Danny Morrison, the president of the Carolina Panthers, was the featured speaker at the Panthers breakfast Thursday sponsored by the Charlotte Business Journal.
I don't go to many breakfasts. All I need is cold cereal with fruit, a glass of orange juice and a cup of coffee. And a newspaper. I'm biased, but I can't fathom waking up without a newspaper.
I'm not a businessman, however, and I rarely wear a suit. People who put on a suit first thing in the morning probably need a place to go. Sitting at home, eating cold cereal while wearing a suit, can't feel right. So at 7:30 a.m. Thursday they gathered downtown at the Hilton to listen to Morrison. Since I was invited, I joined them.
Morrison is a nice guy, respectful and unpretentious. According to somebody who knows him well, he works harder than anybody in the organization -- and that would apply to any organization, the man says.
The high point of his talk came in the question-and-answer session that followed his presentation. A man told him that his 10-year-old son cried after losses -- Morrison said the Panthers also did -- and wondered if the team would hire quarterback Michael Vick.
Morrison began to answer the question. And then Charlie Dayton, the team's director of communications, quickly and quietly left his table. Dayton is an avid tennis player, and it showed. With an NBA-worthy first step, he sped to the lecturn and told Morrison there were rules against talking about a player under contract to another team. Vick works for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Morrison smoothly said he was not allowed to answer the question, made a joke, and moved on.
But there was drama, and drama before 9 a.m. is usually good.
I was going to pour another cup of coffee, but now I didn't need it. I was fully awake.
I do more by 9 a.m. than some sportswriters do all day.