- Sean 'Diddy' Combs wants to buy the Carolina Panthers and sign Kaepernick, a free agent quarterback who is suing the NFL for allegedly colluding against him
- Kaepernick responded by saying he, too, wants to go in on the team with Diddy
- Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, 81, announced that he will sell the franchise
- NFL said it's investigating Richardson over sexual harassment claims
- Golden State Warriors guard, North Carolina native and former NBA MVP Stephen Curry also wants to buy the team: 'Holla at me, let’s get it'
- New report reveals four former Panthers employees have received settlements
- Complaints involved inappropriate sexual and racial remarks in workplace
- Richardson said to have used the 'seatbelt maneuver' to touch breasts
- Other women claim he gave lingering massages and offered to shave their legs
Published: 11:36 EST, 18 December 2017 | Updated: 14:04 EST, 18 December 2017
Richardson, the 81-year-old owner of the Charlotte, North Carolina team, came under scrutiny after a Sunday report documenting wide-ranging claims of workplace misconduct (file photo)
Controversial free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick hopes to join entertainer Sean 'Diddy' Combs in purchasing the Carolina Panthers from embattled founder Jerry Richardson, who recently announced his intention to sell the team following allegations of sexual harassment and racism.
'I want in on the ownership group!' Kaepernick tweeted Monday. 'Let’s make it happen!'
On Sunday Combs said he wanted to buy the team and hire Kaepernick to play quarterback after a Sports Illustrated report documented wide-ranging claims of workplace misconduct against Richardson.
Former Panthers employees spoke of lewd remarks, lingering gazes and inappropriate touching, and at least one occasion of a racial slur directed against an African-American employee.
Kaepernick became the first NFL player to peacefully protest inequality and police brutality against minorities during the 2016 season by refusing to stand during the national anthem.
He's remained unsigned since March, when he opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers. Currently Kaepernick is suing the league, claiming all 32 owners have colluded to blacklist him in retaliation for the protests, which have continued this season despite significant public criticism.
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Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, now wants to buy the Carolina Panthers with Sean 'Diddy' Combs. The Panthers are currently valued at $2.3billion, meaning Combs with his estimated net worth of $820million would likely need partners
Combs said his first order of business would be hiring Colin Kaepernick (pictured) who opted out of his contract with the 49ers in March and has not been signed by another team
Sean 'Diddy' Combs (left) has said he wants to buy the Carolina Panthers, drawing a response from Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry (right) who says he also wants in
The Panthers are currently valued at $2.3billion, meaning Combs with his estimated net worth of $820million would likely need partners – if his plan is in fact a serious one.
On that point, Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry hopped on the bandwagon, tweeting at Combs: 'I want in!'
'Holla at me, let’s get it!' replied Combs.
'Also, I will have the best halftime show, the best selection of music, and we will win Super Bowl after Super Bowl,' Combs said.
Combs touted his plan as history-making, tweeting: 'There are no majority African American NFL owners. Let’s make history.'
'It's time for diversity!! It's time for Black ownership!!' he wrote.
While Richardson does plan to sell, negotiations are not imminent.
'I believe it is time to turn the franchise over to new ownership,' Richardson wrote in a team statement. 'Therefore, I will put the team up for sale at the conclusion of this NFL season. We will not begin the sales process, nor will we entertain any inquiries, until the very last game is played.'
At least four former Panthers employees have received 'significant' monetary settlements due to inappropriate workplace behavior by Richardson, according to the report.
In a statement, the team said it had opened its own investigation into the claims and 'welcome the involvement of the NFL'.
The NFL on Sunday said it has taken over the investigation of allegations of workplace misconduct. Panthers spokesman Steven Drummond said Sunday the team requested the league take over the investigation for 'transparency reasons.'
'The Carolina Panthers and Mr. Richardson take these allegations very seriously and are fully committed to a full investigation and taking appropriate steps to address and remediate any misconduct,' Drummond said.
Richardson's wife gives him a kiss in the owners' box on Sunday. A new report claims that he has settled at least four misconduct complaints with 'significant' cash payouts
Richardson penned an open letter on Sunday announcing his decision to sell the team
Under Fire: Jerry Richardson is seen watching the Panthers play at home on Sunday, as the NFL announced it would open an investigation into him over sexual misconduct allegations
'The entire organization is fully 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,' Drummond said.
The new SI report did not name sources, citing confidentiality agreements in the settlement deals and fear of retaliation.
Richardson, who himself played in the NFL as a halfback and wide receiver for the Baltimore Colts from 1959 to 1960, made his fortune in the food services industry, running the company best known for operating chains such as Denny's and Hardees.
