The Carolina Panthers are removing the statue of former team owner Jerry Richardson from Bank of America Stadium. The team announced it was moving the statue to an undisclosed location. It was first reported by Joe Bruno of WSOCTV, who said the removal work will start immediately and will be completed on Wednesday.
"We were aware of the most recent conversation surrounding the Jerry Richardson statue and are concerned there may be attempts to take it down," the Panthers said in a statement. "We are moving the statue in the interest of public safety." A spokesperson for Richardson also made a statement: "Mr. Richardson had made no public comments on the Panthers or the NFL since the sale of the team and doesn't plan to do now as a private citizen. he was worked to treat all people fairly in his business and person lives and, like many other Americans, is troubled by recent events in Minneapolis, Charlotte and around the country."
BREAKING: The Jerry Richardson statue is coming down. Charlotte DOT is about the close the road near Bank of America Stadium to allow the work to happen pic.twitter.com/WBagBz2i2p— Joe Bruno (@JoeBrunoWSOC9) June 10, 2020
Richardson, 83, became the owner of the Panthers in 1993 but sold the team at the end of the 2017 season after a report by Sports Illustrated was released that accused him of reaching a number of nondisclosure agreements with Panthers employees after sexual harassment cases in the workplace. When the report was released Richardson announced he would sell the team and stepped away from day-to-day operations. The NFL investigated Richardson and fined him $2.75 million.
David Tepper bought the Panthers for $2.275 billion in 2018, and once the sale was final, Richardson wrote a letter to Panthers fans. "Rosalind and I want to express our appreciation to all of you for creating such a powerful, passionate fan experience for the past 23 seasons," he wrote. "We are grateful to the Carolina community for the love and support you have shown your Panthers. Your enthusiasm for football and devotion to the team has been a source of strength for us and for everyone who calls the Carolinas home."
Under Richardson's ownership, the Panthers reached the Super Bowl twice and the team had one MVP winner in Cam Newton. In the team's first season in 1995, the Panthers finished with a 7-9 record, which is an all-time best for the NFL expansion team's first season.