CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The David Tepper era of Carolina Panthers football has officially begun. On Tuesday morning, Tepper met with the media in his first public appearance since the sale of the team finalized on Monday.
In the nearly 30-minute session, Tepper addressed everything from the environment in the workplace to the Panthers on-field product. Over the course of Tepper's time on the podium, there was one word that stuck out from all the rest: family. That's how the second owner in Panthers' history runs his hedge fund business, and that's how he plans on running the Panthers.
"We're a family here, and I want to make sure people understand that," Tepper said. "The family is protected and the family feels safe in here."
The message from Tepper was clear: the workplace environment will be totally different than it was under Richardson. However, one thing that will not change is the Richardson statue located outside of Bank of America Stadium north gate. Tepper revealed today that he is contractually obligated to keep the statue where it is.
One thing Tepper does have the ability to do as the owner is to upgrade the team's stadium and practice facility.
"Winning is important, we can't be less than competitive with other NFL teams," Tepper said. "One of the aspects is that we treat our players right and we don't have any disadvantages to any other teams in the league, so top priority would be thinking about that practice field."
In terms of the team on the field, Tepper believes the community has been blessed with a well-run organization. The Pittsburgh native agrees with a lot of the moves that have been made, including the hire of offensive coordinator Norv Turner. But above all, it's clear Tepper has respect from head coach Ron Rivera.
"Ron is a natural defensive guy... like walking down the street and drinking water natural," Tepper said. "I'm not looking to do too much there (football side of organization), I think we've got some good folks there."
Next up for Tepper and the Panthers is training camp on July 26 at Wofford College.