Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson is being investigated for alleged workplace misconduct, according to the team’s official website.
In a statement released on Friday, team spokesman Steven Drummond acknowledged that accusations had been made against the 81-year-old Richardson.
“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.”
Drummond told The Associated Press because the matter is under legal review, the Panthers cannot comment publicly on the specifics of the allegations.
The Panthers made the NFL aware on Friday that it has initiated an investigation into Richardson’s alleged workplace misconduct.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league has no comment at this time.
The investigation is being led by the outside international law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart and Sullivan, LLP, and will be overseen by limited owner and former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles.
Richardson, a former NFL player, has owned the Panthers since he was awarded an expansion franchise in 1993.
The Panthers began play two years later in 1995.
Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said in a release Friday night that he has had a strong relationship with Richardson since he joined the franchise as coach in 2012.
“I have enormous respect for the man, but will wait for the results of the investigation before making any judgment,” Rivera said.
The Panthers have made a series of peculiar moves in the last year.
Team president Danny Morrison, who was well liked in the Carolinas among had worked on the business side, abruptly resigned in February.
Then, as the Panthers were preparing for training camp, Richardson unexpectedly fired general manager Dave Gettleman, who has led the team to the Super Bowl just two years ago and replaced him with former general manager Marty Hurney. The move was odd considering Carolina has made the playoffs three times in four seasons under Gettleman.
Richardson, who rarely conducts interviews, never addressed the moves.