The Carolina Panthers on Wednesday removed a statue of former team owner Jerry Richardson from in front of Bank of America Stadium in uptown "in the interest of public safety."
A source told the Charlotte Observer that the removal may be temporary and that the statue is coming down in case protesters try to topple it and get hurt. The statue is 13 feet tall. Richardson sold the team in 2018 after being accused in 2017 of sexual and workplace misconduct.
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.— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) June 10, 2020
Protests have taken place in cities across the U.S. in recent weeks to demand an end to systemic racism and police brutality. Some Confederate statues have been pulled down or defaced by protesters.
There had been questions about whether the statue would stay up under new ownership.
New owner David Tepper, when asked about Richardson's legacy in 2018, said he was "contractually obligated to keep that statue as it is."
Work on removing the statue started as soon as the news broke on Wednesday.
Just after 3 p.m., the statue had been hoisted from its perch. The statues depicting two snarling panthers that flanked Richardson were also removed.
A spokesperson for Jerry Richardson sent the following statement Wednesday afternoon:
"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."
The statue had been in front of the stadium since 2016.
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