The NFL is under the harassment spotlight with Panthers owner Jerry Richardson being investigated for workplace misconduct. We’ve got five things to know about him.
A major sports figure has come under sexual harassment scrutiny as it was announced on Dec. 14 that Carolina Panthers founder and owner Jerry Richardson, 81, is the subject of an “internal investigation into allegations of workplace misconduct” per a press release from the team. The probe is being led by an outside law firm and will be overseen by minority owner and former President Bill Clinton‘ s White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles. Whoa, this is serious stuff! The team didn’t go into specifics about the nature of the allegations, but Richardson has been a colorful and sometimes polarizing owner. We’ve got five things to know about him.
1. Richardson is a former NFL player.
He was drafted by the then-Baltimore Colts back in 1959 and played for two years with the team. He even earned Rookie of the Year honors.
2. Richardson has owned the Carolina Panthers since the team was formed in 1993.
The Carolina Panthers were unanimously awarded the NFL’s 29th franchise back in 1993 and Richardson has served as founder and owner since day one. At one point it was believed he would pass the team on to one of his two sons but they both stepped away after the 2009 season. News outlets in Charlotte have reported that he wants the team sold when he dies, but only to someone who will keep the Panthers in the North Carolina city.
3. Richardson became a very rich man thanks to fast food.
After leaving football he went on to a successful business career, opening up the first Hardee’s franchise in Spartanburg, SC. He was a 50/50 owner as the fast food restaurant expanded nationwide to several thousand franchisees. He later became the CEO of Flagstar Foods, a massive food service conglomerate that controlled 2,500 restaurants and 100,000 employees at the time of his 1995 retirement. See pics of Jerry Richardson, here.
3. Richardson forbid quarterback Cam Newton from getting any tattoos or piercings before making him the face of the team.
He told accused sexual abuser Charlie Rose on his PBS talk show back in 2011 that when the team chose Newton as their number one overall pick in the 2011 draft that he required the player not have any body ink. When he asked the athlete of he had any tats, he responded “No sir, I don’t have any,” and Richardson told Rose that he told the quarterback: “Good. We want to keep it that way.” He also forbid Newton from growing out his hair.
5. Richardson is a heart transplant recipient.
The tycoon long suffered from heart problems, undergoing a quadruple bypass in 2002. After receiving a pacemaker in 2008, he was put on the list for a heart transplant in December of that year. Despite long waiting lists he received a new heart two months later in Feb. 2009.
HollywoodLifers, are you shocked that Jerry Richardson is being investigated for misconduct?