Charlotte, NC (WLTX, AP) - Carolina Panthers founder and owner Jerry Richardson will sell the team, a move that comes hours after the NFL announced they're investigating claims of workplace misconduct made against him.
Richardson released the statement just before 8 p.m. Sunday night. In the letter, he does not mention the pending investigation.
He says the team will be put up for sale at the end of the season.
"I believe it is time to turn the franchise over to new ownership," Richardson wrote. "We will not begin the sale process, nor will we entertain any inquiries, until the very last game is played. I hope everyone in this organization, both on and off the field, will be firmly focused on just one mission: to play and win the Super Bowl."
Richardson said there was no greater mission or purpose in his life than to have brought an NFL franchise to Charlotte. "The obstacles back then were significant, and some even questioned whether oru community could or would support professional football. But I always knew that if given the chance, the Carolina would rise to the occasion."
Richardson say he would always be "the Panthers Number One fan."
Hours earlier, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in an email to The Associated Press that the league would be handling the investigation into claims made against Richardson.
The Panthers announced Friday the 81-year Richardson was under investigation, but declined to provide any details.
Team spokesman Steven Drummond said in a release that the Panthers take these allegations very seriously and are committed to a full investigation.