National Football League taking over workplace misconduct investigation into Panthers owner Richardson

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The conduct, Sports Illustrated reported, included "sexually suggestive language and behavior, and on at least one occasion directing a racial slur at an African-American Panthers scout". With other owners around the league upset about the Panthers overseeing the investigation, the NFL itself has reportedly taken over.

The payouts came with non-disclosure agreements, accoding to SI, and the Panthers didn't issue an additional comment when contacted by SI beyond Friday's statement.

Team spokesman Steven Drummond told the Observer he can not comment on the SI report. Overseeing the probe originally was minority owner and former White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles, but the investigation now will be handled exclusively by the NFL.

The NFL is taking over the investigation into allegations of workplace misconduct by Carolina Panthers owner and founder Jerry Richardson.

Drummond also said Richardson was planning to attend Sunday's game against the Packers at Bank of America Stadium.

The team initially said the investigation of the allegations facing the 81-year-old Richardson was being led by law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart and Sullivan, LLP.

The NFL is taking over the investigation of the Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson. In a statement Friday, the Panthers said the team and Richardson take the allegations very seriously and are committed to a full investigation, which they said would be headed by worldwide law firm Quinn Emmanuel Urquhart and Sullivan LLP and overseen by minority leader and former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles. Erskine Bowles, a limited owner with the team and a former White House Chief of Staff, was overseeing the probe. If anything, the team investigation would have been a dry run that, intentionally or not, could have shaped the evidence and prepared the witnesses for the looming arrival of the league's investigators.

Richardson is a former National Football League player. He has been the Panthers' majority owner since the day it began play in 1995. He made headlines in 2009 when his sons, Mark and Jon, both suddenly resigned their team presidencies.

Stick with wcnc.com for updates on this developing story.

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