In stunning news on Sunday night, Jerry Richardson announced his intentions to sell the Carolina Panthers franchise following the conclusion of the 2017 NFL season, in the wake of an NFL investigation into Richardson's workplace behavior.

The Panthers announced the news via a release on the team's website that did not mention the investigation or any of the allegations stemming from recent reports.

The full four-paragraph letter from Richardson:

There has been no greater mission or purpose in my life than to have brought an NFL franchise to Charlotte. The obstacles back then were significant and some even questioned whether our community could or would support professional football. But I always knew that if given the chance, The Carolinas would rise to the occasion.

And you have. The team has become an integral part of the community. The stadium is in the best condition since the day it opened. And we have played in two Super Bowls. 

Football is also an integral part of my life -- and I am blessed, every day, that I made The Carolinas as my home. I can never repay you for all the kindness and generosity you have shown me, Rosalind, and my family for more than two decades. We have the best fans in football -- and I truly mean that. In my opinion, we also have the best organization, and they has served us well.

I believe the time is right to turn the franchise over to new ownership. Therefore, I will put the team up for sale at the conclusion of this NFL season. We will not being the sale process, nor will we entertain any inquiries, until the very last game is played. I hope everyone in this organization, both on and off the field, will be firmly focused on just one mission: to play and win the Super Bowl.

While I will no longer be team owner, I will always be the Panthers Number One fan.

On Friday afternoon, the Panthers announced they were launching an internal investigation into Richardson's behavior in the workplace. On Sunday morning, the NFL announced its intention to take over the investigation; the team had originally appointed minority owner Erskine Bowles as part of the group designed to look into Richardson's behavior. 

The league clearly believed it needed an investigative unit of its own in this matter and as such stepped in.

Shortly after the league announced their decision, Sports Illustrated dropped a lengthy piece detailing a number of different allegations against Richardson including myriad bizarre and utterly inappropriate things he allegedly did involving women in the workplace.