CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) - When Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson released his letter Sunday night announcing the sale of the team, players tell FOX 46 Charlotte they were caught off guard.
“I found out on Twitter. I just play football. I don’t really know much of anything that goes on here,” said Cornerback, Daryl Worley.
Coach Ron Rivera met with the team Monday morning to answer any questions they may have and to make sure their mind stays focused on finishing the season strong.
“He didn’t know. This all took the whole organization by surprise. To go through something like that I commend our coach and we will move on from here,” said Tight End, Ed Dickson.
The allegations against Jerry Richardson were released by Sports Illustrated as the Panthers took to the field Sunday. The report states that at least four former Panthers employees received settlements from the team after Richardson made inappropriate comments, including "sexual suggestive language and behavior". The report also states on at least one occasion, Richardson directed a racial slur at an African-American Panthers scout.
On Monday, it was learned that Richardson was stepping aside as the Panthers announced that Tina Becker had been named Chief Operating Officer. The team added that Becker, who has been with the Panthers for 19 years, will have "full control of the day-to-day management of the organization."
Players tell FOX 46 Charlotte they never witnessed the sexual harassment or use of a racial slur by Jerry Richardson, which were allegations made in the report.
“It just saddened me as an individual. I have a lot of respect for our owner. He gave me an opportunity to come here further my career and do the things I need to do as a football player. I can only touch base on a personal level from my point of view,” said Dickson.
Players like Daryl Worley took a step back Monday, deciding not to add his opinion into the mix.
“We are focused on the football. That is the only aspect we should be worried about as players,” said Worley.
FOX 46 Charlotte has learned the team hasn’t given any orders to players about what they can or cannot discuss. Many players are choosing to stick to their job, which is to play football.