The Last Time An NFL Owner Had to Leave

Daniel Snyder may follow Richardson’s lead.

Washington Football Team owner Daniel Snyder probably recalls the last time an NFL owner was forced to leave the football business not under his own terms. It was nearly three years ago when Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson fell on his sword and announced he was selling his Carolina Panthers business to David Tepper. No one felt too sorry for Richardson as he got more than two billion dollars for his team which was not a bad haul considering Richardson paid $140 million to own an NFL franchise in Charlotte in 1993. Richardson, who played with the Baltimore Colts in 1959 and 1960 used part of his NFL Championship team bonus money following the 1959 season to buy into a Hardee’s restaurant in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Richardson would eventually own the sixth largest fast-food company in the United States.

But Richardson’s business, Flagstar, ran into a major problem in 1994, the year before Richardson’s Panthers played games. Flagstar’s Denny restaurants were accused of racial discrimination and settled class action suits for $46 million not because the company was embarrassed. Richardson didn’t want to pay his lawyers to continue battling the class action suit. Richardson left Flagstar to run his NFL team. Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and the NFL looked the other way. By 2017, the Panthers owner Richardson allegedly made suggestive sexual comments to women and used a racial slur while addressing an African American Panthers scout.  Richardson paid accusers to make them go away. The NFL decided that Richardson was way too toxic to be part of the 32-member ownership-Green Bay Board of Directors lodge. The NFL didn’t force Richardson out but Richardson understood it was time to go. Daniel Snyder may or may not be forced to sell his Washington team. But if he does, he will get top dollar for his business.

(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)