Future of Panthers franchise and Upstate training camp uncertain - FOX Carolina 21

Future of Panthers franchise and Upstate training camp uncertain

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Carolina Panthers owner and founder Jerry Richardson (Source: Associated Press) Carolina Panthers owner and founder Jerry Richardson (Source: Associated Press)

Amid allegations of sexual harassment and racial misconduct in the workplace, Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson announced Sunday night he plans to sell the team after the 2017 season. In a letter published on the team website he says he believes it’s time to turn the franchise over to new ownership.

Fans across the Upstate are wondering what it all means for Spartanburg and Wofford College where training camp is held. For now there aren’t a lot of answers. Jerry Richardson says he won’t even begin discussions about selling the team until after the season.

Chris Jennings from the Spartanburg Convention and Visitors Bureau issued a short statement saying, “Spartanburg has been the home of the Carolina Panthers training camp since its inception.  We look forward to continuing our partnership with the Panthers, Wofford College, the city and county during any transition that may occur.”

Jerry Richardson, a 1959 Wofford College graduate played for the Terriers and professionally for the Baltimore Colts before achieving his dream of owning an NFL team.

A statement issued by Wofford College says, “Mr. Richardson’s contributions to Wofford College are extraordinary, and for that we are grateful. It is not appropriate for us to comment further.”

Now, as Richardson faces an investigation into workplace misconduct, fans seem to give him the benefit of the doubt.

“I wish him the best,” says Kelly Land of Gaffney, “I hope he can get through this and that it has a good outcome and that the allegations are not as serious as they appear at this point in time.”

Xavier King of Spartanburg says, “I don’t’ have any ill feelings towards him. It is what it is.”

Economic impact studies show this year’s training camp had a record $13.24 million economic impact on Spartanburg County. It was attended by nearly 101,000 visitors and 56 percent of attendees polled said they traveled more than 50 miles.

As for the fate of the team and the training camp next season, little is known. The Panthers are reportedly tied to Charlotte through June of 2019. Rap legend P Diddy has expressed interest in buying the team.

READ MORE: P Diddy says he wants to buy the Carolina Panthers

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