Sports Illustrated journalist on Richardson article: 'you were able to piece together a picture'

L. Jon Wertheim is the Sports Illustrated journalist behind the article alleging Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson sexually harassed employees and used a racial slur toward another.

"It was just one of those stories where one phone call led to a second and pretty soon, you felt you were able to piece together a picture," Wertheim told FOX 46 Charlotte.

The picture in question: an alleged pattern of "disturbing and potentially actionable office behavior" by Panthers founder and owner Jerry Richardson.

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The "Me Too" movement has taken down heavy weights in Hollywood and on Capitol Hill. Wertheim says he was surprised it hadn't yet reached the sports world-- until now. 

"The power dynamic and the male to female ratio, the office culture. I mean, all the elements are there."

In the explosive article, Wertheim ad his team of writers, lawyers and fact checkers, says they're aware of at least four former Panthers employees who have received significant settlements from Richardson or from the team in exchange for what amounted to a vow of silence.

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"Multiple female employees recalled to SI that Richardson asked them if he could personally shave their legs." One former employee told SI that, "it was viewed more of a creepy old-man thing than a threat."

Wertheim says his team poured over the details before publishing the article.

"We spoke to [the victims] independently, which I think is important too and the picture they painted was remarkably similar.

Wertheim did not speak to Jerry Richardson personally, but says he offered the organization the opportunity to respond to the allegations. 

The NFL has since taken over the investigation.