The NFL is taking over the investigation into allegations of workplace misconduct made against team owner and founder Jerry Richardson, sources informed of the situation told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport.
The Panthers initially announced Friday that they were launching an internal investigation in the allegations. The team, however, suggested to the league on Sunday that it take over the probe, and the NFL agreed to it, Rapoport reported.
"The Carolina Panthers and Mr. Richardson take these allegations very seriously and are fully committed to a full investigation and taking appropriate steps to address and remediate any misconduct," team spokesman Steven Drummond said in a statement released by the Panthers on Friday. "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. We have work to do to achieve this goal, but we are going to meet it."
Rivera was asked about the league's investigation into Richardson and the allegations against the owner following Sunday's win over the Packers.
"My comment on it is I really have no comment other than to say that I know that there's an investigation that's going to go on, we'll let that take its course, let it go through the process," Rivera said. "The only thing I can speak on is what he's been to me as far as I'm concerned. A lot of you know I had a house fire and he was there for Stephanie and I. He was tremendous in supporting us. My brother passed and Mr. Richardson was there and helped me get to the funeral and back. I can't speak on anything other than that and that's one thing I can say as far as I'm concerned."
Rivera also said he addressed the situation with his players.
"I told the guys I do not have a lot information out there," Rivera said. "I don't know what's been written or what's been said. All I know is what Mr. Richardson has been for me and has been very supportive. You guys know my second year he could have easily fired me after it. He and I sat down and he gave me an opportunity to go into my third season and this is where I am today. So you're guessing at this point and we'll just let the process unfold."
"I just recently seen the internal investigation about all that," Panthers quarterback Cam Newton said. "One thing about it, Mr. Richardson has been an unbelievable source in my life. I can't really speak on nobody else, but I have conversations that, because in my life, it's hard for me to talk to certain people with them not being able to understand where I'm coming from. And I found a place of refuge with Mr. Richardson."
Newton added: "That's a very serious, that's something extremely serious right now, especially when you see so many people getting picked out because of things that they've done in the past. I don't take that lightly, I was just telling you my personal experiences with Mr. Richardson and how he's had such a father-like role to a lot of players in that locker room that's present and past. For me, I hope things doesn't alter my thinking of Mr. Richardson. But for what I do know, he's given me some things that I just will forever be appreciative for him."
Richardson, 81, played two NFL seasons with the Baltimore Colts in 1959-1960. In 1993, he became the first former player since George Halas to own an NFL team when the league awarded him the league's 29th franchise.