Panthers fans respond to details of Richardson controversy published

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Reaction to the latest revelations connected to Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson was instant.

WFNZ's Kyle Bailey and his on-air partner, former Panther Frank Garcia, wasted no time in weighing on the Sports Illustrated bombshell detailing the alleged actions of the team's former top executive.

"I think there is a lot more gray area in this situation with Jerry Richardson, in this kind of situation, than there is with Bill Cosby," Garcia said.

Related: Ex-Panthers employee calls NFL investigation of Jerry Richardson a 'farce' in SI report

What is reported to be Jerry Richardson's handwriting, according to Sports Illustrated, is revealing.

Among the things he allegedly wrote were passages that say "If I could I'd pamper you more. Rub your feet. Shave your legs. Put lotion on your body."

Another note SI claims was penned by Richardson goes as far by saying "I regret I have never been able to give you pleasure."

"We don't know if that's his handwriting. I'm telling you right now that 'Sports Illustrated' isn't publishing that piece unless they feel good that that's his handwriting," Bailey said.

In March NFL commissioner Roger Goodell made it clear the league was still investigating Richardson for reported violations in the workplace.

Following the release of the SI article, the Panthers issued a statement that said, in part "[...] These claims are very serious in and we have cooperated with the NFL's investigation and remain fully committed to improving every facet of our organization."

Employment attorney Chris Strianese says the handwritten notes are damning.

"If there are from him, they are very much down the road a smoking gun," he said, "if they're not the smoking gun itself."

Strianese adds that laws for cases like these have not been updated.

"Most of the title seven of the Civil Rights Act in 1964," he said. "So you're talking about a very old law that was passed in a different time."

Carolina Panthers fans are ready for this part of the Panthers saga to be over.

"I'm ready for him to sell and this sad chapter to be closed," Joan Ellis said.

Fans like Ellis are ready for the next chapter.

"I hope we can move forward with this as a team, get new ownership in place, move on," Howard Henson said.

"Move on" – two words repeated by the Carolina Panthers loyal Thursday. Many are still proponents of the Panthers, but not necessarily the team owner.

"It is what it is," Monica Watson said. "Certain things you just can't do."

As the investigation continues on draft night, many fans are holding onto their allegiance.

"Until it comes out that that's the culture of the entire team, I'm still a Panthers fan," Watson said.

The NFL has been investigating since December, but there have not been any results yet.

Regarding the sale of the team, the Carolina Panthers are expected to have a new owner in place by May's league meetings in Atlanta.

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