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Panthers' Richardson could be jeopardizing reputation with players

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Dan Parr
Associate editor

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Posted Feb. 17, 2011 @ 11:35 a.m. ET
By Dan Parr

Sources familiar with Panthers owner Jerry Richardson were not surprised to hear reports that Richardson, one of the NFL's point men during this labor dispute with the players' union, took a combative approach in recent Collective Bargaining Agreement talks.

In the last round of CBA negotiations in 2006, Richardson pushed for a deal and labor peace, even when other owners had serious concerns about the parameters of the deal, but the 74-year-old has taken a hard-line stance against the players' union this time, and we hear he relishes his role as the co-chair of the NFL owners' negotiating committee.

He's alleged to have been condescending toward players, including Colts QB Peyton Manning, in a meeting the day before the Super Bowl, questioning Manning's ability to read a revenue chart.

While the league's other owners have come to Richardson's defense after he was criticized for his behavior in the meetings, some wonder whether Richardson's tact will do long-term damage to his relationship players on his own team and around the league.

Longtime team observers are skeptical that it will. Richardson, the only former player who currently owns an NFL team, is said to have a paternalistic relationship with many of his players. He's stern and not afraid to raise his voice or call someone out, but players have been respectful of his gruff approach.

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