Former Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson has passed away at the age of 86, the team announced on Thursday.
Panthers owners David and Nicole Tepper, who purchased the team from Richardson in 2018, shared the following statement, via the team’s official website:
“Jerry Richardson’s contributions to professional football in the Carolinas are historic. With the arrival of the Panthers in 1995, he changed the landscape of sports in the region and gave the NFL fans here a team to call their own. He was incredibly gracious to me when I purchased the team, and for that I am thankful. Nicole and I extend our deepest condolences to Rosalind, the entire Richardson family, and their loved ones. We wish them much peace and comfort.”
In 1993, the league awarded Carolina a franchise, and Richardson took over as the organization’s first owner. The Panthers joined the NFL in 1995 as an expansion franchise along with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Panthers quickly found success in the NFL, reaching the 1996 NFC Championship Game in their second season of existence. Under Richardson’s ownership, the Panthers reached two Super Bowls (Super Bowls 38 and 50).
In Dec. 17, Sports Illustrated published a story in which multiple ex-Panthers employees accused Richardson of sexual harassment. The report from SI also stated that there were complaints about Richardson “directing a racial slur at an African American employee.”
Soon after the report came out, Richardson announced his intentions to sell the Panthers. The Teppers for $2.2 billion.
As a gift for his 80th birthday, a statue of Richardson measuring 12 feet and 10 inches in height was placed outside the Panthers’ home venue of Bank of America Stadium. In 2020, the statue was removed.
Richardson had a brief playing career for the Baltimore Colts, which spanned from 1959 to ’60. He was a member of the 1959 NFL Championship team led by Johnny Unitas.WANT MORE FROM TOTALPROSPORTS? FOLLOW US ON GOOGLE NEWS.