(Via The Daily Wire)
#MeToo has officially taken down an NFL owner. In a league-shaking development on Sunday, Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson announced that he will be selling the team at the end of the season. Richardson’s decision comes after the franchise opened an investigation into claims of sexual harassment and a racial slur against the owner on Friday.
Richardson made the announcement in a press release Sunday in which he wrote that he believes “it is time to turn the franchise over to new ownership,” which he will do “at the conclusion of this NFL season” (full text below).
Though neither the team nor the NFL has given specifics about the investigation, ESPN reports that the league took over the investigation at the request of the team, which cited “transparency reasons.”
According to Sports Illustrated, the team has settled with at least four former employees on behalf of Richardson for alleged misconduct in the workplace:
During its own investigation in the weeks prior, SI learned that on multiple occasions when Richardson’s conduct has triggered complaints—for sexual harassment against female employees and for directing a racial slur at an African American employee—he has taken a leaf from a playbook he’s deployed in the past: Confidential settlements were reached and payments were made to complainants, accompanied by non-disclosure and non-disparagement clauses designed to shield the owner and the organization from further liability and damaging publicity.
“Richardson, 81, allegedly made verbal comments about women’s appearances, inappropriately touched female employees and made advances to women that included asking whether he could shave their legs and for them to give him foot rubs,” ESPN reports.
Team spokesman Steven Drummond said in a press release Friday that the team is taking the allegations very seriously and plans to conduct a full investigation.
“The entire organization is fully committed to ensuring a safe, comfortable and diverse work environment where all individuals, regardless of sex, race, color, religion, gender, or sexual identity or orientation, are treated fairly and equally,” said Drummond. “We have work to do to achieve this goal, but we are going to meet it.”
In his statement Sunday, Richardson underscored that the team would not be looking at any offers “until the very last game is played.”
Below is the full text of Richardson’s announcement:
There has been no greater mission or purpose in my life than to have brought an NFL franchise to Charlotte. The obstacles back then were significant, and some even questioned whether our community could or would support professional football. But I always knew that if given the chance, The Carolinas would rise to the occasion.”
The team has become an Integral part of our community. The stadium is in its best condition since the day it opened. And we have played in two Super Bowls.
Football is also an integral part of my life — and I am blessed, every day, that I made the Carolinas my home. I can never repay all of you for the kindness and generosity you have shown me, Rosalind, and my family for more than two decades. We have the best fans in football — and I truly mean that. In my opinion, we also have the best organization, and they have served us well.
I believe it is time to turn the franchise over to new ownership. Therefore, I will put the team up for sale at the conclusion of this NFL season. We will not begin the sale process, nor will we entertain any inquiries, until the very last game is played. I hope everyone in this organization, both on and off the field, will be firmly focused on just one mission: to play and win the Super Bowl.
While I will no longer be the team owner, I will always be the Panthers Number One fan.
With respect. Always.
NFL Ratings Continue To Fumble
The NFL – suffering from dismal ratings for last week’s opening game and Sunday Night Football, may be in for a serious decline in viewers this season if Dallas local TV ratings are any indicator – after the Cowboys registered their lowest local ratings since 2009.
the Dallas market is an important market for one of the most watched teams in the country. There is a reason the Cowboys are valued at over $4 billion dollars. They absolutely own Dallas Fort-Worth. Nothing else really matters.
The NFL does not want to see one of it’s most important market losing fans. It’s not a good look. It’s cause for concern. -Touchdownwire
That said, some have pointed out that the cowboys are “boring” now…
No one should be surprised. The Cowboys, while still a compelling aspect of the overall fabric of the NFL, have become a somewhat boring team, with a Salisbury-steak-and-lumpy-spuds offense that features two stars, a diminished offensive line, and a collection of No. 2 and No. 3 receivers. -Profootballtalk
Less viewers, more money
Despite a steady decline in viewership over the last three years, advertising revenues have continued to climb.
“Everyone loves to focus on the ratings, and everyone loves to focus on the NFL because it is the biggest ratings on television,” said Brian Rolapp, the league’s head of media. “But the reality is: Historically, the ratings of the NFL have always gone up, they’ve just never gone up in a straight line.”
NFL Fans Love the New Anthem Rule
NFL fans are in overwhelming support of the NFL’s new anthem policy, according to a Yahoo! Sports/YouGov poll.
According to Yahoo! Sports, “When asked if they support or oppose the new policy, which states teams will be fined if players “do not stand and show respect for the flag and the [national] anthem,” 53 percent of self-described NFL viewers said they support the policy, with 32 percent opposing and 15 percent saying neither or no opinion.”
In terms of the racial breakdown of the poll, whites and Hispanics strongly supported the new rule. While the measure was found to be considerably less popular among blacks:
White: 52% support; 32% oppose
Black: 29% support; 48% oppose
Hispanic: 49% support; 19% oppose
When asked whether the NFL should have an anthem policy regarding player conduct, the numbers showed sharp divisions as well.
Los Angeles Rams’ Add Male Cheerleaders
For the first time, an NFL team will have men as part of its official spirit squad.
Quinton Peron and Napoleon Jinnies, named to the Los Angeles Rams squad this week, will be the first ones to perform the same routine as the female dancers. The Baltimore Ravens and Indianapolis Colts have men who perform stunts with female cheerleaders, but don’t dance.
Peron and Jinnies are both classically trained dancers and have been performing their entire lives.
But what made them take this groundbreaking step?
“I thought, ‘Why not me? Why can’t I do this?’ ” Peron said in an interview Wednesday on ABC-TV’s Good Morning America.
The men were among the 76 finalists chosen for the 40-person squad. Jinnies said the auditions were unlike any he’s ever been through before.
“This one was about three weeks long and we had a bunch of rehearsals in between and an extensive interview process, but it was really humbling and amazing to be invited every time you came back,” he said.