Diddy Wants To Buy Carolina Panthers, Sign Colin Kaepernick, Steph Curry Wants In

Written by Dana Sanchez

Hip-hop artist and entrepreneur Sean “Diddy” Combs is worth an estimated $820 million, but that may not be enough to buy the NFL Carolina Panthers team from its biggest owner.

The team’s controlling owner, Jerry Richardson, announced that he would sell his 48-percent stake when the season ends after Sports Illustrated reported on alleged sexual harassment and accusations that Richardson used a racial slur.

The Panthers are valued at $2.3 billion, according to Forbes. Teams often sell for more than their estimated worth, New York Times reported.

Diddy announced his desire to buy the team Sunday night on Twitter in a video statement, saying none of the NFL’s controlling owners were African American. “Let’s make history,” he said in the tweet.

Golden State Warriors NBA star Stephen Curry responded on Twitter, saying he wanted to be part of Diddy’s ownership group. Curry grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina, and is a Panthers fan, Business Insider reported. Curry has the financial muscle of a $200-million-plus contract signed in the off-season.

In his video statement, Diddy said as Carolina Panthers owner he’d “immediately address” the contentious decision by NFL teams not to sign quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Diddy said he’d give Kaepernick a job with the Panthers.

In August, 2016, Kaepernick sat on the bench while the national anthem played during a preseason game for the San Francisco 49ers. He told the media he chose to sit to protest police brutality and the oppression of people of color in the U.S. It cost him his job.

Kaepernick has since been suggested as a candidate for a Nobel Peace Prize.

As Carolina Panthers owner, Diddy said he’s have “the best halftime show, the best selection of music,” and added, “and we’re going to win the Super Bowl.”

In several Tweets, Diddy reiterated that he would become the only African American owner in the league.

“The Kaepernick controversy won’t endear him to the other owners, who want that whole issue to go
away,” NYT reported.

(Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

The NFL has changed its ownership rules in recent years, according to Forbes. A single incoming owner must control at least 30 percent of the team’s equity, so that means one person must write a check for a minimum of $600 million if they want to be the controlling owner.

“The N.F.L. leans toward the single owner, or at least single family, model,” NYT reported. “A multiple-member ownership group without one dominant owner would not be likely to fly.”

Diddy has spoken publicly before about his dream of owning an NFL team. He’s been talking about starting a new league. The NFL needs new ownership if it hopes to remain relevant, Kwame Som-Pimpong wrote in a recent Moguldom report.

“The NFL is potentially at the beginning of a downward spiral,” Som-Pimpong said. “We won’t see meaningful movement in changing the NFL’s structural issues unless there are significantly more different worldviews among the ownership of the league … There are a number of individuals who could put together some really interesting ownership groups.”

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Forbes identified a dozen potential buyers for the Carolina Panthers that Diddy and Combs may have to compete with. These include:

  • Current Panthers owners the Belk family, who own about 5 percent of the team. They sold their department store chain in 2015 for about $2.7 billion.
  • The Levine family, who own 10 percent of the team. Leon Levine founded Family Dollar in 1959 and sold it to Dollar Tree in 2015 for $9.1 billion. The Levines are major philanthropists in North Carolina.
  • Steve and Jerry Wordsworth, the biggest minority shareholders of the team, own an estimated 16 percent. They sold Meadowbrook Meat Company to Berkshire Hathaway’s McLane Company in 2012.
  • North Carolina local James Goodnight, co-founder of analytics software firm SAS, is North Carolina’s richest resident at $9.9 billion.He’s 74 and could write the check for the Panthers easier than anyone else from North Carolina, Forbes reported.
  • John Sall co-founded SAS with Goodnight. He’s North Carolina’s second richest resident.
  • Michael Jordan is worth an estimated $1.4 billion, with roughly $600 million of his net worth tied up in his 90 percent stake in the Charlotte Hornets.
  • Mark Cuban: The Dallas Mavericks owner and “Shark Tank” investor is worth $3.3 billion and willing to spend on players.
  • Jeff Bezos: The Amazon founder is now the richest person on Earth at $99.8 billion as of Monday morning. Bezos has not expressed interest in buying a pro sports team but has made outside-the-box investments like his purchase of the Washington Post.
  • David Tepper: The hedge fund titan owns a 5 percent stake in the Pittsburgh Steelers and has an $11 billion net worth.

So far, Diddy is the biggest name to emerge, NYT reported.

If Richardson’s controlling stake is unchanged, his initial investment of about $70 million could net him around $1.1 billion, Business Insider reported.