- Adam Schefter, NFL
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High-powered California political officials have been courting Carolina owner Jerry Richardson in the hopes of bringing the Panthers to Los Angeles with no luck to date, said one source familiar with the discussions.
Richardson has been polite and steadfast that he is committed to Charlotte and is not moving the Panthers.
The only scenario in which he would listen would be if Charlotte balked at helping him with some of the stadium renovations the Panthers have been seeking, the source said.
In a statement released Sunday afternoon, Richardson said "nothing has changed" about his devotion to the Carolinas.
"It has always been my desire that the Carolinas would be the home of our Panthers. Nothing has changed. As someone who was born in North Carolina and lived much of my life in South Carolina, I hope that there would be no doubts about my personal devotion to the Carolinas," he said.
Some of the talks between Los Angeles and Richardson occurred when the Democratic National Convention was in Charlotte, and Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was the chairman of the convention, planning for the Barack Obama speech that was scheduled to be held in Richardson's Bank of America Stadium before it was moved because of weather conditions.
What Los Angeles officials discovered was that the Panthers are one of four NFL teams -- along with the Redskins, Patriots and Dolphins -- that own their own stadium and do not have to break any leases or go through any litigation to move.
Carolina, therefore, became an easy target for Los Angeles officials, though their courting of Carolina has been so far unsuccessful.
A spokesman for Villaraigosa said Sunday that the mayor only has had general discussions with several NFL teams about relocation.
"Mayor Villaraigosa did meet with Mr. Richardson while he was in Charlotte for the DNCC, but there was not at that time, nor has there been since specific discussions by the mayor with him regarding relocating the Panthers to L.A.," spokesman Peter Sanders said. "There have been general discussions with a variety of NFL owners and league executives about the process of getting a team to Los Angeles, but not a concerted effort to bring the Panthers to California."
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