Panthers asking for it with wild new statue of owner


Panthers asking for it with wild new statue of owner

For reasons that evade, well, reason, the Jerry Richardson statue outside the Carolina Panthers’ stadium has become a matter of much discussion about narcissism, bottom-kissing, legacies and the vanity of powerful people who worry about them.

And all I can think of is all the statues of Joseph Stalin that were eagerly commissioned while he was alive and destroyed with extraordinary zeal within months of his death.

We will not discuss whether having Richardson standing between two panthers (allegedly representing offense and defense, as well as North and South Carolina) is an eyesore. That’s for art majors and the lesser of our nation’s hot-take dealers.

But Richardson’s right to have his pals build him a statue is not in dispute here. You can argue about what he’s done to earn it, and how many hundreds of millions of public dollars contributed both voluntarily and compulsorily made him statue-worthy, but someone wanted him to have this, so he has it.

[NEWS: Panthers owner Richardson receives statue outside stadium]

What is at issue is the more visceral matter of why he would want it at all, knowing what we do with statues and plaques and honoraria, which is “melt them down and do it again as soon as it’s safe to forget the original awardee.”

After all, Stalin shaped global politics for a century with a level of savagery almost unmatched on this planet, scaring those under his thrall to the point where he may have had the most statues commissioned of him in human history.

And as soon as he died, they came down, were melted, and got turned into decorative wrought-iron fencing and smaller statues of less offensive people. His legacy as a mass-murdering bastard kicked the ass right off the statuary, as it should be.

Statues are yesterday’s business, anyway. In a disposable age in which everything can be saved on cellphones (the ultimate diminution of the human experience), a statue is a needless redundancy that serves largely as a shiny bombsight for flocks of geese.

Sports owners think in terms of statues a lot, though, and just a tour around most modern stadiums and arenas will tell you that. Most of them honor players because people are far more attracted to a bronze rendition of Willie Mays hitting a home run whole in a near-genuflect -- it’s the human form at its best -- but a ring of statues is now considered as important to stadium construction as number of bathrooms.

But a metallurgic representation of an owner, even one standing behind animals who in real life would shred the human into delicious bite-sized bits just for amusement is merely a testimonial to the assumption that the owner is as important to the customer as the player, and that is demonstrably false based on this old truth: At no time in human history has anyone ever bought a ticket to a sporting event and asked to be seated as close to the turnstile as possible.

The games and their practitioners are what matter to the people who will admire the statue on a day-to-day basis, not the guy who handled the financing or blackjacked the local government to help get that done.

More to the point, the owner gets paid off in other ways, starting with the pay. The owner gets to name the stadium after himself (or herself, in those cases where a woman owns a team), even though most owners have sought out more money by selling said rights. In fact, Richardson has the stadium at North Carolina-Charlotte named after him, but that wasn’t done at his behest.

Moreover, a statue is a mythical representation of what is being sold inside, and sports are myth. Business is anything but myth, and owners like Richardson who believe they are part of the mythmaking machinery essentially forget or ignore what their assigned role in sports actually is.

Specifically, they get our money, not our hearts.

Richardson is an unusual case here, since he is one of the rare owners who played the sport at the highest level (he was a flanker for two years with the Baltimore Colts of the Johnny Unitas Era), and maybe thinks of himself as a player in his soul.

But he’s not that unusual because all the other players with statues didn’t have the statues put up themselves. He is wearing a suit. He looks like he’s going to a competition committee meeting, and the panthers look like they are there to keep reporters away. Mythologizing that aspect of the endeavor conflates the owner on an equal plane with the players in the hearts and minds of the customers, and that is plainly nonsense.

In short, all the honorifics Jerry Richardson is and has been may well be worthy of can be debated, but a statue is, well, just asking for it.

At some point, owners pass, and Richardson has said that upon his death he wants the team sold outside his family to anyone with the money who will pledge to keep the team in Charlotte.

The solution? Put the statue in Richardson’s office at the stadium, so that the one person most interested in it can admire it all day long, and after he passes, his family can take it with them. Otherwise, the public (and the occasional bird) will make its own determination of the value of the statue, and that can’t be guaranteed.

Just ask Joseph Stalin.

Report: 49ers will play at Packers on Monday Night Football


Report: 49ers will play at Packers on Monday Night Football

We won't know the full 49ers 2018 schedule until 5pm, but we are starting to learn some specifics.

The 49ers will play at the Packers on Oct. 15, according to ESPN's Rob Demovsky.

That will be in prime time on Monday Night Football.

We already know of another prime time game for the 49ers: Thursday, Nov. 1 at home against the Raiders.

San Francisco and Green Bay did not play in 2017 or 2016.

The last meeting between the franchises was on Oct. 4, 2015 -- a 17-3 Packers win at Levi's Stadium.

Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers opened the 2012 season with a 30-22 win at Lambeau Field.

The 49ers then beat the Packers 45-31 in the divisional round of the playoffs.

In 2013, the 49ers beat the Packers in the season opener, 34-28.

Four months later, San Francisco prevailed in a wild card game, 23-20.

Check back at 5pm as 49ers Insider Matt Maiocco will provide analysis and a prediction for every 2018 regular season game...

Source: 49ers vs Raiders scheduled for prime time


Source: 49ers vs Raiders scheduled for prime time

The 49ers and Raiders will meet this season in a prime-time game in Santa Clara.

The Bay Area’s NFL teams are scheduled to meet at Levi's Stadium in Week 9, on Thursday, Nov. 1, at 5:20 p.m., NBC Sports Bay Area’s Scott Bair and Matt Maiocco are reporting via a league source.

The teams last met on Dec. 7, 2014, in Oakland. The Raiders won 24-13. The last regular-season meeting on the 49ers’ home field was Oct. 17, 2010. The 49ers won 17-9 at Candlestick Park.

The Raiders lead the all-time regular-season series, 7-6, with the 49ers winning three of the past four meetings since 2002.

The teams’ preseason series was ended in 2011 after numerous reports of violence in and around Candlestick Park.

The 49ers have hosted Thursday night games in each of the five seasons since the opening of Levi’s Stadium. It will mark the fifth consecutive season the Raiders have played a Thursday night game. Oakland's only other road game during that period was in 2016 at Kansas City.

The NFL is scheduled to announce the times and dates of all regular-season games Thursday at 5 p.m.