The 81-year-old Richardson acquired his majority stake in the franchise in 1993 at a value of $206million, and the team is now valued at $2.3billion by Forbes.
The new report claims that his alleged inappropriate workplace conduct was well known among Panthers employees and something of a running joke.
'No one ever said anything, at least not that I heard,' one former Panthers employee told SI. 'He was the boss. It was [viewed] more of a creepy-old-man thing than a threat.'
Sources told the outlet that Richardson would focus his comments to female employees on their appearance, offering to pay for manicures and in one case suggesting that a female employee let him shave her legs.
Another frequent occurrence was the 'seatbelt maneuver,' in which Richardson would open a car door for a woman and then buckle her seatbelt for her, brushing up against her breasts in the process, according to the report.
At least four former Panthers employees have received 'significant' monetary settlements due to inappropriate workplace behavior by Richardson (left), according to the report (file photo)
Richardson allegedly focused his comments to female employees on their appearance, offering to pay for manicures and in one case offering to shave a woman's legs (file photo)
PANTHERS FULL STATEMENT ON ALLEGATIONS
The Carolina Panthers recently commenced an internal investigation into allegations of workplace misconduct against the team's owner and founder, Jerry Richardson. We welcome the involvement of the NFL.
'The Carolina Panthers and Mr. Richardson take these allegations very seriously and are fully committed to a full investigation and taking appropriate steps to address and remediate any misconduct,' team spokesman Steven Drummond said.
'The entire organization is fully 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.'
Because this matter is under an ongoing legal review, the Carolina Panthers cannot comment publicly on the specifics of the allegations.
Other sources spoke of Richardson giving massages that went on for too long, or wandered too low down the spine.
'You look back and it's wackadoo,' one former Carolina employee told SI.
'You felt preyed upon. You felt fear. You felt self-doubt. But when you're in [that environment], everywhere you go, every family gathering, it's, 'Oh, you work in the NFL? That's so cool.' And you don't want to lose your job.'
'Jeans Fridays' were the occasion for frequent inappropriate remarks from Richardson, the sources said.
'Show me how you wiggle to get those jeans up. I bet you had to lay down on your bed to fit into those jeans,' Richardson would say, or words to that effect, the sources said.
In an uncomfortable callback to antebellum culture, employees say that Richardson was universally known simply as 'Mister'.
'It was a power culture. You did what Mister said, when he said it,' one former employee told the magazine.
'He thinks he's really great. You're supposed to reinforce that… Even when he does things that make you feel like half a person, that you know are wrong.'
Employees say that Richardson (seen in 2003) was universally known simply as 'Mister'. 'It was a power culture. You did what Mister said, when he said it,' one former employee said
In the case of one African-American scout for the Panthers, Richardson allegedly directed a racial slur him. The scout left the team this year, reportedly after negotiating a confidential settlement.
Richardson has been a majority owner of the Charlotte-based team since it began playing in the NFL as an expansion franchise in 1995.
Neither he nor a team spokesman could be reached for comment on the league taking over the probe or reports about the accusations.
The Panthers said Friday that law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart and Sullivan would lead the internal investigation, with former White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles, a minority team owner, would overseeing the probe.
The Panthers had urged the league to take over the probe, and on Sunday the NFL agreed to it, NFL.com reported.
Following Sunday's win in Oakland, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones called Richardson's situation 'very sad.'
'I'm saddened by any of the stories of the things that might have incited this at this time,' Jones said. 'He took what he made in his short time in pro football and turned it into a great business and then used that to get the Carolina franchise.'
The Panthers began play in 1995 but have never delivered on Richardson's promise of winning a Super Bowl. They lost after the 2003 and 2015 seasons.
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones (left) with soon-to-be former Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson (right) before a 2012 game at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte
Panthers interim general manager Marty Hurney said he had never seen any evidence of Richardson displaying any sexual or racial misconduct in the workplace.
'If this (sale) happens I think it is a significant loss for the NFL,' Hurney told The Associated Press. 'I have the utmost respect for him as an owner. Our employees have the utmost respect for him. I came back because of the respect I have for him and for the organization he started and developed.'
Panthers quarterback Cam Newton said after Sunday's win over Green Bay that Richardson has served as a father figure to him since his arrival in Carolina seven years ago.
'For me I hope things don't alter my thinking of Mr. Richardson,' Newton said. 'But I do know that he has given me some things that I will forever be appreciative of.'
Panthers coach Ron Rivera said after the game it is important to let the process play out.
