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NFL: Panthers owner Jerry Richardson under investigation for workplace misconduct

NFL: Panthers owner Jerry Richardson under investigation for workplace misconduct
Panthers owner Jerry Richardson is seen before the 2016 NFC Championship game between his team and the Arizona Cardinals on Jan. 24, 2016. (Bob Leverone / Associated Press)

The Carolina Panthers founder and owner Jerry Richardson is under investigation for allegations of workplace misconduct.

The team said Friday former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles is overseeing the investigation by a Los Angeles-based law firm.

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Team spokesman Steven Drummond said in a release that the Panthers and the 81-year-old Richardson take these allegations very seriously and are fully committed to a full investigation and taking appropriate steps to address and remediate any misconduct.

"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 in the release. "We have work to do to achieve this goal, but we are going to meet it."

Richardson was unavailable for comment.

Drummond told the Associated Press because the matter is under legal review, the Panthers cannot comment publicly on the specifics of the allegations.

The Panthers made the NFL aware on Friday that it has initiated an investigation into Richardson’s alleged workplace misconduct.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league has no comment at this time.

The investigation against the team's only owner in franchise history is being led by international law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart and Sullivan, LLP, and will be overseen by Bowles, who is a minority owner.

Peterson on injured reserve

Adrian Peterson was placed on injured reserve because of a neck injury, ending the running back’s season after only six games with the Arizona Cardinals.

Acquired from New Orleans on Oct. 10, Peterson ran for 448 yards — 314 in his first three games — and two touchdowns in 129 carries and had nine catches for 66 yards for the Cardinals. He missed the last two games. In four games for the Saints, he ran for 81 yards in 24 carries and caught two passes for four yards.

"The good news is my neck injury doesn't require surgery, but I'm told by Dr. Robert Watkins that the best thing for me is just more rest than the length of the season," Peterson wrote on Instagram. "Obviously, I'm disappointed about going on IR when my body is still able to produce, but I look forward to returning completely healthy for another season in 2018. I'm grateful for the opportunity that the Arizona Cardinals have given me to show I can still contribute on an NFL team."

Peterson signed with the Saints during the offseason after spending his first 10 NFL seasons with the Minnesota Vikings. He came to the Cardinals to help replace David Johnson, the star running back who broke his left wrist in the season opener. With Peterson sidelined, Arizona has turned to Kerwynn Williams as the starter.

Peterson is under contract through next season.

"He'll heal fine," Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said. "I don't even think about next year. I have enough problems with Washington this week."

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Also Friday, the Cardinals acquired cornerback C.J. Goodwin off waivers from Atlanta. Goodwin appeared in 12 games for the Falcons this season.

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Jets bench Wilkerson

There will be no Mo in New Orleans.

The New York Jets have benched defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson for the game against the Saints on Sunday, the latest in what has become a string of discipline issues involving the franchise’s highest-paid player.

Coach Todd Bowles announced that Wilkerson will not travel with the team— just two weeks after the 2011 first-round draft pick was benched for most of the first quarter against Kansas City.

"It's a coach's decision," said Bowles, adding it was not injury-related.

Bowles would neither confirm nor deny the decision to leave Wilkerson home was a disciplinary action. But NJ Advance Media reported that Wilkerson was late for the Jets' team meeting on Friday morning.

"I'm just worried about the guys going to the game tomorrow, and I'm going to coach those 53 guys," Bowles said before repeating it several times when pushed for details.

Bowles also wouldn't say whether the benching could last for more than just one game.

More injuries

The Chiefs placed center Mitch Morse on injured reserve with a left foot injury and elevated cornerback Keith Reaser from the practice squad heading into an AFC West game against the Chargers. ... Bills coach Sean McDermott says the team has placed left tackle Cordy Glenn on injured reserve, ending his season. Glenn has missed the past five games with a foot and ankle injury that has bothered him since training camp. ... The Oakland Raiders will be without wide receiver Amari Cooper for Sunday night’s game against the Dallas Cowboys. Cooper aggravated a left ankle injury during last week’s loss to Kansas City after sitting out the previous game because of the same injury and a concussion. ... The Seattle Seahawks appear likely to be without at least one of their starting linebackers for Sunday’s matchup with the Rams. K.J. Wright has not practiced all week because of a concussion sustained last Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars. While not officially ruled out, Wright has all but run out of time to clear the league’s concussion protocol in time for Sunday’s game. He’s listed as doubtful to play against the Rams. Bobby Wagner will be a game-time decision. Wagner aggravated a hamstring strain early in the third quarter of the team’s 30-24 loss to the Jaguars and did not return. He’s also been unable to practice this week. ... The Minnesota Vikings likely may be without a pair of important offensive players on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. Left tackle Riley Reiff (ankle) and tight end Kyle Rudolph (ankle) were listed as doubtful on the team’s official injury report. Coach Mike Zimmer didn’t think Rudolph would play, although he held out hope for Reiff. ... Dallas defensive lineman David Irving will miss his second straight game with a concussion when the Cowboys visit Oakland on Sunday night, and cornerback Orlando Scandrick also is out again with a back injury. Linebacker Justin Durant also was ruled out Friday because of a concussion. ... Saints wide receiver Ted Ginn says he expects to play against the New York Jets despite being limited by sore ribs in practice this week. However, the Saints have ruled out starting linebacker A.J. Klein and defensive end Trey Hendrickson for Sunday’s game after they both left New Orleans’ Week 14 loss at Atlanta with injuries — Klein with a sore groin and Hendrickson with an ankle injury. ... Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette missed practice for the third consecutive day and was listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against Houston.

League issues fines

Saints coach Sean Payton, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, Jaguars offensive line coach Pat Flaherty and Jaguars wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell have been fined $10,000 each for improperly going on the field during Week 14 games. ... Seahawks offensive lineman Germain Ifedi was fined $24,309 by the NFL for verbal abuse of a game official. Ifedi was just one of several members of the Seahawks docked Friday for their actions in the 30-24 loss at Jacksonville last Sunday. Sheldon Richardson and Quinton Jefferson were both fined $9,115 for unnecessary roughness penalties that got them ejected from the game in the final minute. ... Jacksonville’s Fournette was also fined $12,154 for unsportsmanlike conduct. ... Houston’s Benardrick McKinney and Cincinnati’s Chris Smith were each docked $18,231 for roughing the passer penalties. San Francisco’s Garrett Celek was fined the same amount for a horsecollar tackle, while Pittsburgh’s Sean Davis has to pay $18,231 for unnecessary roughness after a hit out of bounds. ... Fined $9,115 for facemask penalties were: Carolina’s Matt Kalil, New Orleans’ Vonn Bell and the Chargers’ Korey Toomer.

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