If you wanted to know why Panthers were investigating Jerry Richardson, it was because they found out that SI was investigating him
They released their report today and it is quite some a bombshell.
Friday was Jeans Day, when most staffers at the Carolina Panthers team offices would wear denim to work. The female employees knew what that meant. As the team’s owner, Jerry Richardson, made his rounds on the way to his spacious office, he would ask women to turn around so he could admire their backsides. Then, in his rolling Southern drawl, he’d offer comment, drawing from a store of one-liners he’d recycle each week. Among those in heaviest rotation: Show me how you wiggle to get those jeans up. I bet you had to lay down on your bed to fit into those jeans. Did you step into those jeans or did you have to jump into them?
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,
Though the antebellum echoes trouble some African-American employees, Richardson is referred to by all simply as Mister, no surname required. When Mister swings by and asks you to lunch, you accept the invitation even if you’ve already eaten. When he confuses your name, you don’t correct him.
Recipients often felt obligated to send handwritten notes in return. Multiple female employees recall that their notes eventually came accompanied by small cash payments and encouragement to use the money to treat themselves to massages or dresses. The women would thank Richardson; when he responded with lines on the order of You won’t find another man to treat you the way I treat you, it was still viewed as flattery, if clumsily rendered, by an older man from an older era.
But multiple former female employees recount that Richardson’s behavior began to feel like a violation when he spoke of their bodies. He had a special interest in female grooming, they say. He would notice when their nails were not up to his standards, and pay for them to get manicures. Multiple female employees recalled to SI that Richardson asked them if he could personally shave their legs.
Flip the page for even more accusations.