Not long ago, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was excoriated in the media for everything from his TD celebration and posture on the sidelines to his milquetoast “all lives matter” like opinion on social injustice early on and, most recently, his recent sexist comments uttered at a female reporter. But things really exploded with the recent revelations regarding the lurid conduct of 81-year-old owner Jerry Richardson.
In a story broke by Sports Illustrated, the Carolina Panthers owner’s behavior is egregious to the point of absurdity.
The establishment of"Jeans Day" a day in which Richardson would rove the offices critiquing the behinds of female employees, making them spin around so he could make lewd remarks, was just part of the culture of sexual harassment fostered by the Panthers' owner. According to SI's story, Richardson would make comments such as "Show me how you wiggle to get those jeans up. I bet you had to lay down on your bed to fit into those jeans. Did you step into those jeans or did you have to jump into them?"
The investigation into Richardson was initially undertaken by outside law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart and Sullivan LLP and overseen by former White House Chief of Staff and Panthers minority owner Erskine Bowles.
But on Sunday the NFL announced it was taking over the investigation.
The @NFL is taking over the investigation into #Panthers owner Jerry Richardson and potential workplace misconduct, sources says. This was the team's suggestion, the league agrees.
After the team's victory today against the Packers, Cam Newton was asked about the disgusting behavior and the actions which followed.
Panthers QB Cam Newton discusses Aaron Rodgers, Greg Olsen's huddle theatrics, and allegations made against Panthers owner Jerry RIchardson
SI's detailing of the situation in Carolina is mind numbing. The publication had been investigating the Carolina Panthers for weeks prior to their internal revelation, reporting on multiple accounts of sexual assault against female employees, as well as at least one instance in which he directed a racial slur at an African American employee. Many of these actions led to complaints which resulted in settlements, accompanied by non-disclosure and non-disparagement clauses designed to shield Richardson and the Panthers from further liability and damaging publicity.
There are at least four former Panthers employees that have received payments, according to reports.
Apparently, much to the chagrin of some African American employees, Richardson is referred to as simply Mister. He is also the only owner with a statue of himself outside the stadium.
“It was a power culture. You did what Mister said, when he said it,” says one former employee. “He thinks he’s really great. You’re supposed to reinforce that… Even when he does things that make you feel like half a person, that you know are wrong.”
On Sunday evening the Carolina Panthers released a statement announcing the sale of the team, which Forbes recently valued at over $2 billion.
Jerry Richardson announces he will put the Panthers up for sale.
The ownership group which purchased the team, of which the Richardson family reportedly owns 48% of, bought the team for $206 million in 1993. Sounds a lot like the NFL version of the former LA Clippers' owner, Donald Sterling.