NFL Got This One Right
By Sheryl McAlister, a writer based in South Carolina.
Jerry Richardson’s last season as an NFL owner ended before his dream of the Panthers winning a Super Bowl could be realized. Thank goodness. He didn’t deserve to win one.
According to recent reports, the National Football League fined the former Carolina Panthers owner $2.75 million because it substantiated claims of workplace misconduct. The Charlotte Observer reported that the fine is the largest in NFL history and not even close to the previous high. It’s too bad the story didn’t appear on Page 1A of some newspapers. This is not a sports story. This is a story that epitomizes everything that is wrong with those in power who take what they want by whatever means they wish.
According to reports late last year by ESPN and Sports Illustrated, the Panthers settled with at least four former employees regarding inappropriate workplace behavior by Richardson. Sports Illustrated reported that Richardson had been accused of sexual harassment of multiple women and of using a racial slur toward a scout.
Investigations over the past few months substantiated the allegations, and certainly put the NFL back in the spotlight along with the Panthers. I had written before in a blog piece called Sacked that there are so many NFL players who have been accused of domestic violence, the website Ranker.com had created a list.
This time, though, the NFL got it right.
When Sports Illustrated blew the doors off Richardson’s dirty little secrets late last year, I halfway expected to read somewhere that he might have said he was sorry. I halfway expected he might have created some program to try to shed some light on good behavior instead of the egregious acts for which he was accused. If he did either of those things, I never heard about it. Instead, he hunkered down and focused on winning a Super Bowl and announced that he would sell the team as soon as the season was over.
The team has been sold. Reportedly new policies are in place to protect employees. Sports headlines are focused on the maturity of the team’s franchise quarterback. Presumably, the former owner will move on into retirement, albeit $2.75 million lighter. I hope he’s at least ashamed of himself.
The collective conscience of a nation is fed up with the bullying and harassment by the powerful on the unwilling. The #MeToo and #TimesUp movements have given voice to all those who will no longer tolerate the inappropriate behavior. The victims should no longer have to suffer in silence, even though there are plenty of them that choose to anyway. But it’s a start.
The Panthers’ new owner David Tepper will occupy the owner’s box for NFL home games this season in Charlotte. Let’s hope his view from the top is wide open and crystal clear.
Copyright © 2018. Sheryl McAlister.
Related stories by Old Broad & New Trix: Sacked