'The only thing I can speak on is for what he has been to me as far as I'm concerned,' Rivera said. 'A lot of you know I had a house fire, and he was there for [my wife] Stephanie and I.
'He was tremendous in supporting us,' Rivera continued. 'My brother passed, and Mr. Richardson was there and helped me get to the funeral and back. I can't speak to anything other than that.'
Colin Kaepernick (No. 7) is suing the league, claiming the 32 owners colluded against him in retaliation for the controversial protests over inequality and police brutality against minorities
Richardson was hospitalized 2008, one month after receiving a pacemaker for heart problems. He underwent quadruple bypass surgery in 2002 and was placed on a donor waiting list for a new heart. He received the new heart on February 1, 2009, and has not had any known setbacks since.
It has already been a wild year for the Panthers 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 Hurney on an interim basis.
Things have been equally turbulent for Kaepernick, who has accused all 32 owners of colluding against him in retaliation for the controversial protests.
The 30-year-old Kaepernick may have an argument.
In six seasons, Kaepernick helped guide the 49ers to two NFC championship games and one Super Bowl while completing 59.8 percent of his passes and 72 touchdown passes. He also threw only 30 interceptions over that time, helping him to post a very respectable quarterback rating of 88.9.
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and injured Green Bay Packers signal caller Aaron Rodgers have both stated they believe Kaepernick has the ability to continue starting in the NFL. Brady declined to say whether or not Kaepernick is being blackballed, but Rodgers told ESPN that the protests are likely the only reason he's not in the NFL.
City Council Members, including Jumaane Williams (center right) and Melissa Mark-Viverto (center left) 'take a knee' on the steps of City Hall in reaction to President Donald Trump's condemnation of NFL players who do the same on September 27, 2017 in New York City
'He has paid the ultimate sacrifice in order to bring true everyday issues to light,' Kaepernick's former collegiate teammate at Nevada and current Tennessee Titans wide receiver Rishard Matthews wrote on Instagram.
Goodell will be deposed as part of Kaepernick's collusion case against the football league.
According to the lawsuit, '[The owners] have colluded to deprive Mr. Kaepernick of employment rights in retaliation for Mr. Kaepernick's leadership and advocacy for equality and social justice and his bringing awareness to peculiar institutions still undermining racial equality in the United States.'
Kaepernick made over $43 million during his NFL career and recently donated $900K of his $1 million pledge to organizations working within oppressed communities.
He also launched the 'Know Your Rights Camp,' which is a campaign Kaepernick funded to 'raise awareness on higher education, self-empowerment, and instruction to properly interact with law enforcement in various scenarios,' according to the organization's website.
Recently Kaepernick spent Thanksgiving with Native Americans on Alcatraz, honoring whose who occupied for the island for 19 months between 1969 and 1971 in an effort to compel the United States government to honor the Treaty of Fort Laramie.
A coalition of advocacy groups 'take a knee' outside of a hotel where the quarterly NFL league meetings were held on October 17, 2017 in Manhattan
The post Kaepernick wants to buy Carolina Panthers with Diddy appeared first on News Wire Now.
Saudi women in Sydney: Sisters’ bodies lay undiscovered for a month
Australian police are baffled after the bodies of two Saudi women, believed to have lain undiscovered for a month, were found in a Sydney apartment.
Sisters Asra Abdullah Alsehli, 24, and Amaal Abdullah Alsehli, 23, were found dead on 7 June in separate beds at home in the suburb of Canterbury.
Police, who were called to the property for a welfare check, said the women are believed to have died in early May.
But despite “extensive inquiries”, they still do not know how or why.
The sisters moved to Australia from Saudi Arabia in 2017 and may have sought asylum, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. Police refused to confirm this, saying they do not comment on residential status.
A human rights organisation said it should be established whether the women fled Saudi Arabia because of domestic violence or harsh laws governing women. However, there is no evidence this is the case.
Police said they had been in contact with the women’s family, which is assisting them with inquiries.
Lina al-Hathloul, head of monitoring and communications at Saudi human rights organisation ALQST, said it “would not be the first case” of Saudi women who were killed abroad after fleeing domestic violence.
“There are no protections for women who are victims of domestic violence in Saudi Arabia, so they flee abroad,” she told the BBC.
She added: “I’m not saying that is the case here, just that we need a thorough investigation. It is frustrating not to have any information.”
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, there had been signs that something was wrong.
Last year, the women told their building manager they thought someone was tampering with their food deliveries, the paper reported.
A plumber who visited the apartment also said he believed there was “something mysterious” going on, and that police had been called in the past over concerns for the women.
