CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Hundreds of die-hard Panthers fans are being kicked out of the seats they paid to own to make room for luxury level field suites. Now, several fans tell FOX the team is not playing fair.
“I think a lot more could be done for folks like myself to address the situation,” said Derrick Raley, a disabled veteran and Permanent Seat Licence owner.
The mounting frustration comes a week after Raley, a fan since day one, and his attorney announced at a news conference they are considering a lawsuit against the team over the ongoing seating issue. The Panthers won’t pay more than $6750, Raley said, for the two seats he paid $9900 to own in 2016.
This week, team owner David Tepper sent a letter to PSL owners calling them the “backbone,” thanking them for their “loyalty” and saying, “We can’t do this without you.”
Raley said he never received the letter and only found out about it from his attorney and social media. He says Tepper’s words don’t match how the team is treating him.
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“I was a bit disappointed,” he said.
Raley wants the team to reimburse him for what he originally paid, even though his attorney says they would be worth at least $15,000 if he sold his end zone seats located in section 102, eight rows up from the goal post.
“I’m very hopeful that they’ll still be able to resolve” this, he said, “and really talk to the folks, like myself, that have been displaced and address them directly.”
Raley says the team gave him the option to accept two “worse” seats if he won’t accept the money, he said. He and his attorney Faith Fox say those options are unacceptable.
“It was a general seating area,” he said. “It wasn’t what I was looking for as a disabled [US Air Force] veteran and what I used to have.”
Another fan tells FOX 46 off-camera he is also considering joining a lawsuit against the team. For the past week, FOX 46 has reached out multiple times to Panthers representative for comment. Our repeated requests for comment have been ignored.
In his letter, Tepper asked die-hard Panthers PSL owners to hang in there for a championship and said he looked forward to them “joining us on this ride.”
Raley, a fan since the beginning, wants the team to respond to concerns.
“It’s very important that the Panthers organization speaks publicly to the city that supports them,” he said.