NFL taking over investigation into Panthers owner Jerry Richardson
The NFL is taking over an investigation into Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson for workplace misconduct, according to a report from Ian Rapoport of NFL Network on Sunday.
The team announced that it was looking into allegations on Friday but offered no specifics on the nature of the misconduct that was reported. And despite a statement that they had the utmost confidence in minority owner and former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles to investigate the matter, the team agreed to hand the reins over to NFL investigators.
Richardson has owned the team since it came into existence in 1995. He appears to be cooperating with the investigation and the team released the following statement on Friday, according to a team of reporters from the Charlotte Observer.
“The Carolina Panthers and Mr. Richardson take these allegations very seriously and are fully committed to a full investigation and taking appropriate steps to address and remediate any misconduct,” team spokesman Steven Drummond said.
“The entire organization is fully 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 have work to do to achieve this goal, but we are going to meet it.”
Without more transparency about the nature of the allegations against Richardson, it’s difficult to say what exactly could be at stake for the Panthers owner. However, if these allegations are more harrowing in nature, the league does have provisions in place to potentially strip him of ownership and force a sale of his stake in the team.
Regardless, the NFL will undoubtedly be under a magnifying glass for how it handles the ensuing investigation with another collective bargaining agreement upcoming and the perception that it makes the rules up as it goes with regards to players.