New South Wales Police issued a renewed plea to the public on Wednesday, saying “any piece of information” could be the key to solving this case.
The local community is close-knit, police said in a statement, asking anyone who may have known or seen the women to come forward.
A report from Australian current affairs programme Four Corners in 2019 found 80 Saudi women had tried to seek asylum in Australia in recent years. Many of them were fleeing male guardianship laws.
Australia election: Why is Australia’s parliament so white?
With this year’s election, political parties did have a window to slightly improve this. But they chose not to in most cases, critics say.
Tu Le grew up the child of Vietnamese refugees in Fowler, a south-west Sydney electorate far from the city’s beaches, and one of the poorest urban areas in the country.
The 30-year-old works as a community lawyer for refugees and migrants newly arrived to the area.
Last year, she was pre-selected by the Labor Party to run in the nation’s most multicultural seat. But then party bosses side-lined her for a white woman.
It would take Kristina Kenneally four hours on public transport – ferry, train, bus, and another bus – to get to Fowler from her home in Sydney’s Northern Beaches, where she lived on an island.
Furious locals questioned what ties she had to the area, but as one of Labor’s most prominent politicians, she was granted the traditionally Labor-voting seat.
Ms Le only learned she’d been replaced on the night newspapers went to print with the story.
“I was conveniently left off the invitation to the party meeting the next day,” she told the BBC.
Despite backlash – including a Facebook group where locals campaigned to stop Ms Kenneally’s appointment – Labor pushed through the deal.
“If this scenario had played out in Britain or the United States, it would not be acceptable,” says Dr Tim Soutphomassane, director of the Sydney Policy Lab and Australia’s former Race Discrimination Commissioner.
“But in Australia, there is a sense that you can still maintain the status quo with very limited social and political consequences.”
An insiders’ game
At least one in five Australians have a non-European background and speak a language at home other than English, according to the last census in 2016.
Some 49% of the population was born or has a parent who was born overseas. In the past 20 years, migrants from Australia’s Asian neighbours have eclipsed those from the UK.
But the parliament looks almost as white as it did in the days of the “White Australia” policy – when from 1901 to the 1970s, the nation banned non-white immigrants.
“We simply do not see our multicultural character represented in anything remotely close to proportionate form in our political institutions,” says Dr Soutphomassane.
Compared to other Western multicultural democracies, Australia also lags far behind.
The numbers below include Indigenous Australians, who did not gain suffrage until the 1960s, and only saw their first lower house MP elected in 2010. Non-white candidates often acknowledge that any progress was first made by Aboriginal Australians.
Two decades ago, Australia and the UK had comparably low representation. But UK political parties – responding to campaigns from diverse members – pledged to act on the problem.
“The British Conservative Party is currently light years ahead of either of the major Australian political parties when it comes to race and representation,” says Dr Soutphomassane.
So why hasn’t Australia changed?
Observers say Australia’s political system is more closed-door than other democracies. Nearly all candidates chosen by the major parties tend to be members who’ve risen through the ranks. Often they’ve worked as staffers to existing MPs.
Ms Le said she’d have no way into the political class if she hadn’t been sponsored by Fowler’s retiring MP – a white, older male.
Labor has taken small structural steps recently – passing commitments in a state caucus last year, and selecting two Chinese-Australian candidates for winnable seats in Sydney.
But it was “one step forward and two steps back”, says party member and activist Osmond Chiu, when just weeks after the backlash to Ms Le’s case, Labor “parachuted in” another white candidate to a multicultural heartland.
Andrew Charlton, a former adviser to ex-PM Kevin Rudd, lived in a harbour mansion in Sydney’s east where he ran a consultancy.
His selection scuppered the anticipated races of at least three diverse candidates from the area which has large Indian and Chinese diasporas.
Party seniors argued that Ms Kenneally and Mr Charlton – as popular and respected party figures – would be able to promote their electorates’ concerns better than newcomers.
Labor leader Anthony Albanese also hailed Ms Kenneally as a “great Australian success story” as a migrant from the US herself.
But Mr Chiu says: “A lot of the frustration that people expressed wasn’t about these specific individuals.
“It was about the fact that these were two of the most multicultural seats in Australia and these opportunities – which come by so rarely – to select culturally diverse candidates were squandered.”
He adds this has long-term effects because the average MP stays in office for about 10 years.
The frustration on this issue has centred on Labor – because the centre-left party calls itself the “party of multiculturalism”.
But the Liberal-National government doesn’t even have diversity as a platform issue.
