Covering the game for the Greensboro News & Record, columnist Ed Hardin goes on–and on—and on— about how the game should never have been played:
The sanctimonious NFL should’ve taken a step back and honored the wishes of the city leaders who had the guts to stand up and tell presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump to please stay away. That the two were even considering coming Sunday showed the lack of understanding of what this city has gone through this week.
The leaders didn’t have to guts or the leverage to keep the NFL out.
The cost of playing this game Sunday was immeasurable in man-hours from our police, fire and emergency workers. It appeared most of the N.C. Highway Patrol was on duty.
From rooftops around the city and on balconies and through dark windows, people watched through binoculars for signs of trouble.
And in the middle of all that, more than 73,000 people were invited to drive downtown and risk everything for a damn football game.
Really? Didn’t someone see this was an inappropriate time to play? Couldn’t someone come up with a way to move this game away from these troubled streets or simply reschedule it or, God forbid, just cancel it?
Maybe I’m cynical—regular readers know Hardin’s not exactly my favorite sports columnist as it is—but why do I have the feeling that had the Panthers won, the spin would have been the exact opposite—that Charlotte needed the game to provide an escape from the harsh realities the city’s experienced over the past week?