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Panthers Billionaire Owner’s Wife Causes Trouble in Coaching Search

Published 01/21/2023, 3:00 PM EST

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USA Today via Reuters

After a disappointing 7-10 season, the Carolina Panthers have intensified their search for a new head coach. The Panthers parted ways with Matt Rhule after a dismal 1-4 start to this season. Interim HC Steve Wilks only managed a 6-6 record. And they are already holding interviews. However, the owners look unprepared.

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According to CBS Insider Jonathan Jones, the NFL has found David Tepper’s organization in violation of the league’s hiring policies. Tepper’s wife, Nicole Tepper, was directly responsible for the interviewing delay after she failed to comply with a major league rule.

Nicole Tepper didn’t take the appropriate inclusivity training


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Nicole is the Chief Administrative Officer of Tepper Sports and Entertainment. And she violated NFL terms when she was part of the franchise’s HC search committee without completing her mandatory inclusive hiring training.

“Disorganized and Unserious Franchise”: After Being Accused of Violating League Rules, Carolina Panthers Find Themselves Under Hot Waters by NFL World

The NFL clarified the rules in a public statement to CBS. “The inclusive hiring training is a key element of our efforts to foster an equitable hiring process. Any suggestion that this mandatory requirement was not met by applicable clubs will be addressed and corrected immediately,” said Chief Diversity & Inclusivity Officer and NFL Executive, Jonathan Beane.


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However, according to ESPN’s reports, Nicole has now successfully completed her training. And the Panthers have the green light after complying with the league-mandated rules about hiring.

The Carolina Panthers don’t want to repeat any past mistakes


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The NFL cannot handle the matter in a lukewarm manner after the Brian Flores lawsuit last year about diversity in hiring. The former Miami Dolphins HC filed the suit against the discriminatory practices of the NFL in the hiring of black coaches. This stemmed from a NY Giants HC hunting controversy.

USA Today via Reuters

Flores claimed that the Giants only conducted an interview with him to satisfy the Rooney Rule. However, New York had already made their minds up to go with current HC Brian Daboll. Panthers Interim HC Steve Wilks is also one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.


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Besides Wilks, the other likely candidates for the job are ex-Colts HC Frank Reich, former Lions HC Jim Caldwell, and Giants OC Mike Kafka. David Tepper has been in touch with Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh. And Sean Payton has also reportedly entered the mix. And the Panthers selection team has to complete a challenging task before the next season. They are one of 5 teams in the NFL currently looking for an HC.

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Written by:

Soumyapriyo Ganguly


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Soumyapriyo Ganguly is an NFL writer at Essentially Sports. He holds a degree in Economics and Statistics from the Indian School of Business and Finance. Rivu is a sports nerd with his favorites being Soccer, American Football, Basketball, UFC, and Formula 1.
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Edited by:

Hitesh Nigam