Shortly after the report, the Panthers released a statement on the situation, noting that the statue was being moved in the interest of public safety.
We were aware of the most recent conversation surrounding the Jerry Richardson statue and are concerned there may be attempts to take it down. We are moving the statue in the interest of public safety.
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) June 10, 2020
This comes after Panthers safety Tre Boston said that Richardson restricted players from protesting back during his first stint with the club in 2016:
“In 2016, I saw a world that even with peaceful protesting that didn’t understand and was not willing to listen,” Boston said during an interview with Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. “Looking back, it was hard times because we were screaming back then about how we need help, how we wanted to help the community and show we are one. It’s tough when you hear from the top down, ‘people come to watch football and get away from that stuff.' You get open-end promises, then weeks go by and nothing gets said or brought up. They did what they wanted.”
Richardson sold the Panthers to David Tepper in 2017 after he was accused of sexual harassment and using a racial slur. He was then fined $2.75 million in June 2018 for the alleged workplace misconduct.
The 83-year-old was awarded the Carolina franchise right from the jump back in 1993. The Panthers would then proceed to officially join the NFL in 1995.
Throughout his tenure as Carolina's owner, the Panthers made a couple of Super Bowl appearances during the 2003-04 and 2015-16 campaigns. They fell to the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos, respectively.
Now, Boston says things are very different in Carolina:
“It’s not like that anymore and they promised me it wasn’t like that anymore when I came back,” said Boston, who re-joined the Panthers last year. “I had plenty of calls saying they appreciate what I’m doing and want to help and even Tepper (called) to say he appreciated how I was out there with the guys and it is a 180 from what they used to be.”
The Panthers went 5-11 in 2019.