Former NC NAACP president recalls doing deal with Panthers owner

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - For our local NFL team owner, now in the eye of the storm, has some in Charlotte's civil rights community shaking their heads regarding the suggested actions of racial discrimination against Jerry Richardson.

Before the Panthers ever took the field back in the 90's, Richardson brought a deal to town that was deeply rooted in inclusion.

Kelly Alexander Jr. was the president of the North Carolina NAACP, when Richardson signed a fair share agreement with the group nearly 25 years ago.

"Up until this time, I really haven't heard anything negative about the management," Alexander said.

The agreement was hatched out while the restaurant group, Flagstar, Richardson headed with Denny's in its portfolio, was under fire for alleged racial discrimination.

In 1993 Richardson said, "It has to do with fairness. It's strictly fairness and economic empowerment, but it's commitment to fairness across our company."

The deal provided minority participation in the construction at Bank of American Stadium, opportunities in the team's front office and community outreach.

Attorney John Gresham has settled matters with clients making accusations similar to complaints against Richardson.

"It's a big deal because of who Jerry Richardson is," he said. "Typically all those agreements say that we haven't done anything wrong. However, we are resolving this to avoid the time and expense."

Meanwhile, Alexander sees a much bigger picture.

He's asking, "How any of this plays in terms our ability to maintain the team here in the Queen City?"

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