Report: Diddy to Meet Investors over Panthers Bid; Colin Kaepernick Involved

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistDecember 19, 2017

Sean Combs attends the Forbes 100th Anniversary Gala at Pier Sixty on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP)
Andy Kropa/Associated Press

Sean "Diddy" Combs is "moving to set meetings with potential investors in hopes of shaping a prospective ownership group" with the intent of potentially buying the Carolina Panthers, according to Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports. 

Combs has also consulted with quarterback Colin Kaepernick, per Robinson:

"According to a source close to the quarterback, Kaepernick has already begun reaching out to a handful of business leaders, venture capitalists and sports icons to discuss an ownership group. The source close to Kaepernick said the quarterback had a 'shared vision' with Combs about creating an ownership group that more closely represents the racial makeup of the league’s players, which is about 70 percent African-American. To date, the NFL has never had an African-American majority owner."

Combs' interest comes in the wake of current owner Jerry Richardson stepping down from running the day-to-day operations and announcing he would sell the team after the 2017 season following sexual harassment allegations. Richardson has also been accused of directing a racial slur toward an African-American scout.

A report from L. Jon Wertheim and Viv Bernstein of SI.com discovered that the owner reportedly reached confidential financial settlements regarding these allegations with at least four Panthers employees that included "non-disclosure and non-disparagement clauses," essentially amounting to payments in exchange for a "vow of silence."

Tina Becker, a Panthers employee for over 20 years, has taken over as the team's chief operating officer.

While Combs doesn't have the financial means to buy the Panthers on his own—Forbes put his net worth at $820 million, as Robinson noted, while Richardson's 48 percent share of the Panthers is likely worth in the neighborhood of $1.2 billion—the possibility of Combs headlining an ownership group is certainly feasible. 

And as Robinson noted, that's why working with Kaepernick is ideal for Combs. As he wrote, "If the sales pitch is to create the league’s most diverse ownership group of an NFL franchise, that is something that is certain to draw ears. And the reality is despite Kaepernick’s existence as a lightning rod among fans or even NFL owners, he and Combs have the profile to get the attention of high-profile minority investors they may seek."

Alongside Kaepernick, Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry also seemingly expressed interest in a Combs' ownership:

Combs' original comments regarding his desire to buy the Panthers were harshly mocked by one reporter, and some of the potential plans for the team he expressed in an Instagram video—like signing Kaepernick to compete for the starting job with 2015 MVP Cam Newton and putting a greater emphasis on the halftime show—could be seen as unorthodox: 

Nonetheless, Combs and Kaepernick have a very real desire to at least explore the possibility.

"The interest is real and it’s moving forward," a source told Robinson. "They want to make this a reality. It’s serious."

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