Shake-up continues among Panthers' top ranks

Shake-up continues among Panthers' top ranks

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — David Tepper is wasting no time in making clear that it’s a new era for the Carolina Panthers. Just days into his tenure as owner of the NFL franchise, multiple news reports indicate the team has fired its longtime top lawyer.

Richard Thigpen, the team’s general counsel, had been with the Panthers since 1997 and reportedly played a role in the nondisclosure agreements with former employees that ultimately led to the sale of the team by founder Jerry Richardson.

A bombshell report published by Sports Illustrated in December detailed financial settlements paid to and NDAs signed by former employees who had alleged sexual and racial harassment by Richardson. The NFL has since commissioned an investigation, led by independent former prosecutor Mary Jo White, which substantiated the claims of workplace misconduct. The league fined Richardson $2.75 million.

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In an introductory press conference with Charlotte reporters on Tuesday, Tepper declared the days of NDAs to be over for the Panthers organization.

“That was then. This is now,” he said. “This is going to be an open place where people are going to have the right people to talk to that come up with problems. And if I do something incredibly stupid, they should be talking about me. That’s what this place is going to be.”

A Panthers spokesman confirmed to CBJ Thursday afternoon that Thigpen is no longer with the organization.

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