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But in an era where the NFL is perceived as behind-the-times, adding a truly diverse ownership group to the mix could be exactly what they need to help aid the perception that the league is finally willing to move forward.

"I will put the team up for sale at the conclusion of this National Football League season. I can never repay all of you for the kindness and generosity you have shown me, Rosalind, and my family for more than two decades". I know he made it the old fashion way; he worked for it. I bet you had to lay down on your bed to fit into those jeans. Richardson said he felt it was time the team had new ownership but said the team would not be for sale until the Panthers play their last game of the season.

The statement about the upcoming sale was released on the Carolina Panthers official website Sunday night.

Perceptions of casual racism hardened recently when, multiple sources told SI, Richardson directed a racial slur at an African-American scout for the Panthers.

The Panthers originally announced Friday that the team opened an investigation into the allegations, which have not been revealed because of the nature of the issue. On Monday, the story escalated again, as Richardson said he'd be stepping away from day-to-day operations of the team, according to Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer.

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The team has been grappling with financial issues, and started the season losing 8 of its first 12 games in the Lithuanian league. LaMelo, 16, had also been committed to UCLA, but his hiring an agent ensured he would never play college basketball.

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.

"These have been some of the most hard days of my 19 years with the Panthers, but I am lifted up by the strong resolve and the commitment our employees have shown to this organization", Becker said in the statement.

At 81, Richardson has controlled the team for almost a quarter-century, having bought the franchise when it was created in 1993. Because I'm going to wait until the investigation is done before I draw any conclusions.

Questions surfaced of how fair the Panthers would be in conducting an internal investigation of Richardson, and national sports writers, asked why the NFL didn't start its own investigation.