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Richardson is leaving the franchise amid a “workplace misconduct” investigation, which leaves an opportunity for the New York-based rapper to invest. On Sunday night, he tweeted “I would like to buy the @Panthers,” and asked his 13.9 million followers to retweet his message and “spread the word.”
I would like to buy the @Panthers. Spread the word. Retweet!— Diddy (@Diddy) December 18, 2017
The prospect of owning a team has been on the mogul’s mind for months. Back in October, Diddy added the caption, “Facts,” while retweeting a post that stated, “Black players are 70% of the NFL. We have the power to defend Colin Kaepernick and Jemele Hill from the forces that would silence them.”
At the time, he followed up with tweets including, “I did have a dream to own a NFL team but now my dream is to own our own league! A league where you can be yourself. Have a retirement plan. Have freedom to be a great human and protest for your people without being demonized for your beliefs as a KING!!”
The Panthers going up for sale seems to have changed the rapper’s short-term goals, though. In a second tweet Sunday evening, Diddy addressed NFL owners at large: “ATTN all @NFL owners, it’s time for diversity!! It’s time for Black ownership!! The time is now. Let’s make it happen!!”
The 47-year-old has good reason to point out the lack of diversity among the NFL’s top tier. Only two non-white people are counted among the ownership ranks currently: Jaguars owner Shahid Khan, who was born in Pakistan, and Bills co-owner Kim Pegula, who was born in South Korea. In a report from October, the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport noted that “at the start of the 2017 season, there were no [team] Presidents who were women or people of color in the NFL.” So if Diddy pulled this off, he’d be making history.
This picture was taken back in 2003. This is God’s work. It’s time!!— Diddy (@Diddy) December 18, 2017
ATTN all @NFL owners, it’s time for diversity!! It’s time for Black ownership!!
The time is now. Let’s make it happen!! pic.twitter.com/zex7LTZ8mn
The next hurdle will be figuring out how to finance this passion project. As the Washington Post points out, Diddy may have an estimated $820 million net worth, but that’s still not quite “impulse buy an NFL team” rich. Forbes estimates the Panthers are valued at around $2.3 billion—so he’ll need some partners with pockets as deep as his to make this work.
It seems like the rapper has no shortage of friends who are ready to contribute, though. Sunday night a string of pro athletes offered to invest in Diddy’s new vision for the Panthers, including two-time NBA MVP Steph Curry:
I️ want in! https://t.co/XvvC1vo7xI— Stephen Curry (@StephenCurry30) December 18, 2017
I’m trying to get in as well fam https://t.co/ftK1wW86v4— Maurice Jones-Drew (@MJD) December 18, 2017
We’ve been talking about it let’s go!!!!! https://t.co/V8UP4pPKxU— Shawne Merriman (@shawnemerriman) December 18, 2017
Colin Kaepernick hasn’t made a statement about Diddy’s offer yet, but hopefully he’s watching his mentions.
Christine Friar is a writer and editor in New York who focuses on streaming entertainment and internet culture. Her work has appeared in the Awl, the Fader, New York Magazine, Paper Magazine, Vogue, Elle, and more.