On Sunday night, Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson posted a letter to the team's website that stated his intention to sell the franchise after this season. Richardson's announcement comes just two days after the Panthers revealed that he was under investigation for workplace misconduct, which coincided with a Sports Illustrated report that revealed Carolina made "significant" settlements with at least four ex-employees due to Richardson's inappropriate workplace behavior. It also came later in the same day that the NFL announced they'd be taking over that aforementioned investigation.
That SI article reported that Richardson had sexually harassed multiple women, while also using a racial slur towards an ex-team scout. More specifically, Richardson is said to have made verbal comments about women's appearances, while also "giving back rubs that lingered too long or went too low down the spine." He also purportedly made advances that included asking for foot rubs, asking if he could personally shave multiple female employees' legs, and also buckled employees into car seats so he could allegedly brush his hand across their boobs.
"I believe that it is time to turn the franchise over to new ownership," Richardson wrote in his letter. "Therefore, I will put the team up for sale at the conclusion of this NFL season. We will not begin the sale process, nor will we entertain any inquiries, until the very last game is played."
He concluded his open letter by saying he'd continue to be the team's No. 1 fan, you can read the entire thing below:
The 81-year-old has been the only owner the Panthers have ever had, and has held that title since he was awarded the organization back in October 1993. Prior to this announcement (which reportedly came as a surprise to both the team's players and front office) Richardson had plans in place to sell the team within two years of his death.
While we have absolutely no idea who the team's second owner will be (I mean, Richardson did say he wouldn't entertain inquiries until the season was over, meaning we'll probably have to wait until Wildcard Weekend or maybe the divisional round) one person who has expressed interest, joking or otherwise, is Puff Daddy, who you may remember said all this stuff a few months ago.
Sunday night, Puff made clear his desire to buy the Panthers in a series of social media messages, including an Instagram one that would probably make Cam Newton say "huh?":
This picture was taken back in 2003. This is God’s work. It’s time!!— Diddy (@Diddy) December 18, 2017
ATTN all @NFL owners, it’s time for diversity!! It’s time for Black ownership!!
The time is now. Let’s make it happen!! pic.twitter.com/zex7LTZ8mn
According to ESPN/Forbes, the franchise's value was estimated at $2.3 billion back in September, which is way the hell up from the $206 million that Richardson/investors paid for it more than 24 years ago.