More than 70,000 fans are expected in Charlotte this weekend to watch the Carolina Panthers vs. the Minnesota Vikings.
For now, the game will go on as scheduled at 1 p.m. Sunday at Bank of America Stadium.
The Panthers have tried to keep it business as usual on the field despite the chaos that’s unfolded the past two nights, but safety is never far from their minds.
Panthers’ tight end Greg Olsen said his family normally tailgates on game days, but this week they will likely head right to the stadium, not because he fears for their safety, but just in case.
Olsen said the game must go on. He said sport can heal at a time like this and as silly as it sounds, this game matters.
“Is the game itself as important as the issues at hand? No. But is the game itself a big piece of healing and bringing people together and letting people put their differences aside and just start that process of inclusion and being less divisive? I do,” Olsen said.
Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said he was a coach with the San Diego Chargers when San Diego was struck by wildfires.
“While the circumstances now are obviously different, playing again was an important step in that community's healing process,” Rivera said.