Officials from UNC-Charlotte confirmed Thursday that the name of former Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson would remain on the school’s football stadium.
Some have questioned whether the name should stay following accusations that Richardson was involved in racial and sexual misconduct during his tenure as the Panthers owner.
Randy Wieck, a longtime fan of the Charlotte 49ers has followed the Richardson saga closely. He said we was surprised to learn about the accusations made against the former owner.
“There may be other skeletons in the closet, but for someone of that stature and that era, I was extremely disappointed,” said Wieck.
Richardson was ultimately fined by the NFL after an independent investigation found nothing to discredit the claims made by his accusers.
According to the Charlotte Observer he has a $10 million contract with UNC-Charlotte. Part of the contract mandates that his name be a part of the building. Richardson in-turn pays the school $1 million a year over a 10 year period. There is no morals clause in the contract, according to the Observer.
“Would I like to see the name come off? Yes I would. Can we afford to do that and can we legally do that? I don’t know,” elaborated Wieck.
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The 49ers fan said he understood the dilemma the university is currently facing and can see why the school could want to remove the name and why it may be forced to leave it.
Some students on campus are completely oblivious to the topic. Others have varying opinions.
“Your name should not be on anything. I don’t care how much money you donate, because what you’ve done to those people is priceless,” said one female student about the Richardson situation.
Another student who spoke to WBTV under anonymity Thursday night said she thinks Richardson’s name should stay on the stadium because of the contributions he has made to the program.
“Everybody is innocent until proven guilty so I think if it comes out to be that those bad things are true then yeah I understand the real possibility of changing the name,” the student explained.
Wieck said he would like to see an explanation from the university regarding the decision that was made.
“Is there a ‘why’ behind it or is it just for maintaining the money?” the fan questioned.
WBTV reached out to officials at UNC-Charlotte Thursday night for comment on the decision making process. This story will be updated if a response is given.