Published: Mon, December 18, 2017
Sports | By Brandy Patterson

National Football League taking over investigation into allegations against Panthers' Jerry Richardson

National Football League taking over investigation into allegations against Panthers' Jerry Richardson

Richardson and the Panthers first announced Friday that the team would be conducting its own internal investigation into allegations of "workplace misconduct", although ESPN reported early Sunday that the league would be taking over the investigation.

The investigation into Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson was reportedly brought on by private financial settlements he made to former employees after complaints of sexual harassment and the use of a racial slur. "We have work to do to achieve this goal, but we are going to meet it".

Instead, the Panthers reiterated their statement released on Friday, which said the team is committed to the investigation and working toward providing a comfortable workplace environment.

A number of former Panthers employees told SI that Richardson's conduct was "treated as something of a running office joke" rather than dealt with in an appropriate manner.

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During a pregame interview with Bill Voth of Panthers.com, coach Ron Rivera was asked about the situation and sounded fairly cryptic while also supporting his owner as best he could.

The team originally had retained global law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP to conduct its investigation. The NFL would not confirm whether or not that would change, but it is hard to imagine Richardson continuing to remain in the office while others within the organization are serving as part of the investigation.

A native Carolinian who is the only current owner to have also played in the NFL, Richardson began the process of trying to obtain an NFL team for Charlotte in 1987 and was awarded the franchise on October 26, 1993.

Panthers owner Jerry Richardson had his own, perverted version of "Casual Friday".

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The Panthers began play two years later in 1995.

Richardson, who had a heart transplant in 2009, has rarely appeared in public settings in recent years, although he has continued to attend Panthers games.

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, like most of the team's players, hadn't read the details of the report which came out just as the Panthers were preparing to play the Green Bay Packers. "We talked about it - one of the things we talked about is you respect who is he for who he has been for you, more so than anything else", Rivera said. "A lot of you know I had a house fire and he was there for [my wife] Stephanie and I. He was tremendous in supporting us". I can't speak to anything other than that. The move was odd considering Carolina has made the playoffs three times in four seasons under Gettleman.

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