The Carolina Panthers have removed the statue of former owner Jerry Richardson that was in front of Bank of America Stadium, in Charlotte, N.C.
After a report made by WSOC-TV, the Panthers released a statement on the situation, saying that the statue was being removed in the interest of public safety.
“We were aware of the most recent conversation surrounding the Jerry Richardson statue and are concerned there may be attempts to take it down. We are moving the statue in the interest of public safety,” the Panthers said on the team's official Twitter account.
Jim Gray, a spokesman for Richardson, put out a statement on behalf of the former Panthers owner.
"Mr. Richardson has made no public comments about the Panthers or the NFL since the sale of the team and doesn't plan to do so now as a private citizen. He has worked to treat all people fairly in his business and personal lives and, like many other Americans, is troubled by recent events in Minneapolis, Charlotte and around the country."
David Tepper bought the Panthers from Richardson in 2017 after the former owner was accused of sexual harassment and using a racial slur. He was then fined $2.75 million in June 2018 for the alleged workplace misconduct. Richardson bought the franchise in 1993, and the Panthers eventually joined the NFL in 1995. During his time as owner, the Panthers made two Super Bowls.
Panthers safety Tre Boston said that Richardson restricted players from protesting during his first stint with the team in 2016. Boston spoke to the NFL Network recently about the incident.
“In 2016, I saw a world that, even with peaceful protesting, didn’t understand and was not willing to listen,” Boston told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. “Looking back, it was hard times because we were screaming back then about how we need help, how we wanted to help the community and show we are one."
“It’s tough when you hear from the top down, ‘people come to watch football and get away from that stuff.’ You get open-end promises, then weeks go by and nothing gets said or brought up. They did what they wanted.”
During his interview with Rapoport, Boston said things are now different in Carolina.
“It’s not like that anymore and they promised me it wasn’t like that anymore when I came back,” Boston said. “I had plenty of calls saying they appreciate what I’m doing and want to help and even Tepper [called] to say he appreciated how I was out there with the guys, and it is a 180 from what they used to be.”