Panthers owner to sell team amid misconduct allegations

Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson announced on Sunday he will sell the team, hours after the National Football League said it had taken over an investigation into allegations of workplace misconduct by the owner.

"I believe that it is time to turn the franchise over to new ownership," Richardson said in a statement on the team's website.

"Therefore, I will put the team up for sale at the end of this NFL season."

Richardson's announcement comes just two days after the Panthers said an internal investigation was being conducted by the team into the allegations. It would not comment on the nature of the accusations.

On Sunday, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in an email to Reuters that the league would conduct the investigation, confirming reports on NFL.com and other outlets.

See AlsoEx-Fox News analyst slams Rupert Murdoch

While declining to comment on the nature of the allegations, the team said on Friday it was "committed to ensuring a safe, comfortable and diverse work environment where all individuals, regardless of sex, race, color, religion, gender, or sexual identity or orientation, are treated fairly and equally."

Sports Illustrated magazine reported on Sunday that at least four former employees have received monetary settlements due to inappropriate workplace comments and conduct by Richardson, including sexually suggestive language and behavior and use of a racial slur.

The magazine did not name the sources cited in the story but the settlements involved non-disclosure clauses.

10 PHOTOS
Panthers owner Jerry Richardson
See Gallery
Panthers owner Jerry Richardson
Feb 7, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson walks on the field before Super Bowl 50 against the Denver Broncos at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
(L-R) Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney, new NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, retiring commissioner Paul Tagliabue, and Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson pose after Goodell was named the league's new chief executive in Northbrook, Illinois, August 8, 2006. REUTERS/John Gress (UNITED STATES)
Jerry Richardson, owner of the Carolina Panthers, makes a statement after negotiations collapsed between the National Football League (NFL) and National Football League Players' Association (NFLPA) in Washington March 11, 2011. The last real hope for a quick end to the dispute ended when the union representing the players (NFLPA) filed a court application to dissolve itself after failing to reach an agreement with league and owners over a range of issues. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL EMPLOYMENT BUSINESS)
Carolina Panthers team owner Jerry Richardson, right, arrives in the owner's box at Bank of America Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017 prior to the team's game against the Green Bay Packers. Sports Illustrated reported Sunday that at least four former Carolina Panthers employees have received 'significant' monetary settlements as a result of inappropriate workplace comments and conduct by owner Jerry Richardson The conduct, Sports Illustrated reported, included 'sexually suggestive language and behavior, and on at least one occasion directing a racial slur at an African-American Panthers scout.' (Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer/TNS via Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 17: The Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson shakes hands with Corey Brown #10 of the Carolina Panthers before their game against the New Orleans Saints at Bank of America Stadium on November 17, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 24: (L-R) Head coach Ron Rivera and owner Jerry Richardson of the Carolina Panthers smile after defeating the Arizona Cardinals with a score of 49 to 15 in the NFC Championship Game at Bank of America Stadium on January 24, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 24: (L-R) Retired American professional stock car racing driver Jeff Gordon talks with Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson prior to the NFC Championship Game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on January 24, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 24: Team Owner Jerry Richardson (R) of the Carolina Panthers is interviewed by Terry Bradshaw after the NFC Championship Gameagainst the Arizona Cardinals at Bank Of America Stadium on January 24, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson talk prior to game time at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina on Sunday, October 21, 2012. The Dallas Cowboys defeated the Carolina Panthers, 19-14. (Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer/MCT via Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Reuters could not independently verify the information.

Richardson, 81 and a former NFL player, has been a majority owner of the Charlotte-based team since it began playing in the NFL as an expansion franchise in 1995.

The Panthers said on Friday that law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart and Sullivan would lead the internal investigation, and that former White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles, a minority team owner, would oversee it.

The Panthers had urged the league on Sunday to take over the probe, and the NFL agreed to it, NFL.com reported.

Carolina beat the Green Bay Packers 31-24 at home on Sunday to improve to 10-4 with two games left in the regular season.

See AlsoNFL investigating claims against Panthers owner

"There has been no greater mission or purpose in my life than to bring an NFL franchise to Charlotte," Richardson said in his statement.

He added that the sale of the Panthers, who joined the NFL in 1995, would not begin until the last game of the season had been played.

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.