CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A report that Nicole Tepper, the Chief Administrative Officer of the Carolina Panthers, did not complete inclusivity training ahead of the search for a head coach is being denied by team sources.
On Thursday, CBS Sports published a story that stated NFL executives had spoken to the Panthers about an employee not completing the required inclusivity training. The report cites unnamed league sources.
In response to these claims, a Panthers spokesperson stated, "[Tepper] was trained prior to participating in interviews."
The NFL has yet to respond to a WCNC Charlotte inquiry about this matter.
The NFL added this requirement in October 2022 for anyone involved in a head coach or general manager search in an effort to increase diversity in higher-end positions.
Tepper, who is also the wife of Panthers owner David Tepper, is involved in the team's coaching search.
Carolina has interviewed five coaching candidates: interim head coach Steve Wilks, former Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich, former Colts and Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell, Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen, and New York Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka. The Panthers are planning to interview Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey.
The Panthers have yet to have a winning record during David Tepper's tenure as owner. Tepper took over the team in 2018; in that span, the Panthers have finished 7-9, 5-11, 5-11, 5-12, and 7-10.
Tepper has overseen two head coaches and two interim head coaches during his time with the team. Ron Rivera, who had coached the team since 2011, was fired midway through the 2019 season and replaced by Perry Fewell. Matt Rhule was then hired and lasted until midway through the 2022 season when he was replaced by Wilks.