CHARLOTTE -- Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera was told in person by team owner Jerry Richardson Sunday night that Richardson planned to sell the team after the season.
"A little bit surprised," Rivera said. "Taken aback a little bit. Disappointed with the news, but we'll certainly go forward."
Richardson announced his intention to sell the team just before 8 p.m., Sunday night, in the wake of a damning sports Illustrated report regarding allegations of sexual and racial workplace misconduct against the franchise's only owner.
"I know the allegations are serious," said Rivera. "Everybody should be heard and respected, we need to have all the answers."
The NFL has launched its own investigation in to the allegations after the team announced an internal investigation on Friday. The Panthers are no longer involved in the investigation, and the league has not commented on whether or not its investigation will continue in light of Richardson's announcement.
Defensive Coordinator Steve Wilks said he would "educate himself" on the report on Monday afternoon.
But Wilks, an African-American, said this of a racial slur allegedly used by Richardson towards a team scout.
"It's something that should be taken seriously," he said. "No one should be subject, in my opinion, to that abuse."
Wilks denied ever experiencing, or hearing of, any racial slurs used by Richardson.
Rivera said he hopes the team stays in Charlotte under any new owner, where it has been since its creation in 1995.
"I believe this organization has had a tremendous impact on the Carolinas," said Rivera, who was hired by the Panthers in 2011. "It's been a source of pride and goodwill and I'd like to see it continue."
The Panthers beat the Green Bay Packers, 31-24 on Sunday, improving to 10-4, with a playoff spot likely on the horizon.