New Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper on Tuesday disclosed that he is required to keep a statue of former owner Jerry Richardson outside the team’s home stadium as part of his agreement to purchase the franchise.
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The statue stands outside the north entrance of Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, the Panthers’ home arena since their debut in 1996. The tribute will remain in place even after a recently concluded NFL investigation found that Richardson had engaged in workplace misconduct, months after public allegations prompted him to sell the franchise.
“I’m contractually obligated to keep that statue as it is,” Tepper said at his introductory press conference.
Tepper’s agreement to purchase the Panthers was finalized on Monday. The hedge fund magnate paid a record $2.275 billion to buy the team from Richardson.
The NFL fined Richardson $2.75 million last month after an independent investigator uncovered evidence that he had engaged in various instances of misconduct, including sexually and racially charged remarks to employees. Sports Illustrated reported last December that at least four former team employees received settlements related to Richardson’s behavior.
Tepper said that under his control, the Panthers will be an “open” workplace that will encourage employees to address any issues with their supervisors. Non-disclosure agreements will no longer be used under any circumstances, he added.
The new Panthers owner added that he sees Charlotte as the “logical place” for the team to play despite rumors that the team could relocate.