Panthers owner did not want to ‘disrespect’ Ron Rivera by waiting to fire him
Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera was fired on Tuesday, leading many to wonder why the team could not let him finish out the remaining four games of the season. According to Panthers owner David Tepper, that was done out of respect for Rivera.
Tepper explained his decision to part ways with Rivera shortly after the team was informed. He said he chose to make the move now because he feels it would be “disrespectful” to start searching for Rivera’s replacement while the coach was still employed by the team.
"I'm not going to start a search and not tell Ron Rivera I'm starting a search. …I'm not going to disrespect him." -David Tepper to a group of local media just now
— Jonathan Jones (@jjones9) December 3, 2019
More Tepper: "I didn't want to be having inquiries where Ron didn't know what I was doing. I didn't want to be doing things not up front. It's just not who I am." Also mentions he wanted a competitive advantage to be able to talk to people now.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) December 3, 2019
That rationale actually makes sense. The Panthers are going to have to pay Rivera the remainder of his contract anyway, so it does them no good keep him around when they are out of playoff contention and know they’re going to go in another direction. They could have always waited until after the season and said the two sides decided to “mutually part ways,” but everyone knows that’s just a deceiving way of saying a coach was fired.
The Panthers are 5-7 and have lost four straight games. While Cam Newton’s injury has certainly played a role in their struggles this year, there could be some other big changes coming in Carolina this offseason. A fresh start with a new head coach may not be a bad idea.