Panthers made pacts with 4 workers over inappropriate Richardson conduct, report says

Sean 'Diddy' Combs interested in Carolina Panthers

According to Sports Illustrated, Richardson made several financial settlements after complaints of sexual harassment and using a racial slur toward an African-American, followed by non-disclosure and non-disparagement agreements.

News of Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson being under investigation for alleged workplace misconduct broke on Friday.

"The Carolina Panthers and Mr. Richardson take these allegations very seriously and are fully committed to a full investigation and taking appropriate steps to address and remediate any misconduct", Panthers spokesman Steven Drummond said in the statement.

The league will retain an outside counsel to conduct its inquiry.

Team spokesman Steven Drummond told the Observer he can not comment on the SI report.

According to SI, Richardson and the Panthers reached confidential settlements with complainants that included nondisclosure and nondisparagement clauses.

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Instead, the Panthers reiterated their statement released on Friday, which said the team is committed to the investigation and working toward providing a comfortable workplace environment.

Because of the investigation, the Panthers told SI they would not comment publicly on the specific allegations. The league has a spotty record at best in handling player investigations and discipline in the past, so handling such a high-profile case isn't surprising, but it will be quite revealing.

A native Carolinian who is the only current owner to have also played in the NFL, Richardson began the process of trying to obtain an NFL team for Charlotte in 1987 and was awarded the franchise on October 26, 1993.

The Panthers began play two years later in 1995.

Team president Danny Morrison abruptly resigned in February.

Panthers employees have allegedly been subjected routinely to sexual commentary from Richardson on Fridays when all employees are allowed to dress down from traditional office attire and wear jeans. Richardson said in 2009 he and his family owned 48 percent of the team, with the other 52 percent being owned by a group of about a dozen minority partners.

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