CHARLOTTE, NC (Mark Price/The Charlotte Observer) - Rapper Sean "Diddy" Combs was serious about trying to buy the Carolina Panthers and is meeting with potential investors in hopes of "shaping a prospective ownership group," reports Yahoo! Sports, citing multiple sources.
The deal will involve controversial former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, says Charles Robinson, the NFL columnist for Yahoo! Sports.
Combs said on Sunday that he hoped to purchase an NFL team shortly after Panthers owner Jerry Richardson announced he would put his share of the franchise up for sale at the end of the season. It was widely believed Diddy wasn't serious, particularly after Kaepernick suggested via Twitter that the two could partner on the bid.
However, Kaepernick has already begun reaching out to a handful of business leaders, venture capitalists and sports icons to discuss an ownership group, said Yahoo! Sports. The site said Combs and Kaepernick have a "shared vision" about creating an ownership group that more closely represents the racial makeup of the league's players, which is about 70 percent African-American.
Diddy has yet to comment on the report, but continues to send out cryptic tweets, one of which featured a black panther walking in slow motion and another that read: "A lot of times people see your dreams as crazy... Don't ever be afraid to dream."
A tweet he sent on Monday said: "ATTN all @NFL owners, it's time for diversity!! It's time for Black ownership!! The time is now. Let's make it happen!!"
"Realistically, Combs has the money to potentially be the controlling partner in any ownership group," reported Sportsnaut.com. this week. "For his part, Kaepernick has the connections to bring on some other big-money partners to make this work. It really isn't an unlikely scenario, at least from those perspectives."
Diddy said earlier this week that his purchase of the Panthers would include giving the unemployed Kaepernick a shot at being quarterback. That sparked social media outrage among fans of current Panthers quarterback Cam Newton.
The news outlet Verdict.Co.UK reports Combs has proven to be an astute businessman, using his global fan base to develop and sell a range of products. As a result, P Diddy remains the world's richest hip hop star with an estimated net worth of $820 million, the news site said.
ESPN.com says Richardson's sale of the Panthers is "good news for NFL business," because it is an opportunity for the league to set a new benchmark for the value of its teams.
NFL franchises are rarely sold, and the interest among potential owners is likely to be high. The Panthers are worth an estimated $2.3 billion, and a sale could plunge Charlotte into uncertainty: The new owners would not be bound to stay in the city long-term. A "tether" tying the team to Charlotte in exchange for stadium improvements funded by the city runs only through June 2019.
The Panthers have a large group of local owners who hold smaller stakes in the team, in addition to Richardson, and it's possible that some of them could band together and buy the team. Or the Panthers might find a totally new owner, such as local auto racing tycoon Bruton Smith and his family.