One of its MPs up for re-election recently appeared to confuse her Labor rival for Tu Le, sparking accusations that she’d mixed up the two Asian-Australian women – something she later denied. But as one opponent said: “How is this still happening in 2022?”
Some experts like Dr Soutphommasane have concluded that Australia’s complacency on areas like representation stems from how the nation embraced multiculturalism as official policy after its White Australia days.
The government of the 1970s, somewhat embarrassed by the past policy, passed racial discrimination laws and “a seat at the table” was granted to migrants and Indigenous Australians.
But critics say this has led to an Australia where multiculturalism is celebrated but racial inequality is not interrogated.
“Multiculturalism is almost apolitical in how it’s viewed in Australia,” Dr Soutphommasane says, in contrast to the “fight” for rights that other Western countries have seen from minority groups.
What is the impact?
A lack of representation in parliament can also lead to failures in policy.
During Sydney’s Covid outbreak in August 2021, Fowler and Parramatta electorates – where most of the city’s multicultural communities reside – were subject to harsher lockdowns as a result of a higher number of cases.
How will things change?
Liberal MP Dave Sharma, the only lawmaker of Indian heritage, has said all parties – including his own – should better recruit people with different backgrounds. He called it a “pretty laissez-faire attitude” currently.
Mr Albanese has urged Ms Le to “hang in there”, insisting she has a future.
But more people like Ms Le are choosing to speak out.
“I think I surprised a lot of people by not staying quiet,” she told the BBC.
“People acted like it was the end of my political career that I didn’t toe the party line. But… none of that means anything to me if it means I’m sacrificing my own values.”
She and other second-generation Australians – raised in a country which prides itself on “a fair go” – are agitating for the rights and access their migrant parents may not have felt entitled to.
“Many of those from diverse backgrounds were saying they felt like they didn’t have a voice – and that my case was a clear demonstration of their suppression, and their wider participation in our political system.”
She and others have noted the “growing distrust” in the major parties. Polls are predicting record voter support for independent candidates.
“This issue…. matters for everyone in Australian society that cares about democracy,” says Mr Soutphommasane.
“If democratic institutions are not representative, their legitimacy will suffer.
Scott Morrison effectively ditches his promise to establish a federal anti-corruption commission
Scott Morrison has effectively abandoned his promise to establish a federal anti-corruption watchdog, confirming he would only proceed with legislation in the new parliament if Labor agreed to pass the Coalition’s heavily criticised proposal without amendments.
Morrison pledged before the 2019 election to legislate a federal integrity body in the parliamentary term that has just ended. The prime minister broke that promise, failing to introduce his own proposal before the 46th parliament was prorogued.
On the hustings on Wednesday, Morrison was asked – given his previous undertaking to create the body – whether he would promise to put his proposal to a vote in the next parliament in the event the Coalition won the 21 May election.
Morrison declined to make that promise. “Our position on this hasn’t changed,” the prime minister said. “Our view has been the same – when the Labor party is prepared to support that legislation in that form, then we will proceed with it.”
The prime minister has attempted to inoculate himself from criticism about breaking an election promise by saying he tabled the integrity commission proposal in the parliament.
Tabling an exposure draft, which is what the prime minister did, is not the same as introducing finished legislation to the House of Representatives or the Senate that is then debated and voted on.
As well as repeatedly fudging what happened in parliament, Morrison has also created the impression the proposal can only proceed if Labor agrees to its passage without amendments.
All governments routinely introduce legislation for debate without any undertaking that it will be passed by the opposition. Labor favours a stronger model than the Coalition’s proposal.
Morrison’s lack of urgency on the issue created tensions within government ranks. Late last year, the Tasmanian Liberal MP Bridget Archer crossed the floor to support independent MP Helen Haines’ bill to establish a federal integrity commission. Archer accused the government of “inertia” over the issue.
At that time, Archer said she was “perplexed” at her own government’s failure to release a revised bill almost three years after it was promised before the last election.
While Morrison clearly wants to move on from the issue, he will face renewed pressure from crossbench independents if the coming election is close enough to deliver a hung parliament.
A number of independents running against Liberals in metropolitan seats have made it clear that establishing a credible national integrity commission will be a key demand in the event any new government – Liberal or Labor – is seeking agreements for confidence and supply.
Haines blasted Morrison’s comments on Wednesday. “Mr Morrison broke an election promise to introduce an anti-corruption commission and his pathway to creating one is still as vague as it was in the last parliament,” she said.
The crossbench independent said it was “nonsense” for the prime minister to claim that he could not proceed unless Labor agreed with the Coalition’s proposal without seeking any amendments. “It would appear we are in the same void as we were before,” Haines said.
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