Nicole Tepper’s draft-room remarks get grossly overblown

It’s a slow week in the NFL. But a lack of stories doesn’t justify making something out of nothing.

The Twitter bots have tripped over a clip of Panthers chief administrative officer Nicole Tepper, wife of Panthers owner David Tepper, making remarks in the draft room earlier this year.

The clip itself doesn’t reveal much, and not nearly enough to justify the characterization that it’s the “first time we’ve ever seen the owners wife helping make picks.” That hasn’t stopped sites like Athlon Sports from pushing this embarrassing clickbait headline: “Fans in Disbelief Over Video of NFL Owner’s Wife Assisting with Draft Picks.”

Many are questioning the involvement of an owner’s spouse in such crucial decisions, a role traditionally reserved for football operations personnel,” the article explains. (“Many are questioning” means “stray fans who don’t know shit are spouting off on Twitter.”)

Again, watch the clip. She hardly says anything.

The fact that multi-billion-dollar football companies are owned and operated like family-owned food trucks isn’t unique to the Panthers. It’s one of the basic realities that makes every team (other than the Packers) so damn compelling. And, frankly, Nicole Tepper is no less qualified to chime in on football personnel than her husband, whose credentials to own the team come solely from him having enough money to buy it.

The owner of any NFL team (other than the Packers) can do whatever he or she wants when it comes to putting family members to work. If the goal is to keep the team in the family, it becomes critical to involve others who would eventually take over for the person who wrote the check and seized the wheel.

The only alternative is to sell the team when that person can no longer continue. That’s what Ralph Wilson’s family did with the Bills, and that’s what Pat Bowlen’s family eventually had to do with the Broncos.

If Nicole Tepper outlives her husband, she likely will be running the team, like Georgia Frontiere did for decades with the Rams. (Along the way, Frontiere presided over the construction of the Greatest Show on Turf.) So why shouldn’t she be involved now?

Really, what’s more concerning? The owner’s spouse making stray comments in the draft room? Or the owner having a clear record of micromanaging the team, including forcing (by all appearances) Bryce Young on the front office and coaching staff? (Nicole apparently preferred C.J. Stroud. So maybe she should be running the team now.)

Also, we’ve yet to see any videos of Nicole Tepper throwing a drink on a fan and/or removing someone’s hat after she stopped at a local restaurant because the sign out front displayed a message with which she took umbrage.

Here’s the bottom line. Anyone who makes a big deal out of the clip of Nicole Tepper’s comments is exposing their own ignorance as to how things work.

Or maybe they know exactly how things work, but they aren’t about to turn down an opportunity to pander to those who believe women shouldn’t be involved in football in any capacity.

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