NFL Panthers Fire General Counsel

By William Vogeler, Esq. on July 16, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Richard Thigpen, general counsel of the Carolina Panthers, is headed to the sidelines for good.

Team owner David Tepper fired Thigpen as part of an overhaul following a sex scandal involving prior owner Jerry Richardson. According to reports, Richardson touched female employees, asked them sexual questions, and tried to trick them into kissing him.

Thigpen had nothing to do with that -- except for reviewing non-disclosure agreements with team employees. It's a reminder that general counsel sometimes have to answer for the sins of their bosses.

No More Non-Disclosures

In announcing Thigpen's dismissal, Tepper said non-disclosure agreements would be a thing of the past. Thigpen had been with the team for more than 20 years.

"Tepper was not kidding when he said this is a new era of Carolina Panthers football," wrote fan blogger Danny Jaillet. "It seems to me, especially with this move, that he wants to get rid of anything connected with Jerry Richardson that is still connected with the franchise."

Richardson went from hometown hero to Carolina creep faster than a golf cart at training camp. By the time he turned the team over to new ownership, fans were so sick of it they wanted his stadium statue to go with him.

Everything but the Statue

In addition to Thigpen's firing, the former chief operating officer resigned and others reportedly are on their way out. General counsel at other organizations may take note.

After Harvey Weinstein blew up Hollywood with years of unreported sexual misconduct, victims have come out across all fields of endeavor -- including football fields. Lawyers are getting some of the blame.

They have protected abusers with non-disclosure agreements, mandatory arbitration clauses, and pay-offs for silence. Now #MeToo says #NoMore.

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