CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Two days after the Carolina Panthers announced an investigation into owner Jerry Richardson, reports accuse the owner of workplace misconduct.
According to reports from Sports Illustrated, at least four former Panthers employees "received ‘significant’ monetary settlements due to inappropriate workplace comments and conduct by owner Jerry Richardson."
Sports Illustrated tweeted the full report below:
In the report, the Panthers owner allegedly asked female staffers to turn around "so he could admire their backsides," on his way to his office. This behavior was treated like "a running office joke," the Sports Illustrated report says.
Richardson was also accused of "directing a racial slur at an African American employee," according to Sports Illustrated.
In addition to the settlements, the ex-employees say the settlements came with non-disclosure agreements forbidding the former employees from discussing the allegations.
Following Carolina's 31-24 win over the Green Bay Packers, Panthers coach Ron Rivera told the media the following, in response to the allegations against Richardson:
The only thing I can speak on is what he’s been to me. A lot of you know I had a house fire and he was there for Stephanie and I, he was tremendous in supporting us. My brother passed and Mr. Richardson was there and helped me get to the funeral and back. I can’t speak on anything other than that. That’s the only thing I can say as far as I’m concerned.
I told the guys I don’t have a lot of information out there, I don’t know what’s been written or what’s been said.All I know is what Mr. Richardson has been for me and that’s been very supportive. You guys know my second year, he could have easily fired me after it. He and I sat down and he gave me an opportunity to go in to my third season and this is where I am today. You’re guessing at this point, so we’ll just let the process unfold.
The NFL took over the investigation earlier Sunday. The league has reportedly retained outside counsel to investigate workplace misconduct allegations against Richardson.
The investigation was initially led by an outside international law firm, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart and Sullivan, LLP, and will be overseen by former House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles, according to the Panthers.
Stick with wcnc.com for updates on this developing story.