Kaepernick tries to join Diddy to buy PANTHERS...

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Kramer
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Kaepernick tries to join Diddy to buy PANTHERS...

Post by Kramer » Mon Dec 18, 2017 3:37 pm

Controversial free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick hopes to join entertainer Sean 'Diddy' Combs in purchasing the Carolina Panthers from embattled founder Jerry Richardson, who recently announced his intention to sell the team following allegations of sexual harassment and racism.

'I want in on the ownership group!' Kaepernick tweeted Monday. 'Let’s make it happen!'

On Sunday Combs said he wanted to buy the team and hire Kaepernick to play quarterback after a Sports Illustrated report documented wide-ranging claims of workplace misconduct against Richardson.

Former Panthers employees spoke of lewd remarks, lingering gazes and inappropriate touching. On at least one occasion. Richardson was accused of directing a racial slur against an African-American employee.

Kaepernick became the first NFL player to peacefully protest inequality and police brutality against minorities during the 2016 season by refusing to stand during the national anthem.

He's remained unsigned since March, when he opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers. Currently Kaepernick is suing the league, claiming all 32 owners have colluded to blacklist him in retaliation for the protests, which have continued this season despite significant public criticism.

The Panthers are currently valued at $2.3billion, meaning Combs with his estimated net worth of $820million would likely need partners - if his plan is in fact a serious one.

On that point, Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry hopped on the bandwagon, tweeting at Combs: 'I want in!'

'Holla at me, let’s get it!' replied Combs.

'Also, I will have the best halftime show, the best selection of music, and we will win Super Bowl after Super Bowl,' Combs said.

Combs touted his plan as history-making, tweeting: 'There are no majority African American NFL owners. Let’s make history.'

'It's time for diversity!! It's time for Black ownership!!' he wrote.

While Richardson does plan to sell, negotiations are not imminent.

'I believe it is time to turn the franchise over to new ownership,' Richardson wrote in a team statement. 'Therefore, I will put the team up for sale at the conclusion of this NFL season. We will not begin the sales process, nor will we entertain any inquiries, until the very last game is played.'

At least four former Panthers employees have received 'significant' monetary settlements due to inappropriate workplace behavior by Richardson, according to the report.

In a statement, the team said it had opened its own investigation into the claims and 'welcome the involvement of the NFL'.

The NFL on Sunday said it has taken over the investigation of allegations of workplace misconduct. Panthers spokesman Steven Drummond said Sunday the team requested the league take over the investigation for 'transparency reasons.'

'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,' Drummond said.

'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,' Drummond said.

The new SI report did not name sources, citing confidentiality agreements in the settlement deals and fear of retaliation.

Richardson, who himself played in the NFL as a halfback and wide receiver for the Baltimore Colts from 1959 to 1960, made his fortune in the food services industry, running the company best known for operating chains such as Denny's and Hardees.

The 81-year-old Richardson acquired his majority stake in the franchise in 1993 at a value of $206million, and the team is now valued at $2.3billion by Forbes.

The new report claims that his alleged inappropriate workplace conduct was well known among Panthers employees and something of a running joke.

'No one ever said anything, at least not that I heard,' one former Panthers employee told SI. 'He was the boss. It was [viewed] more of a creepy-old-man thing than a threat.'

Sources told the outlet that Richardson would focus his comments to female employees on their appearance, offering to pay for manicures and in one case suggesting that a female employee let him shave her legs.

Another frequent occurrence was the 'seatbelt maneuver,' in which Richardson would open a car door for a woman and then buckle her seatbelt for her, brushing up against her breasts in the process, according to the report.

Other sources spoke of Richardson giving massages that went on for too long, or wandered too low down the spine.

'You look back and it's wackadoo,' one former Carolina employee told SI.

'You felt preyed upon. You felt fear. You felt self-doubt. But when you're in [that environment], everywhere you go, every family gathering, it's, 'Oh, you work in the NFL? That's so cool.' And you don't want to lose your job.'

'Jeans Fridays' were the occasion for frequent inappropriate remarks from Richardson, the sources said.

'Show me how you wiggle to get those jeans up. I bet you had to lay down on your bed to fit into those jeans,' Richardson would say, or words to that effect, the sources said.

In an uncomfortable callback to antebellum culture, employees say that Richardson was universally known simply as 'Mister'.

'It was a power culture. You did what Mister said, when he said it,' one former employee told the magazine.

'He thinks he's really great. You're supposed to reinforce that… Even when he does things that make you feel like half a person, that you know are wrong.'

In the case of one African-American scout for the Panthers, Richardson allegedly directed a racial slur him. The scout left the team this year, reportedly after negotiating a confidential settlement.

