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Volume 24 No. 176
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SI Details Allegations Against NFL Panthers Owner Jerry Richardson

The investigation into workplace misconduct by NFL Panthers Owner Jerry Richardson stems from “multiple occasions when Richardson’s conduct has triggered complaints -- for sexual harassment against female employees and for directing a racial slur at an African American employee.” Confidential settlements were “reached and payments were made to complainants, accompanied by non-disclosure and non-disparagement clauses designed to shield the owner and the organization from further liability and damaging publicity” (SI.com, 12/17). Richardson was in his "customary seat in owners box, alongside wife Rosalind Richardson" for today's game against the Packers (TWITTER.com, 12/17).

NFL VP/Communications Brian McCarthy today confirmed the league will "take over the investigation of allegations" against Richardson from the Panthers. McCarthy added that the NFL would "hire an independent law firm to lead the investigation" (CHARLOTTEOBSERVER.com, 12/17). The Panthers on Friday "opened an investigation" into the allegations. A source said that the NFL "became aware on Friday afternoon that the Panthers had initiated an investigation." The team said that its investigation was led by law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan and was overseen by Panthers investor and former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles (ESPN.com, 12/16). 

The investigation into Richardson "brings a broadening focus on workplace harassment to the heart of the country's wealthiest and most powerful sports league." While he has "assumed a lower profile recently, Richardson for years traveled in the inner circle of the league's business" (N.Y. TIMES, 12/16). CBS' Jason La Canfora reported Richardson is "remaining in office ... while this is going on." He will "do all his regular activities." La Canfora: "That, to some, condones a climate where, would everyone be as forthcoming to come forward if the owner were not in place?" ("That Other Pregame Show," CBSSN, 12/17).