Jerry Richardson to sell Panthers after sexual misconduct allegations

(CBS) -- Since the Panthers arrival in North Carolina more than two decades ago, billionaire owner Jerry Richardson has been at the helm. And during that time -- according to Sports illustrated -- at least four former employees received financial settlements from either Richardson or the team.

Misconduct allegations against Richardson range from sexual to racial, including what multiple women called "the seatbelt maneuver" -- inviting female employees to lunch, and when seated in his car, he is accused of "brushing his hand across their breasts before putting the belt in the clasp."

The report also says Richardson asked multiple female staffers if he could shave their legs, requested barefoot massages, and give back rubs that went too low down the spine. Multiple sources told SI the 81-year-old owner recently directed a "racial slur at an African American scout for the Panthers."

"…That's something extremely serious right now especially with, you see, people getting picked out for things they've done in the past…" said quarterback Cam Newton.

Newton says despite the allegations, Richardson's impact on the team has been positive.

"…He has had such a father like role to a lot of players in that locker room in the present and past…"

In an open letter that made no mention of the allegations, Richardson told fans: "I believe that it is time to turn the franchise over to new ownership. I will put the team up for sale at the conclusion of this NFL season."

High-profile, prospective buyers are already showing interest -- including hip-hop mogul Sean Combs, and Golden State Warriors superstar Steph Curry.

Jerry Richardson purchased the Panthers back in 1993 for $206 million dollars. Forbes now estimates the franchise's net worth at around $2.3 billion.