Panthers sale official; Richardson pens letter

The Panthers officially belong to David Tepper.

The sale of the NFL franchise became official Monday. Tepper, a hedge-fund billionaire, said "I am thrilled to begin this new era of Carolina Panthers football and am humbled by the overwhelming excitement and support for the team. On behalf of the fans and myself, I thank Jerry Richardson for bringing the team to the Carolinas and for entrusting me with its future. Winning is the most important thing both on the field and in the community, and I am committed to winning a Super Bowl championship together. I look forward to being part of the Panthers' family and to supporting this flourishing region."

Richardson, who is out after 23 seasons, penned a farewell letter posted on the Panthers website.

Richardson wrote that he wished Tepper all the best and that the "team is in good hands."

The NFL fined Richardson a record $2.75 million at the conclusion of a long investigation into alleged misconduct. The chain of events which led to his removal as owner began with a Sports Illustrated article in December.

The shakeup of the organization continued Monday as Tina Becker, the Panthers' chief operating officer, also resigned. Becker is departing the team after 19 years. Becker became chief operating officer last December as Richardson stepped down.

She started as the team's director of entertainment and moved her way up the front office.
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