The statue of Jerry Richardson, the disgraced former owner of the Carolina Panthers, was removed from the front of Bank of America Stadium on Wednesday, and it looks like it’s never coming back.
According to Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer, the statue is gone forever — even though the Panthers are contractually obligated to keep it there. David Tepper agreed to that stipulation when he bought the team in 2018, but Fowler is reporting that Richardson won’t challenge the removal of the statue.
As for why, a source told Fowler that Richardson has “turned the page on that chapter of his life,” and the statue is no longer important to him. It was originally presented to him as an 80th birthday present from his minority partners in 2016. Richardson sold the team in 2018 after Sports Illustrated reported numerous incidents of sexual harassment and racism in the workplace, which the NFL later confirmed.
The Panthers originally cited “public safety” as the reason for removing the statue. With Richardson’s history of racist remarks combined with the recent toppling of numerous statues of racist figures, that reasoning is pretty sound. When Tepper bought the team and revealed his contractual obligation to display the statue, he also said that it could be removed if it became a safety concern. Since the exact language of the contract isn’t known, it’s possible that Richardson could have challenged the removal of the statue in court.
However, Richardson has reportedly moved on from that part of his life. Even though just two years ago he cared so much about the statue that he legally made sure the team had to display it forever, it’s reportedly no longer important to him. Is that believable? Not even a little bit. But it doesn’t matter if he believes it. The statue is gone. There’s even an unexpected bonus: Without the statue, the entrance to Bank of America Stadium is wider and more accessible to fans.
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