Photo: Streeter Lecka (Getty)

Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson has been hit with a $2.75 million fine following an NFL investigation that concluded the ā€œallegations of improper workplace conditionsā€ against him were ā€œsubstantiated,ā€ according to a league statement.

The investigation, which began in December after Richardson was accused by former Panthers employees of sexual harassment and making racist comments, was overseen by Mary Jo White, a former federal prosecutor and chairman of the SEC.

Richardsonā€™s fine is slightly higher than the $2.5 million levy the NBA hit thenā€“Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling with in 2014, after Sterling was caught on tape making racist comments. The NBA also banned Sterling for life and forced him to sell the franchise; the NFLā€™s statement said nothing about any kind of ban for Richardson, though Richardson did agree to step away from the Panthersā€™ daily operations and to sell the team soon after the allegations against him first surfaced in a Sports Illustrated story. Last month, the league approved a $2.275 billion sale of the Panthers to hedge fund orc David Tepper. That sale is expected to close in a few weeks.

The NFLā€™s statement avoided making any reference to specific allegations of sexual harassment and racism against Richardson, noting only that ā€œthe review identified each of the allegations that has been publicly reported as well as similar matters that have not been the subject of public discussionā€ before adding that ā€œit did substantiate the claims that have been made, and identified no information that would either discredit the claims made or that would undermine the veracity of the employees who have made those claims.ā€


The statement went on to say Whiteā€™s investigation found that the ā€œimproper conduct was limited toā€ Richardson alone, and that the Panthers did not report any claims to the league office until the allegations were made public in December. One of Whiteā€™s recommendations included a league-wide ā€œspecific prohibition of using Non-Disclosure Agreements to limit reporting of potential violations or cooperation in League investigations under the Personal Conduct Policy.ā€

The money collected from Richardsonā€™s fine will largely ā€œbe used to support the work of organizations dedicated to addressing race- and gender-based issues in and outside of the workplace,ā€ the league said.