After drafting former Heisman trophy winner Cam Newton out of Auburn back in 2011, the Carolina Panthers were able to drastically turn around the franchise with the rookie quarterback singlehandedly leading the team back into playoff contention in the NFC.
Although the Panthers failed to make the playoffs in Newton’s rookie season, the struggling NFL franchise appeared to be on the verge of finally breaking out of their funk and becoming one of the more entertaining teams in the league with Newton leading the way.
Apparently, the Panthers newfound success and promising future hasn’t come without an enormous profit and a price for keeping the earning secret.
According to Deadspin.com, Carolina has been holding out on disclosing the team’s profits during the 2010 and 2011 seasons while claiming hardship during the NFL lockout:
Meanwhile, according to an audited financial statement obtained by Deadspin, Richardson’s Panthers were making more than $100 million in profit over the fiscal years covering those two seasons.
The exact number of profit earned in the two years was $112 million. Not exactly a team dealing with problems despite being one of the worst teams in the NFL in 2010.
Owner Jerry Richardson will almost certainly take a lot of heat for the leaked documents discovered by Deadspin with the owner lobbying for funds to help renovate Bank of America Stadium.
The Panthers franchise definitely have taken a step back with this report being leaked. As Darin Gantt of Pro Football Talk chimed in about the situation with a statement that basically wraps it up:
But the documents that show rich people getting rich only add fuel to the fire of public opinion, and will make it harder for them to convince people to share their money, even if they’re not necessarily making more than any other team in the league.
It’ll be interesting to see the outcome of these documents being leaked and whether or not it’ll have a considerable impact on the team moving forward. The Panthers are coming off a disappointing 2012 season in which the team was unable to repeat the success of 2011, and this situation may make things worse in terms of trying to get back on track next season with the added distraction and negative attention.