After months of speculation, David Tepper is finally closing in on a prize he has coveted for most of his career: Being the majority owner of an NFL franchise.
According to the Washington Post, as long as at least two-thirds of league owners cast their votes to approve the deal during a meeting in Atlanta next week, Tepper, who is currently a minority partner in the Pittsburgh Steelers, will take over ownership of the Carolina Panthers from Jerry Richardson, a former NFL player who has owned the team since 1993, when he was awarded the NFL's 29th franchise. WaPo says the final details are still being hammered out, but the deal is very close to being finished.
Richardson promised to sell the team late last year after Sports Illustrated published an expose citing multiple alleged incidences of workplace misconduct. Four former Panthers employees who had negative encounters with Richardson spoke with SI for the piece. The league launched an investigation into his conduct soon after the story broke.
Tepper, who has been the front-runner since shortly after Jerry Richardson announced he'd be selling the team late last year after Sports Illustrated published a story about multiple incidences of workplace misconduct, in part because Richardson believes Tepper will keep the team in Charlotte. The story also included details about an incident where Richardson reportedly used a racial slur directed at an employee.
According to the Washington Post, the rumored sales price - a staggering $2.2 billion - would be the highest ever paid for an NFL franchise. In fact, it's more than the $1.4 billion paid for the Buffalo Bills in 2014.
The NBA's Houston Rockets were bought by Tilman Fertitta for $2.2 billion last year.
Of course, this news is hardly a surprise: Rumors about Tepper's interest started circulating shortly after Richardson put the team up for sale.
However, we can't help but wonder: Given Tepper's noted antipathy toward President Trump, one can't help but wonder: Would he be the first NFL owner to explicitly encourage players to kneel for the anthem?