NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said Sunday in an email to The Associated Press that the league will handle the investigation rather than the team, as originally planned.
Panthers spokesman Steven Drummond said Sunday the team requested the league take over the investigation.
“We thought it would be best for transparency reasons,” Drummond told The Associated Press.
The investigation was originally going to be led by the law firm of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart and Sullivan, LLP, and overseen by Erskine Bowles, a minority owner with the Panthers.
Drummond also said Richardson was planning to attend Sunday’s game against the Packers at Bank of America Stadium. Richardson has declined comment through the team while the investigation is ongoing.
The team announced Friday the 81-year Richardson was under investigation, but declined to provide any details.
Drummond said in a release that the Panthers take these allegations very seriously and are committed to a full investigation.
Members of the organization have been mostly quiet on the situation, although coach Ron Rivera said in a statement he has “enormous respect for the man, but will wait for the results of the investigation before making any judgment.”
Richardson, a former football player with the Baltimore Colts, is responsible for bringing the NFL to the Carolinas in 1993 when the Panthers joined the league as an expansion team.
The Panthers began play two years later in 1995.
It has been a whirlwind year for the organization.
Team president Danny Morrison abruptly resigned in February. Richardson then fired general manager Dave Gettleman on the eve of training camp and replaced him with former general manager Marty Hurney on an interim basis. It was a surprising move considering Carolina made the playoffs three times in four seasons under Gettleman.