Specifics have emerged, regarding the allegations of harassment and inappropriate workplace conduct against Panthers Owner Jerry Richardson.
Sports Illustrated reporters L. John Wertheim and Viv Bernstein reveal an alleged pattern of behavior that’s quite disturbing.
Regarding the Richardson’s conduct toward women:
[M]ultiple former female employees recount that Richardson’s behavior began to feel like a violation when he spoke of their bodies. He had a special interest in female grooming, they say. He would notice when their nails were not up to his standards, and pay for them to get manicures. Multiple female employees recalled to SI that Richardson asked them if he could personally shave their legs.
Former employees allege that in addition to verbal harassment, Richardson engaged in improper acts. According to sources, on multiple occasions Richardson requested female employees to visit him during a workday in his suite inside Bank of America Stadium. The women would be escorted by Richardson’s assistant, who would then depart, leaving the owner alone with a junior employee. One former female employee recalls Richardson, who stands 6’3″, arriving barefoot and asking for a foot massage. Says one such invitee: “The first time, you thought it was an important meeting with the owner. You [then] realized it was never anything that couldn’t be discussed over the phone.” Others talk of Richardson giving back rubs that lingered too long or went too low down the spine.
Nor is that all the investigation uncovered, there’s also an allegation that Richardson like to help women fasten their seatbelts. To accomplish this, Richardson would reach “across their lap and brushing his hand across their breasts before putting the belt in the clasp.”
The report also lists several instances where Richardson’s fast-food chain reached settlements with employees over allegations of racial misconduct towards African-American employees.
There was also a racial incident involving a Panthers scout:
Perceptions of casual racism hardened recently when, multiple sources told SI, Richardson directed a racial slur at an African-American scout for the Panthers. The scout left the team this year—but not, according to sources, before he sought the counsel of a Charlotte attorney who negotiated a confidential settlement on his behalf. Contacted by SI and asked if he wished to comment, the scout responded, ‘I’m not in a position to talk.’
With the allegations consisting of both racial and sexual misconduct charges, this story won’t be going away anytime soon.