Panthers' internal investigation leads to resignation of defensive backs coach

The Carolina Panthers’ internal investigation into workplace practices has led to the resignation of at least one employee.

In a statement on Friday, the team confirmed that the resignation of defensive backs coach Curtis Fuller on Wednesday came after complaints of workplace misconduct. Fuller had been with the Panthers since 2013.

Defensive backs coach Curtis Fuller resigned from the Carolina Panthers this week after an investigation found he’d behaved inappropriately toward women in the workplace. (AP)
Defensive backs coach Curtis Fuller resigned from the Carolina Panthers this week after an investigation found he’d behaved inappropriately toward women in the workplace. (AP)

Conduct to women ‘inappropriate’

Via ESPN Panthers writer David Newton, the team’s statement, attributed to spokesman Steven Drummond said, “After approaching Coach Fuller with the findings of an investigation into complaints of inappropriate conduct, we accepted his resignation. The Panthers are deeply 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.”

A source told Newton that Fuller’s conduct toward women in the organization was “inappropriate.”

Joseph Person and Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer got more details later Friday, reporting that Fuller had acted inappropriately toward multiple women.

Citing multiple sources who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the investigation, Person and Rodrigue wrote that “Fuller sent emails and text messages to an unknown number of female employees on the business side of the organization.”

Earlier in the week, head coach Ron Rivera called the situation behind Fuller’s resignation “complicated.”

Investigation began after accusations against Richardson

The Panthers began an internal investigation after Sports Illustrated published a report in December about team owner Jerry Richardson’s disturbing behavior toward female employees of the franchise, as well as his treatment of at least one black scout.

The NFL is also conducting an investigation into the allegations against Richardson, but it is seemingly toothless, as one of the women who accused Richardson of sexual harassment noted in open letters she wrote to the league and others last week, which were published by Sports Illustrated. Richardson is refusing to release those who took settlements and signed non-disclosure agreements from the NDAs, and the NFL can’t offer immunity.

Panthers’ next owner still unknown

Hours after the initial SI story outlining the numerous allegations against Richardson, a former NFL player who brought the league to Charlotte as the Panthers’ founding owner, the team announced that the 81-year-old would be putting the franchise up for sale.

The Charlotte Observer has identified at least four bidders for the club: Alan Kestenbaum, the CEO of a Canadian steel company; David Tepper, a star in hedge fund circles and minority owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers; e-commerce entrepreneur Michael Rubin, whose companies include Fanatics; and Ben Navarro, the son of former college football coach Frank Navarro and a South Carolina native.

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