
This is the Jerry Richardson I remember. Watch for it at +50 seconds.
Today, there were moments of extreme clarity and yet moments were the press gaggle held their collective breath. Maybe it was just the long absence that made it noticeable. His lengthy pauses and rambling loopy conversations that seemed to be directed to no one in particular, caught the attention of several reporters who were in attendance.
We have come a long way from 1995 but Jerry Richardson it seems has taken the past two year’s criticism personally and I think it shows. He’s endured more than a heart transplant, he’s endured two years of self doubt and it has taken a big toll.
The 40 minute event didn't go badly and it didn't go well. I expect that after reading the press reports it might be another long dry spell before Jerry Richardson openly talks to the media.
So rather than throwing punches his way maybe its time we tell the “Big Cat” Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!
And that we too are looking forward to next season.
Check out Rick Bonnell's take on the presser here and Tommy Tomlinson's here.