Critics might not want it to happen, but Sean “Puffy” Combs could be on to another hit.

A week ago, Combs tweeted that he was interested in buying the Carolina Panthers after owner Jerry Richardson announced he would sell his controlling share of the team following accusations against him of sexual harassment.

FILE – In this June 19, 2017, file photo, Sean Combs, producer of the documentary film “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A Bad Boy Story,” poses for a portrait at the Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles. Combs announced on Nov. 4, 2017, that he was changing his nickname to Love or Brother Love. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)

“I would like to buy the @Panthers. Spread the word,” he tweeted, later adding, “There are no African American NFL owners. Let’s make history.”

Combs ought to be taken seriously—he might not have the full financial backing to purchase Richardson’s share outright, but he can definitely front the funds to lead an ownership group. With other prominent Black athletes such as Steph Curry and Colin Kaepernick expressing interest in joining Combs’ group, it’s possible that Combs will find his way into an ownership position. He is a known showman and has proven that he often gets what he goes after.

Headed by Combs as a mouthpiece, an ownership group comprised of African American men could potentially alter the racial landscape of the league. Adding a group of Black owners to the NFL would certainly be groundbreaking for a league filled with White owners. Combs’ boastfulness and braggadocio wouldn’t sit well at owners’ meetings, but would become something to look forward to in Black households. And Carolina would instantly become America’s favorite urban team with Cam Newton and Kaepernick as its quarterbacks.

It’s exciting just to fantasize about the possibility, but Combs’ bid may be serious enough that it would require some type of interference to stop it. If Combs can round up the resources, he’ll have a huge advantage as a major media figure and poplar candidate. He can remember when late-80s rap group N.W.A. was the most controversial collection in America. Nearly 40 years later, Combs could be the brains behind another group that will definitely have protesters primed and ready.


Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO