Carolina Panthers ownership officially changed hands Monday, as David Tepper took over the team from Jerry Richardson, the only owner the Panthers have ever had.
In that vacuum, a farewell address was in order from Richardson. But, if you’ve been paying any attention to NFL news since last December, you know there’s far more to the sale than just a business transaction.
Richardson announced the sale of the team hours after an explosive story detailed his sexual harassment in the workplace. Maybe the timing of Richardson selling the team was the biggest coincidence we’ve ever seen. The NFL conducted an investigation and found that Richardson had in fact harassed employees, gave them payoffs and was the only employee within the organization acting that way. He was fined $2.75 million. The NFL announced the league and the Panthers had made changes to their sexual harassment policies as a result.
So when Richardson put out a farewell through the team, it was awkward. When he completely ignored his workplace misconduct in that farewell, it was really awkward.
Richardson’s farewell doesn’t address his conduct
I can only imagine the conversations within the Panthers offices when it became clear that Richardson — who embarrassed the franchise on his way out — wanted to put out a farewell to the fans like none of the other stuff ever happened.
Jerry Richardson's farewell message pic.twitter.com/jHhaO6YxaV
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) July 9, 2018
To be honest you don’t need to read that message, because without some admission of the reason he sold the team or an apology to the people who he affected when he was acting like his NFL team was a bad fraternity house, his farewell is meaningless.
Farewell statement rings hollow
Richardson mentioned the fans and playing the game and whatever else. Again, had nothing else happened that caused the abrupt sale of the team, that would have been a nice farewell statement. In context of everything that happened, it was odd.
Richardson got to walk away with $2.2 billion from the sale (yeah, that $2.75 million fine is of little bother), and never publicly addressed the allegations against him. He got to also put out a farewell statement through the team, and can fade away without ever saying sorry for his horrible behavior towards some Panthers employees.
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