Jerry Richardson, founder of the Carolina Panthers, dies at 86 News-thread


However, Richardson would leave the league in shame.

In 2017, he announced that he would sell the Panthers soon after. Sports Illustrated reported on allegations that he sexually harassed women who worked for the team and that he had used a racial slur in the presence of a black scout. The league’s investigation into Mr. Richardson’s behavior in the workplace led to a $2.75 million fine. But by then, he had already reached an agreement to sell the team for a record $2.3 billion. Richardson never publicly addressed the allegations.

Jerome Johnson Richardson was born on July 18, 1936 in Spring Hope, North Carolina, a small town near Rocky Mount. Times were hard. His family’s home had no running water or electricity.

An only child, he moved with his parents about 90 minutes south of Fayetteville, North Carolina. His father, George Bertram Richardson, was a hairdresser and his mother, Mary Williams Richardson, worked in a women’s clothing store. Jerry is said to have worked in the tobacco fields. The Richardsons didn’t have a car until Jerry was 16 years old.

Tall and gangly, Jerry was also known as Stick. A noted football player, he earned a partial scholarship to Wofford College in Spartanburg, SC, where he excelled as a player. He was drafted in the 13th round by the Colts his junior year, but returned for his senior year, graduating in 1959 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology.

In Baltimore, he was voted the team’s rookie of the year and befriended Unitas, the best quarterback of his generation. Richardson caught a 12-yard touchdown pass from Unitas to help the Colts capture the NFL crown. In two seasons with the Colts, Richardson played in 22 games and caught 15 passes for 171 yards and four touchdowns.

After his second season, he asked for a $10,000 raise. After the team offered $9,750, Richardson returned to Spartanburg and, with his former college teammate Charles Bradshaw, bought the first Hardee’s hamburger restaurant there. Mr. Richardson was involved, cleaning parking lots, mopping floors, and flipping burgers.


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