Conduct investigation led to resignation of Panthers' DBs coach

ByDavid Newton ESPN logo
Friday, May 4, 2018

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Carolina Panthers announced Friday that Wednesday's resignation of defensive backs coach Curtis Fuller came amid complaints of workplace misconduct.

The resignation occurred while the NFL continues to investigate team owner Jerry Richardson for sexual harassment and workplace misconduct.

Fuller's conduct toward women was "inappropriate," according to a source.

"After approaching Coach Fuller with the findings of an investigation into complaints of inappropriate conduct, we accepted his resignation,'' team spokesperson Steven Drummond said in a statement. "The Panthers are deeply 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."

Fuller, 39, had been with the Panthers since 2013. He was promoted to defensive backs coach last year after Steve Wilks was promoted to defensive coordinator.

Fuller's resignation came a week after one of at least three women who say they were harassed by Richardson called out the team owner, the organization, coach Ron Rivera and the NFL through letters printed by Sports Illustrated. The woman called the NFL's investigation into Richardson "a farce.''

The Panthers responded with a statement about trying to create a workplace environment "in which our staff can feel proud to work.''

"Tina Becker was named COO in December, and immediately began working towards addressing the issues," that statement said. "The team allocated significant resources towards reforming our workplace, restructured executive responsibilities and added a comprehensive training program on harassment and diversity and inclusion issues.

"We have overhauled our related policies and procedures, including improvements in our reporting to the league, all to make certain that employees who have a concern have multiple ways to report those concerns and can feel comfortable doing so."

Richardson announced in December that he would sell the team. South Carolina billionaire Ben Navarro appears to be the front-runner to purchase the Panthers.