Jerry Richardson investigation to be taken over by NFL

Danny Woods
December 18, 2017

Two days after the Carolina Panthers announced an investigation into owner Jerry Richardson, reports accuse the owner of workplace misconduct.

Meanwhile, Sports Illustrated reported Sunday that it learned at least four former Panthers employees have received "significant" monetary settlements due to inappropriate workplace comments and conduct by Richardson, including sexually suggestive language and behavior.

NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy confirmed the league will retain an outside counsel to conduct the investigation.

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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".

"We thought it would be best for transparency reasons", Drummond told The Associated Press.

The Panthers had urged the league on Sunday to take over the probe, and the NFL agreed to it, NFL.com reported. "... Equality is what we are going for".

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The investigation is being led by global law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart and Sullivan, LLP, and will be overseen by minority owner and former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles, according to the Panthers.

Richardson brought NFL football to the Carolinas in 1993 when he became the first former NFL player since George Halas to own a team. He has been the Panthers' majority owner since the day it began play in 1995.

The Panthers declined to comment to Sports Illustrated beyond reiterating their statement issued on Friday.

Richardson has never won a Super Bowl, but the Panthers are 10-4 entering the final two weeks of the regular season and well positioned for a playoff run.

The Panthers have made a series of peculiar moves in the a year ago.

Richardson was hospitalized 2008, one month after receiving a pacemaker. He received the new heart on February 1, 2009, and has not had any known setbacks since.

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. Richardson said in 2009 he and his family owned 48 percent of the team, with the other 52 percent being owned by a group of about a dozen minority partners.

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