Sale Of Carolina Panthers Finalized
The Carolina Panthers announced that the sale of the team to David Tepper was finalized on Monday.
In a statement, Tepper said he was thrilled to start a new era for the Carolina Panthers. He also thanked former owner Jerry Richardson.
"On behalf of the fans and myself, I thank Jerry Richardson for bringing the team to the Carolinas and for entrusting me with its future," he said. "Winning is the most important thing both on the field and in the community, and I am committed to winning a Super Bowl championship together. I look forward to being part of the Panthers’ family and to supporting this flourishing region.”
Following the announcement, the team's chief operating officer Tina Becker resigned. Becker had run the franchise while Richardson was being investigated for misconduct by the NFL. She had worked with the team since 1999.
Tepper paid $2.2 billion in cash for the Panthers franchise, surpassing the record $1.4 billion purchase of the Buffalo Bills in 2014. He bested a group of bidders that included Charleston-based financial advisor Ben Navarro, Fanatics owner Michael Ruben and Bedrock Industries Chairman Alan Kestenbaum.
Richardson was fined last week $2.75 million following an NFL investigation into sexual and workplace misconduct allegations made against him by former Panthers employees. It was the largest fine in NFL history.
Former SEC Chairman Mary Jo White — who was hired by the league to conduct an independent investigation into Richardson and the Panthers — found substantive evidence to support the claims made by former employees.
“[The investigation] did substantiate the 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,” White said in her review of the investigation.
Richardson put the team up for sale in December following a Sports Illustrated article that outlined sexual harassment claims. Female employees accused Richardson of using sexually suggestive language, insisting on reaching across women’s laps to fasten their seatbelts, and asked multiple employees if he could shave their legs. The review substantiated the allegations but didn't confirm specific details.
Most of the $2.75 million fine will go to organizations that work with sexual assault survivors and deal with gender and race-based issues.