CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The Carolina Panthers announced Monday that Tina Becker has been named Chief Operating Officer, with full control of the day-to-day management of the organization, amid allegations against team owner Jerry Richardson.
"These have been some of the most difficult days of my 19 years with the Panthers, but I am lifted up by the strong resolve and the commitment our employees have shown to this organization," Becker said in an article on Panthers.com. "Our team on the field is performing at a very high level, and I believe is bound for the Super Bowl. My immediate focus will be to ensure the corporate side of the organization performs at the same high level, while addressing the real concerns that have been raised in recent days."
The announcement comes just one day after Richardson said he would be selling the franchise at the end of this season.
The Panthers announced the investigation Friday as an internal investigation led by the outside international law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart and Sullivan, LLP, and overseen by limited owner and former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles.
Questions surfaced of how fair the Panthers would be in conducting an internal investigation of Richardson, and national sportswriters asked why the NFL didn't start its own investigation.
However, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said Sunday that the league would hire an independent law firm to lead the investigation.
Sports Illustrated reported Sunday that at least four former Carolina Panthers employees have received "significant" monetary settlements as a result of inappropriate workplace comments and conduct by owner Richardson.
The conduct, Sports Illustrated reported, included "sexually suggestive language and behavior, and on at least one occasion directing a racial slur at an African-American Panthers scout."
SI said the settlements included non-disclosure agreements, forbidding the people involved from discussing the matter.
According to the Panthers, Becker has worked for the organization "and served in key roles along the way, including directing the organization's business and administrative priorities, as well as dealing with league affairs."
The move, officials say, will make Becker one of the highest-ranking female executives for any of the 32 teams in the National Football League.
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