The Carolina Panthers have opened an investigation into allegations of workplace misconduct against owner and founder Jerry Richardson.
In a statement Friday, team spokesman Steven Drummond acknowledged accusations had been made against Richardson, 81.
“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,” 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.”
Richardson became the first former NFL player since George Halas to own an NFL team when he was awarded an expansion franchise on Oct. 26, 1993.
The investigation is being led by international law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart and Sullivan, LLP, and will be overseen by minority owner and former White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles. Because the matter is under legal review, the Panthers cannot comment publicly on the specifics of the allegations.
“I have had a strong relationship with Mr. Richardson during my time with the Panthers,” coach Ron Rivera said in a statement to ESPN. “I have enormous respect for the man, but will wait for the results of the investigation before making any judgment.”