The NFL will take over the investigation of allegations of workplace misconduct involving Carolina Panthers owner and founder Jerry Richardson, league spokesman Brian McCarthy confirmed Sunday.
The Panthers came under fire after announcing that one of their minority partners – former White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles – would oversee a probe led by a Los Angeles-based law firm.
McCarthy said the NFL would hire an independent law firm to lead the investigation.
The Panthers started its investigation Friday, and informed the league of the probe the same day.
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The team intended to have Bowles oversee an investigation led by Quinn Emanuel Urquhart and Sullivan, LLP.
Several critics questioned the appropriateness of the Panthers having one of Richardson’s partners oversee the investigation of Richardson.
Mike Freeman, an NFL columnist with Bleacher Report, tweeted Saturday that “more than a few teams (are) wondering why the Panthers are allowed to investigate themselves.”
The Panthers announced Friday they would investigate Richardson for workplace misconduct and would take “appropriate steps to address and remediate any misconduct.”
In a statement, team spokesman Steven Drummond said: “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. We have work to do to achieve this goal, but we are going to meet it.”