Ex-Panthers owner Jerry Richardson has 'moved on' from statue, spokesman says

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Carolina Panthers have had no discussions about returning the Jerry Richardson statue to Bank of America Stadium and the team founder has no plan to legally fight to have it returned.

"He's turned the pages," Jim Gray, a spokesperson for Richardson, said Thursday. "He's moved on. The statue is not his focus.''

According to a report by the Charlotte Observer, citing sources, the removal of the statue is permanent.

The 12-foot statue was removed from the north entrance of the stadium on Wednesday with the team citing public safety concerns amid the racial unrest in the country.

Richardson sold the team in 2018 amid allegations of racial and sexual misconduct. There were concerns that protesters might tear down the statue. Other statues connected to racial injustice around the country have been pulled down by protesters since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis while in police custody on Memorial Day.

The removal of the Richardson statue began on Wednesday and was completed around 10:30 that night. The statue was kept on a flatbed in a storage area underneath the stadium through the night with the plan to move it to an undisclosed storage facility on Thursday.

New owner David Tepper was contractually obligated through the purchase of the stadium for $2.275 billion in 2018 to keep the statue where it had been since Richardson's limited partners presented it to him in 2016.

The safety issues gave Tepper an out to remove the statue.

Tepper is looking to build a domed stadium for the NFL team within the next 10 years. He would not be contractually obligated to put Richardson's statue outside that facility.

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