The NFL fined Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper $300,000 for what it called “unacceptable conduct” during Sunday’s game at Jacksonville.
A video posted to social media showed Tepper throwing a drink in the direction of fans in the stands in front of his suite at the Jaguars’ EverBank Stadium.
“All NFL personnel are expected to conduct themselves at all times in ways that respect our fans and favorably reflect on their team and the NFL,” the league said in a statement Tuesday in which it announced the fine. It previously said it was aware of the video.
The Panthers lost to the Jaguars, 26-0, to drop their record to an NFL-worst 2-14. In a statement released by the team, Tepper did not apologize. It was not clear what, if anything, prompted his actions at Sunday’s game. Owners are subject to the NFL’s personal conduct policy.
“I am deeply passionate about this team and regret my behavior on Sunday,” he said. “I should have let NFL stadium security handle any issues that arose. I respect the NFL’s code of conduct and accept the League’s discipline for my behavior.”
The NFL fined Bud Adams, then the owner of the Tennessee Titans, $250,000 in 2009 for making obscene hand gestures toward fans during a victory over the Buffalo Bills. The NFL said Adams’s fine was for conduct detrimental to the league.
According to the Charlotte Observer, more than 500 Panthers fans had signed a petition advocating for Tepper to be removed as the owner because of his behavior. The Panthers are 31-67 since he bought the team.
“Obviously that record’s not good enough,” Tepper said at a news conference in November on the day after firing Frank Reich as his coach. “There’s no hiding it. … We’re going to self-reflect and make it better.”
He is about to hire the fourth full-time head coach of his ownership tenure following Ron Rivera, Rhule and Reich. The Panthers also have had three interim head coaches during Tepper’s ownership.
“My reputation away from this game is one for extreme patience,” Tepper said in November. “There’s no reason why that doesn’t come here, too. It does. Now, that patience comes with good performance. … I would like to have somebody here for 20, 30 years.”
NFL sends video to teams about eligible receivers
The NFL sent a video to all teams Tuesday in which it said it is a player’s responsibility to ensure the referee understands when he is reporting as an eligible receiver for a play.
The league distributed the video three days after a controversy involving an offensive lineman reporting as an eligible receiver marred the finish of the Detroit Lions’ loss Saturday night to the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Tex.
NFL in video: “It is the responsibility of the player to be sure that change in status is clearly communicated to the referee, by both a physical signal with his hands up and down in front of his chest and to report to the referee his intention to report as an eligible receiver.” https://t.co/UIYoQ2FMf2
“It is the responsibility of the player to be sure that change in status is clearly communicated to the referee, by both a physical signal with his hands up and down in front of his chest and to report to the referee his intention to report as an eligible receiver,” the NFL said in the video, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post.
The Lions lost, 20-19, after failing on three two-point conversion attempts following a touchdown in the closing seconds. Coach Dan Campbell opted to go for the victory in regulation rather than kicking an extra point that probably would have sent the game to overtime.
The first of those two-point conversion tries appeared to succeed on a gadget-play pass from quarterback Jared Goff to offensive lineman Taylor Decker. But the officials disallowed the conversion and penalized Decker for illegal touching of a forward pass, saying he had not reported to referee Brad Allen as an eligible receiver.
Video showed three Lions linemen, including Decker and Dan Skipper, approaching Allen before the play. Allen told a pool reporter after the game that Skipper had reported as an eligible receiver but Decker had not. The Lions said Decker reported as an eligible receiver but Skipper did not.