The NFL owners have approved the sale of the Carolina Panthers to David Tepper, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, who added that "the deal will be official in July, but today's vote solidified that he's in."
Tepper is reportedly paying $2.2 billion to buy the team.
Former Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson is selling the organization in the wake of the sexual harassment and racism claims made against him.
Richardson stepped down from running the organization and announced he would sell the team at the conclusion of the 2017 season after he was accused of sexual harassment by several Panthers' employees. He was also accused of calling an African-American scout a racial slur.
According to a report from L. Jon Wertheim and Viv Bernstein of SI.com, Richardson and the Panthers reportedly reached financial settlements that included "non-disclosure and non-disparagement clauses" with at least four Panthers employees.
That report also went into detail about Richardson's alleged sexual harassment, noting that he had asked female employees if he could shave their legs, regularly commented on female workers' behinds during the organization's "Jeans Day" and often insisted on opening the door for female employees when offering them rides before leaning over to buckle their seatbelts, brushing their breasts with his hand as he did so.
After Richardson stepped down from running the day-to-day operations, Tina Becker took over as the organization's chief operating officer.
Richardson, 81, served as the team's principal owner since 1993, when the NFL awarded his ownership group the rights to an expansion franchise in Charlotte. The Panthers began playing as an expansion franchise in 1995 alongside the Jacksonville Jaguars.
"I look forward to turning the stewardship of the Panthers over to David Tepper," Richardson said in a statement on May 16, per Judy Battista of NFL.com. "I have enjoyed getting to know him in this process and am confident that he will provide the organization with great leadership in both its football and community initiatives. I wish David and his family the very best as they enter this exciting new phase of their lives."
Most importantly, he reportedly wants to keep the Panthers in North Carolina because he "believes in the market," according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Losing the Panthers during the sale was a concern for many fans of the organization.
"I am thrilled to have been selected to be the next owner of the Carolina Panthers," he said in a statement, per Battista. "I have learned a great deal about the community and the team over the past several months and look forward to becoming part of the Carolinas."