NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell fined Jerry Richardson $2.75 million on Thursday after an investigation by the league found evidence that substantiated claims of workplace misconduct against the soon-to-be former Carolina Panthers owner.
The investigation, which was conducted by former U.S. Attorney and SEC Chairman Mary Jo White found "no information" that would "discredit the claims made or that would undermine the veracity of the employees who made those claims." In addition, White confirmed the Panthers and their ownership did not report to the NFL the claims and agreements tied to the accusations until they became public in December.
"Based on White's findings, the Commissioner has imposed a fine on Mr. Richardson of $2.75 million, most of which will be used to support the work of organizations dedicated to addressing race and gender-based issues in and outside of the workplace," the NFL said in a statement.
The NFL identified three organizations that have already been slated for initial commitments:
» Beauty for Ashes Ministry, Inc. -- This Charlotte, North Carolina organization provides faith-based resources and spiritual support to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and other trauma and provides training for clergy and lay leaders in these issues.
» Black Women's Blueprint -- This national organization, based in Brooklyn, New York, focuses exclusively on issues of concern to black women, and operates an Institute for Gender and Cultural Competence that delivers prevention education and intervention curricula that addresses the spectrum of discrimination and oppression that affects lives.
» Women of Color Network, Inc. -- This national grassroots non-profit organization, based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, is dedicated to building the leadership and capacity of women of color advocates and activists to respond to violence against women in communities of color through training, technical assistance, and advocacy.
"The Carolina Panthers recently received notice from the NFL that its investigation into workplace misconduct is complete," the team said in a statement. "We cooperated throughout the investigation and have taken proactive steps to address any misconduct. While the investigation has concluded, we remain committed to improving all facets of our organization and fostering an environment in which all of our staff can trust they are safe and valued."
Goodell appointed White to investigate after the allegations against Richardson, 81, became public. Days later, Richardson announced he was selling the team and ceding day-to-day control of the Panthers to Tina Becker, a 20-year employee of the team who was promoted to chief operating officer.
At the Spring League Meeting last month, NFL team owners unanimously approved billionaire hedge fund manager David Tepper as the team's new majority owner after he agreed to purchase the franchise for $2.275 billion. The sale is slated to become official in July.
The Panthers have implemented a number of policies in order to combat workplace misconduct in the wake of the investigation. According to league, the Panthers have implemented a "robust" anti-harassment and discrimination policy.
In addition, Goodell has adopted White's recommendation for the Panthers to report by the end of the year its ongoing work regarding internal workplace policies and procedures that address claims of racial discrimination, sexual harassment and related workplace issues. White also made a number of recommendations for the entire league, which will be presented to the Conduct Committee for potential implementation.
"I appreciate Mary Jo White's careful and thorough examination of these issues, and her thoughtful recommendations to the Panthers and the entire NFL," Goodell said. "Her recommendations will help ensure that our workplaces are open, inclusive and respectful."