The NFL handed down a $2.75 million fine against Jerry Richardson, the outgoing owner of the Carolina Panthers, the league revealed Thursday (June 28). The announcement followed a months-long investigation into allegations brought against Richardson by current and former Panthers employees.
U.S. Attorney and SEC Chairman Mary Jo White conducted the investigation, which substantiated “claims that have been made, and identified no information that would either discredit the claims made or that would undermine the veracity of the employees who have made those claims,” the NFL said.
The widespread investigation was not just limited to Richardson, however, White found that “no other employee of the Panthers is alleged to have engaged in such conduct.” The probe included allegations that were “publicly reported” in addition to “similar matters that have not been the subject of public discussion.”
White shared the results of the “extensive review” with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and made a number of recommendations “regarding issues of workplace conduct” that have recently been implemented by the Panthers organization.
"The findings and recommendations that I have shared with the Commissioner are the product of an extensive review, including interviews with club executives, current and former employees, analysis of documents, electronic records, and other sources of information,” White said. “I particularly appreciate the work of the club employees in assessing the need for enhancing the club's workplace policies, procedures, and training and implementing appropriate changes."
The Sports Illustrated article revealed that at least four employees received “significant” monetary settlements due to Richardson’s “inappropriate workplace comments and conduct.” After the story broke, Richardson announced plans to sell the Panthers and stepped back from day-to-day operations.
Last month, league owners approved a potential sale to billionaire businessman David Tepper. The transaction is expected to close over the next two weeks.
Much of the $2.75 million fine will go to various organizations fighting race and gender-based issues in the workplace and beyond.