Panthers owner Jerry Richardson selling team amid allegations of sexual misconduct and racism

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CHARLOTTE, NC – JANUARY 12: NFL commissioner Roger Goodell speaks with Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson prior to the NFC Divisional Playoff Game against the San Francisco 49ers at Bank of America Stadium on January 12, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Carolina Panthers have announced that owner Jerry Richardson is selling the NFL franchise amid an investigation by the league into allegations of sexual and racist misconduct by Richardson in the workplace.

The team announced on Twitter that Richardson is selling the team, linking to a five-paragraph letter by the franchise’s only owner.

The announcement comes just two days after the team announced an internal investigation into Richardson, and on Sunday  a Sports Illustrated report revealed that the team had made at least four confidential payouts to employees who accused Richardson of workplace misconduct, including sexual harassment of female employees, and an incident in which Richardson reportedly directed a racial slur at an African American scout.

The settlements came with non-disclosure agreements.

Richardson said in the open letter “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 the NFL season.”

The letter did not directly address the investigation.

The Sports Illustrated report details what employees saw as something of a “running office joke,” sources told the publication, that Fridays were Jeans Day at the corporate offices, when Richardson would ask women to turn around to admire their backsides, often accompanied by comments and jokes.

“He was the boss. It was [viewed] more of a creepy-old-man thing than a threat,” one employee told the publication.

The NFL awarded Richardson an expansion franchise in 1993 and he has been the team’s only owner.