NFL team fires back after latest damning allegations against owner


In mid-December, the Carolina Panthers made the stunning announcement that franchise owner and founder Jerry Richardson was under investigation by his own team over allegations of workplace misconduct.

Sports Illustrated published a bombshell report Dec. 17 saying at least four former Panthers employees had received “significant” monetary settlements resulting from Richardson’s inappropriate behavior. The report described how female employees were asked to show the octogenarian owner their backsides on “Jeans Day” and alleged he used a racial slur toward an African-American team scout.

Later that day, Richardson announced he would sell the team.

Now SI has given one of his alleged victims the opportunity to tell her story in her own words — and the unidentified woman says the team owner sexually assaulted her.

The article was published Thursday under the headline, “‘Do you realize how much you hurt me?’ My Truth In Letters: A victim of Jerry Richardson’s workplace misconduct addresses those she holds responsible.”

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In a missive directed at the owner himself, the woman made disturbing allegations.

“I didn’t know what to do when you started leaving me suggestive handwritten notes, insisting that I reply and then destroy the note,” she wrote. “I didn’t know what to do when you summoned me to your personal office, instructed me to sit in the chair across from you, pulled my chair towards you so you could sandwich my legs, which you proceeded to rub, between yours. I didn’t know what to do when you called me to your stadium suite in the middle of the week so you could take off my shoes, place my legs in your lap and rub their entire length, from toes to crotch. I didn’t know what to do when you asked me to turn around so you could see how my jeans looked. I didn’t know what to do when you brushed my breasts to put my seat belt around me in the front seat of your car. I didn’t know what to do when you put your hands on my mouth, for me to kiss them. I didn’t know what to do when you asked me uncomfortable, sexually charged questions.

“I didn’t know what to do. So, I did what you told me to do.”

She continued, “Do you realize how much you hurt me? I don’t trust anyone because of you. I couldn’t have a real relationship because of you. I have low self-esteem because of you. I am insecure because of you. I suffered from anxiety and depression because of you. I feel shame because of you. I am a damaged person because of you.”

Do you agree with the woman's statement that the NFL's investigation is a "farce"?

The woman said Richardson left her “suggestive notes” and then asked her to destroy them. The article includes photos of the alleged notes, one of which says, “If I could … I’d pamper you more. Rub your feet. Shave your legs. Put lotion on your body — etc, etc.”

She listed Carolina coach Ron Rivera among the owner’s enablers, citing his decision to break a postgame huddle with “Mr. Richardson, on three.”

“Wow,” the woman wrote. “How insensitive you are to not only my truth, but to the truth of your scout, current and former Panthers staff, and even the victims of other perpetrators.”

She said the NFL, which took over the investigation, is “another enabler,” calling its probe a “farce.”

The Panthers responded with a statement Thursday.

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“Since December 2017, when we commenced an internal investigation into allegations of workplace misconduct, the organization has taken the appropriate steps to remediate any misconduct and ensure a safe and comfortable work environment,” the team said. “These claims are very serious and we have cooperated with the NFL’s investigation and remain fully committed to improving every facet if organization. Because this matter continues to be under an ongoing legal review, we will not comment publicly on the specifics of the allegations, but we do feel compelled to establish what we are doing to provide a healthy work environment.

“Tina Becker was named COO in December, and immediately began working towards addressing the issues. The team allocated significant resources towards reforming our workplace, restructured executive responsibilities and added a comprehensive training program on harassment and diversity and inclusion issues. We have overhauled our related policies and procedures, including improvements in our reporting to the league, all to make certain that employees who have a concern have multiple ways to report those concerns and can feel comfortable doing so. We have instituted several new employee programs, all aimed at creating an environment in which our staff can feel proud to work.”

Richardson has not commented on the latest allegations.

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Todd Windsor is a senior story editor at The Western Journal. He has worked as an editor or reporter in news and sports for more than 30 years.
Todd Windsor is a senior story editor at The Western Journal. He was born in Baltimore and grew up in Maryland. He graduated from the University of Miami (he dreams of wearing the turnover chain) and has worked as an editor and reporter in news and sports for more than 30 years. Todd started at The Miami News (defunct) and went on to work at The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., the St. Petersburg (now Tampa Bay) Times, The Baltimore Sun and Space News before joining Liftable Media in 2016. He and his beautiful wife have two amazing daughters and a very old Beagle.
Bachelor of Science from the University of Miami
Phoenix, Arizona
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