CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) - The NFL is fining outgoing Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson $2.75 million following its investigation into allegations of workplace misconduct.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the findings and conclusions in the investigation conducted by former U.S. Attorney and SEC Chairman Mary Jo White into allegations Thursday.
According to an NFL press release, the review identified each of the allegations that has been publicly reported as well as similar matters that have not been the subject of public discussion. The investigation did substantiate the claims made against Richardson, 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.
The investigation also found that the workplace misconduct claims were limited to Richardson himself. 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. It 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 the investigation's findings, the NFL said it was imposing a fine on 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, according to the release.
Initial commitments have been made to the following organizations:
Beauty for Ashes Ministry, Inc. – This Charlotte, North Carolina organization provides faith-based resources and spiritual support to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and other trauma and provides training for clergy and lay leaders in these issues.
Black Women's Blueprint – This national organization, based in Brooklyn, New York, focuses exclusively on issues of concern to black women, and operates an Institute for Gender and Cultural Competence that delivers prevention education and intervention curricula that addresses the spectrum of discrimination and oppression that affects lives.
Women of Color Network, Inc. – This national grassroots non-profit organization, based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, is dedicated to building the leadership and capacity of women of color advocates and activists to respond to violence against women in communities of color through training, technical assistance, and advocacy.
A group including the NFL's Social Responsibility advisers – Tony Porter, Jane Randel, Dr. Beth Richie, and Rita Smith – will work with League staff to recommend other recipient organizations in the coming months. A portion of this fine will also be used to fund league-wide programs to ensure state-of-the-art workplace policies, and related training.
Richardson announced his intention to sell the Carolina Panthers and removed himself from day-to-day operations, following a Sports Illustrated article detailing the the misconduct claims. Last month, NFL owners approved the sale of the Panthers to David Tepper. That sale is expected to close in the next two weeks.
The Carolina Panthers released the following statement on the findings:
"The Carolina Panthers recently received notice from the NFL that its investigation into workplace misconduct is complete. We cooperated throughout the investigation and have taken proactive steps to address any misconduct. While the investigation has concluded, we remain committed to improving all facets of our organization and fostering an environment in which all of our staff can trust they are safe and valued."