NFL fines former owner Jerry Richardson in workplace misconduct investigation

Jason Huber
June 28, 2018 - 2:15 pm

© Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports



Allegations Against Panthers' Owner Jerry Richardson Substantiated

Richardson fined $2.75 million to support organizations addressing race and gender-based issues and fund league-wide workplace training

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced today the findings and conclusions in the investigation conducted by former U.S. Attorney and SEC Chairman Mary Jo White into allegations of workplace misconduct by Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson. 

The Commissioner appointed White to serve as the independent investigator following the public disclosure in December of 2017 of allegations of improper workplace conduct by Mr. Richardson. 

Following those disclosures, Mr. Richardson announced his intention to sell the Carolina Panthers and removed himself from day-to-day operations of the club in favor of Panthers Chief Operating Officer Tina Becker.  Last month, NFL owners approved the sale of the Panthers to David Tepper.  That sale is expected to close in the next two weeks.

White's investigation, conducted over a period of several months, resulted in a detailed understanding of the scope and substance of the claims made by current and former Carolina Panthers employees.  

"The findings and recommendations that I have shared with the Commissioner are the product of an extensive review, including interviews with club executives, current and former employees, analysis of documents, electronic records, and other sources of information," White said. "I particularly appreciate the work of the club employees in assessing the need for enhancing the club's workplace policies, procedures, and training and implementing appropriate changes."  

After advising that she had completed her investigation, White met with Commissioner Goodell to review her findings, as follows:

First: The review identified each of the allegations that have been publicly reported as well as similar matters that have not been the subject of public discussion. 

Second: While the investigation was not limited to the matters that have been publicly reported, and did not seek to confirm or reject the details of each specific allegation made regarding Mr. Richardson, it did substantiate the claims that have been made, and identified no information that would either discredit the claims made or that would undermine the veracity of the employees who have made those claims.

Third: The improper conduct was limited to Mr. Richardson.  No other employee of the Panthers is alleged to have engaged in such conduct, and the review did not discover evidence of similar conduct by other employees of the club. 

Fourth: The investigation also confirmed that the Panthers and its ownership did not report the claims, or any agreements to resolve those claims, to the League Office and that neither the League Office nor the club's limited partners were aware of these matters until they became public in December of 2017.

Based on White's findings, the Commissioner has imposed a fine on Mr. Richardson of $2.75 million, most of which will be used to support the work of organizations dedicated to addressing race and gender-based issues in and outside of the workplace.  Initial commitments have been made to Beauty for Ashes Ministry, Inc, Black Women's Blueprint and Women of Color Network Inc.

White has separately briefed incoming Panthers owner David Tepper on her investigation. 

"I appreciate Mary Jo White's careful and thorough examination of these issues and her thoughtful recommendations to the Panthers and the entire NFL," Commissioner Goodell said.  "Her recommendations will help ensure that our workplaces are open, inclusive and respectful."

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