Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he was "very sad" following the announcement Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson would sell the franchise amid allegations of sexual harassment by female employees.
"I'm very sad," Jones told reporters after the Cowboys' 20-17 win over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. "Jerry is one of the really, really, really outstanding men of football that I've ever met, and I really admire him.
"I know that he made it the old-fashioned way. He worked for it. He took what he made in a short time in pro football and turned it into a great business and then used that to get the Carolina franchise. So he's a great story."
Richardson, 81, announced his intention to sell the franchise hours after a Sports Illustrated profile revealed allegations of rampant misconduct against him. The NFL is currently conducting its own investigation into the accusations.
Richardson did not address the allegations in his statement announcing the impending sale:
"I believe that it is time to turn the franchise over to new ownership. Therefore, I will put the team up for sale at the conclusion of this NFL season. We will not begin the sale process, nor will we entertain any inquiries, until the very last game is played. I hope everyone in this organization, both on and off the field, will be firmly focused on just one mission: to play and win the Super Bowl.
"While I will no longer be the team owner, I will always be the Panthers' No. 1 fan."
The Sports Illustrated profile detailed Richardson would allegedly make comments about women's bodies, touch them inappropriately and pay for cosmetic procedures when he deemed them necessary.
Richardson also allegedly used a racial slur towards a team scout, who is black. All former employees spoke to Sports Illustrated confidentially. The Panthers reportedly paid out multiple settlements that featured non-disclosure and non-disparagement clauses, which prevented these allegations from coming to light previously.
"You look back and it's wackadoo," a former employee said. "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."
The Panthers have been owned by Richardson, a former NFL player himself, since their inception. They were due to be sold at the time of his death before Sunday's announcement.