Richardson has been a majority owner of the Charlotte-based team since it began playing in the NFL as an expansion franchise in 1995.

Neither he nor a team spokesman could be reached for comment on the league taking over the probe or reports about the accusations.

The Panthers said Friday that law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart and Sullivan would lead the internal investigation, with former White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles, a minority team owner, would overseeing the probe.

The Panthers had urged the league to take over the probe, and on Sunday the NFL agreed to it, NFL.com reported.

Following Sunday's win in Oakland, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones called Richardson's situation 'very sad.'

'I'm saddened by any of the stories of the things that might have incited this at this time,' Jones said. 'He took what he made in his short time in pro football and turned it into a great business and then used that to get the Carolina franchise.'

The Panthers began play in 1995 but have never delivered on Richardson's promise of winning a Super Bowl. They lost after the 2003 and 2015 seasons.

Panthers interim general manager Marty Hurney said he had never seen any evidence of Richardson displaying any sexual or racial misconduct in the workplace.

'If this (sale) happens I think it is a significant loss for the NFL,' Hurney told The Associated Press. 'I have the utmost respect for him as an owner. Our employees have the utmost respect for him. I came back because of the respect I have for him and for the organization he started and developed.'

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton said after Sunday's win over Green Bay that Richardson has served as a father figure to him since his arrival in Carolina seven years ago.

'For me I hope things don't alter my thinking of Mr. Richardson,' Newton said. 'But I do know that he has given me some things that I will forever be appreciative of.'

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said after the game it is important to let the process play out.

'The only thing I can speak on is for what he has been to me as far as I'm concerned,' Rivera said. 'A lot of you know I had a house fire, and he was there for [my wife] Stephanie and I.

'He was tremendous in supporting us,' Rivera continued. 'My brother passed, and Mr. Richardson was there and helped me get to the funeral and back. I can't speak to anything other than that.'

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Richardson was hospitalized 2008, one month after receiving a pacemaker for heart problems. He underwent quadruple bypass surgery in 2002 and was placed on a donor waiting list for a new heart. He received the new heart on February 1, 2009, and has not had any known setbacks since.

It has already been a wild year for the Panthers organization.

Team president Danny Morrison abruptly resigned in February. Richardson then fired general manager Dave Gettleman on the eve of training camp and replaced him with Hurney on an interim basis.

Things have been equally turbulent for Kaepernick, who has accused all 32 owners of colluding against him in retaliation for the controversial protests.

The 30-year-old Kaepernick may have an argument.

In six seasons, Kaepernick helped guide the 49ers to two NFC championship games and one Super Bowl while completing 59.8 percent of his passes and 72 touchdown passes. He also threw only 30 interceptions over that time, helping him to post a very respectable quarterback rating of 88.9.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and injured Green Bay Packers signal caller Aaron Rodgers have both stated they believe Kaepernick has the ability to continue starting in the NFL. Brady declined to say whether or not Kaepernick is being blackballed, but Rodgers told ESPN that the protests are likely the only reason he's not in the NFL.

'He has paid the ultimate sacrifice in order to bring true everyday issues to light,' Kaepernick's former collegiate teammate at Nevada and current Tennessee Titans wide receiver Rishard Matthews wrote on Instagram.

Goodell will be deposed as part of Kaepernick's collusion case against the football league.

The Commissioner, several owners and at least two NFL executives will have to turn over cellphone records and emails in relation to the case, a legal insider told ESPN.

According to the lawsuit, '[The owners] have colluded to deprive Mr. Kaepernick of employment rights in retaliation for Mr. Kaepernick's leadership and advocacy for equality and social justice and his bringing awareness to peculiar institutions still undermining racial equality in the United States.'

Kaepernick made over $43 million during his NFL career and recently donated $900K of his $1 million pledge to organizations working within oppressed communities.

He also launched the 'Know Your Rights Camp,' which is a campaign Kaepernick funded to 'raise awareness on higher education, self-empowerment, and instruction to properly interact with law enforcement in various scenarios,' according to the organization's website.

Recently Kaepernick spent Thanksgiving with Native Americans on Alcatraz Island, honoring whose who occupied for the island for 19 months between 1969 and 1971 in an effort to compel the United States government to honor the Treaty of Fort Laramie.

Kaepernick is the youngest recipient of Sports Illustrated's Muhammad Ali Legacy Award, which began in 2008.

Other recipients have included Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver and Los Angeles Lakers legend and HIV activist Ervin 'Magic' Johnson. Last year the honor was shared by former Lakers center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Cleveland Browns legend Jim Brown, and former Boston Celtics center and coach Bill Russell, all of whom have been active proponents of civil rights.


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