As of Friday, the NFL had no comment about the allegations of workplace misconduct against Panthers owner Jerry Richardson. As of Sunday, the NFL does.
“The league will conduct the investigation,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy tells PFT.
Note the language; not “an” investigation. “The” investigation. Which means that the investigation that the Panthers were planning to investigate will be placed on hold, perhaps permanently.
It’s the right thing for the league to do. The alleged conduct falls under the league’s Personal Conduct Policy. Issues of consistency compel the league to handle this situation the same way it would handle allegations against anyone else — players, coaches, executives, etc.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the league will retain an outside law firm to conduct the investigation.
However it plays out, this one will be watched very closely by the NFL and everyone connected to it. The first step will be to gather the facts, and to determine whether and to what extent the allegations can be corroborated. Once that information is harvested, it will become easier for the league to make decisions about what should be done.
For now, the right thing is being done. The Panthers should not be investigating the team’s owner, especially since a league investigation was inevitable. If anything, the team investigation would have been a dry run that, intentionally or not, could have shaped the evidence and prepared the witnesses for the looming arrival of the league’s investigators.
Which could be why the Panthers wanted to do the investigation in the first place.