Panthers begin investigation of owner Jerry Richardson after allegations of misconduct

Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson is being investigated for alleged workplace misconduct. 

The team announced Friday that an outside law firm has been brought in to conduct the investigation of the Panthers' 81-year-old owner. The process will be overseen by limited owner and former White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles. 

"The Carolina Panthers and Mr. Richardson take these allegations very seriously and are fully committed to a full investigation and taking appropriate steps to address and remediate any misconduct," team spokesman Steven Drummond said in a statement. "The entire organization is fully committed to ensuring a safe, comfortable and diverse work environment where all individuals, regardless of sex, race, color, religion, gender, or sexual identity or orientation, are treated fairly and equally. We have work to do to achieve this goal, but we are going to meet it."

The team hasn't a put a timeline on the potential length of the investigation. 

"Erskine Bowles is a trusted leader of unquestioned integrity. We look forward to this report, which we know will be honest and thorough," Drummond said.

The Panthers also didn't specify any of the allegations that are being made against Richardson. 

Richardson has been the team's owner since October 1993 when the NFL awarded the city of Charlotte an expansion franchise. The Panthers' first season came two years later in 1995. Richardson also played in the NFL for two seasons with the Baltimore Colts in 1959 and '60.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera told ESPN.com that he's going to withhold judgment on the situation until results of the investigation come in. 

"I have had a strong relationship with Mr. Richardson during my time with the Panthers," Rivera said. "I have enormous respect for the man, but will wait for the results of the investigation before making any judgment."

The 9-4 Panthers, who are in the thick of the NFC playoff hunt, host the Packers on Sunday. 

CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

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