Jerry Richardson Death: Panthers founder Dies at 86

It's mourning to hear that Jerry Richardson, the Carolina Panthers founder passed away Wednesday night at age 86. He had remained NFL’s most influential owner until a scandal forced him to sell the team. Keep reading the article till the end to know the reason behind his death.

Panthers owners David and Nicole Tepper said in a statement “Jerry Richardson's contributions to professional football in the Carolinas are historic,”  “With the arrival of the Panthers in 1995, he changed the landscape of sports in the region and gave the NFL fans here a team to call their own. He was incredibly gracious to me when I purchased the team, and for that I am thankful. Nicole and I extend our deepest condolences to Rosalind, the entire Richardson family, and their loved ones. We wish them much peace and comfort.”

Who Was Jerry Richardson?

Jerome J. Richardson known as a prominent businessman was born on 18 July 1936 in Spring Hope, North Carolina. He grew up in a poor family and started working hard and odd jobs to help his family to make them stable financially. In spite of facing challenges in his life, Richard becomes one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the country. Although he confronted controversies, before this, he was a respected figure in the sports industry.

After growing up in the Fayetteville area, Richardson went to Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C.; where he excelled in football and laid the foundation for a business empire that would allow him to return to the game he once walked away from.

He made his fortune in the restaurant business, becoming chief executive officer of Flagstar, the sixth-largest food service company in the country at the time.

The Spring Hope, North Carolina, native spent years trying to persuade the NFL to put a team in the Carolinas, ultimately succeeding through a relatively original concept of funding a new stadium through the sales of permanent seat licenses.

“Jerry Richardson’s contributions to professional football in the Carolinas are historic,” current Panthers owner David Tepper and his wife Nicole said in a statement. “With the arrival of the Panthers in 1995. Richardson said in 2018 his greatest mission in life was bringing the NFL to the Carolinas.

The Panthers began to play in 1995 and Richardson quickly built Carolina into one of the league’s model franchises, while becoming a powerful figure in the NFL. Richardson served on several high-level owner's committees, playing a key role in labor negotiations with the players’ union.

But Richardson’s reputation took a turn over when he announced he was selling the Panthers on Dec. 17, 2017, the same day Sports Illustrated reported that four former Panthers employees received significant monetary settlements due to inappropriate sexually suggestive language and actions by Richardson. It was also reported he used a racial slur directed toward a team scout.

He sold the team to Tepper, a hedge fund owner, in May 2018 for a then-NFL record $2.27 billion. The following month the NFL fined Richardson $2.75 million for alleged workplace misconduct.

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Richardson never addressed the allegations against him publicly. After purchasing the Panthers, Tepper said he was “contractually obligated” to keep the statue of Richardson, flanked by two panthers, outside of the downtown Charlotte stadium that Richardson built.

The team said that “moving the statue is in the interest of public safety.” It has never returned.

Although Richardson once promised the Panthers would win a Super Bowl “within 10 years” of beginning play in 1995, they never did. The team reached the Super Bowl in the 2003 and 2015 seasons but lost both times.

How did Head Coach Frank Reich Give Richardson a Tribute?

“I will always be thankful to Mr. Richardson for providing me with the opportunity to play for the Panthers. Being a part of the inaugural season is something that I will never forget. It was truly a special experience to play a part in the culmination of his efforts to bring football to the Carolinas” said by Coach Frank Reich 

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