Just a few weeks ago, Diddy was saying he wanted to buy the entire NFL. That, of course, was never realistic, but with the Carolina Panthers suddenly up for sale, you’d have to think the rapper/entrepreneur would be interested, right?
Actually, Diddy has a two-part plan in mind: Buy the Panthers, then sign Colin Kaepernick. When he learned of Diddy’s plan, Kaepernick had other ideas. Unsigned since parting with the San Francisco 49ers last March, he is thinking about moving up in the NFL’s hierarchy. “I want in on the ownership group!” he tweeted Monday morning. “Let’s make it happen!”
Which would be interesting if, as many have theorized, Kaepernick is being blackballed from the league because of his national anthem demonstrations.
As for Diddy, he has been in Kaepernick’s corner for a while.
Less than an hour after the Panthers announced that owner Jerry Richardson, embroiled in an NFL investigation of allegations of workplace misconduct, was ready to “turn the franchise over to new ownership,” Diddy had a pair of tweets of his own. The first asked his 13.9 million followers to “spread the word” of his interest, with, as of this writing, more than 40,000 Twitter users complying.
Diddy followed that with a tweet in which he said, “There are no majority African American NFL owners. Let’s make history.”
The 47-year-old mogul has a point about the NFL’s lack of diversity among its ownership ranks, with only Jaguars owner Shahid Khan, who was born in Pakistan, and Bills co-owner Kim Pegula, who was born in South Korea, counted among its non-white owners. In addition, in a report released in 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.”
In October, Diddy said, “Facts,” in 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.”
Diddy followed that with tweets in which he said, “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!!”
More recently, Diddy posted a photo of himself and Kaepernick, the former 49ers quarterback who has filed a grievance against the NFL for what he claims is collusion by the owners to keep him out of the league. “I’m inspired by what he’s doing for our people,” Diddy said.
In an Instagram video Sunday, Diddy said, “I need to send a message out to everybody in the beautiful state of North Carolina: I will be the best NFL owner that you can imagine. I will immediately address the Colin Kaepernick situation and put him in the running for next year’s starting quarterback.”
Diddy added, “It’s just competition, baby; it’s just competition,” possibly so as not to upset Cam Newton, the Panthers’ incumbent quarterback and the NFL’s 2015 MVP.
However, for Diddy to even make a credible bid for ownership of the Panthers, he would almost certainly need to line up some partners — and not just Mase, Lil’ Kim and the rest of “The Family.” Earlier this year, Forbes estimated Diddy’s net worth at $820 million, while the website put a value on the Panthers of $2.3 billion.
Among those offering to pitch in Sunday was Warriors star Stephen Curry, a North Carolina native and a huge fan of the Panthers. Former NFL players Maurice Jones-Drew, Greg Jennings and Shawne Merriman also threw their helmets into the ring.
It’s not the first time Diddy has expressed interest in becoming a sports owner. In 2014, after Donald Sterling was forced by the NBA to sell the Los Angeles Clippers, Diddy proclaimed his desire to purchase that franchise, tweeting, “I will always be a Knicks fan, but I am a business man.”
In 2010, Diddy said he had considered buying the British soccer club Crystal Palace. “I’m always looking into different business ventures, and it’s definitely one of my dreams one day to be a part of a sports franchise, especially a football team,” he said at the time (via the BBC).
“If the right situation comes my way, and it’s appealing, and we can make the right splash and most importantly build the right team and win . . . I’m into winning and, if it’s the right situation, then I’m open to it,” he added.
In the meantime, football doesn’t appear to be the only sport capturing Diddy’s attention. In a recent ad for his vodka brand, Ciroc, an animated Diddy prepared for the upcoming Winter Games by perfecting his curling technique.
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