- Sean 'Diddy' Combs wants to buy the Carolina Panthers and sign Kaepernick, a free agent quarterback who is suing the NFL for allegedly colluding against him
- Kaepernick responded by saying he, too, wants to go in on the team with Diddy
- Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, 81, announced that he will sell the franchise
- NFL said it's investigating Richardson over sexual harassment claims
- Golden State Warriors guard, North Carolina native and former NBA MVP Stephen Curry also wants to buy the team: 'Holla at me, let’s get it'
- New report reveals four former Panthers employees have received settlements
- Complaints involved inappropriate sexual and racial remarks in workplace
- Richardson said to have used the 'seatbelt maneuver' to touch breasts
- Other women claim he gave lingering massages and offered to shave their legs
Published: 11:36 EST, 18 December 2017 | Updated: 14:04 EST, 18 December 2017
Richardson, the 81-year-old owner of the Charlotte, North Carolina team, came under scrutiny after a Sunday report documenting wide-ranging claims of workplace misconduct (file photo)
Controversial free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick hopes to join entertainer Sean 'Diddy' Combs in purchasing the Carolina Panthers from embattled founder Jerry Richardson, who recently announced his intention to sell the team following allegations of sexual harassment and racism.
'I want in on the ownership group!' Kaepernick tweeted Monday. 'Let’s make it happen!'
On Sunday Combs said he wanted to buy the team and hire Kaepernick to play quarterback after a Sports Illustrated report documented wide-ranging claims of workplace misconduct against Richardson.
Former Panthers employees spoke of lewd remarks, lingering gazes and inappropriate touching, and at least one occasion of a racial slur directed against an African-American employee.
Kaepernick became the first NFL player to peacefully protest inequality and police brutality against minorities during the 2016 season by refusing to stand during the national anthem.
He's remained unsigned since March, when he opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers. Currently Kaepernick is suing the league, claiming all 32 owners have colluded to blacklist him in retaliation for the protests, which have continued this season despite significant public criticism.
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Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, now wants to buy the Carolina Panthers with Sean 'Diddy' Combs. The Panthers are currently valued at $2.3billion, meaning Combs with his estimated net worth of $820million would likely need partners
Combs said his first order of business would be hiring Colin Kaepernick (pictured) who opted out of his contract with the 49ers in March and has not been signed by another team
Sean 'Diddy' Combs (left) has said he wants to buy the Carolina Panthers, drawing a response from Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry (right) who says he also wants in
The Panthers are currently valued at $2.3billion, meaning Combs with his estimated net worth of $820million would likely need partners – if his plan is in fact a serious one.
On that point, Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry hopped on the bandwagon, tweeting at Combs: 'I want in!'
'Holla at me, let’s get it!' replied Combs.
'Also, I will have the best halftime show, the best selection of music, and we will win Super Bowl after Super Bowl,' Combs said.
Combs touted his plan as history-making, tweeting: 'There are no majority African American NFL owners. Let’s make history.'
'It's time for diversity!! It's time for Black ownership!!' he wrote.
While Richardson does plan to sell, negotiations are not imminent.
'I believe it is time to turn the franchise over to new ownership,' Richardson wrote in a team statement. 'Therefore, I will put the team up for sale at the conclusion of this NFL season. We will not begin the sales process, nor will we entertain any inquiries, until the very last game is played.'
At least four former Panthers employees have received 'significant' monetary settlements due to inappropriate workplace behavior by Richardson, according to the report.
In a statement, the team said it had opened its own investigation into the claims and 'welcome the involvement of the NFL'.
The NFL on Sunday said it has taken over the investigation of allegations of workplace misconduct. Panthers spokesman Steven Drummond said Sunday the team requested the league take over the investigation for 'transparency reasons.'
'The Carolina Panthers and Mr. Richardson take these allegations very seriously and are fully committed to a full investigation and taking appropriate steps to address and remediate any misconduct,' Drummond said.
Richardson's wife gives him a kiss in the owners' box on Sunday. A new report claims that he has settled at least four misconduct complaints with 'significant' cash payouts
Richardson penned an open letter on Sunday announcing his decision to sell the team
Under Fire: Jerry Richardson is seen watching the Panthers play at home on Sunday, as the NFL announced it would open an investigation into him over sexual misconduct allegations
'The entire organization is fully committed to ensuring a safe, comfortable and diverse work environment where all individuals, regardless of sex, race, color, religion, gender, or sexual identity or orientation, are treated fairly and equally,' Drummond said.
The new SI report did not name sources, citing confidentiality agreements in the settlement deals and fear of retaliation.
Richardson, who himself played in the NFL as a halfback and wide receiver for the Baltimore Colts from 1959 to 1960, made his fortune in the food services industry, running the company best known for operating chains such as Denny's and Hardees.
The 81-year-old Richardson acquired his majority stake in the franchise in 1993 at a value of $206million, and the team is now valued at $2.3billion by Forbes.
The new report claims that his alleged inappropriate workplace conduct was well known among Panthers employees and something of a running joke.
'No one ever said anything, at least not that I heard,' one former Panthers employee told SI. 'He was the boss. It was [viewed] more of a creepy-old-man thing than a threat.'
Sources told the outlet that Richardson would focus his comments to female employees on their appearance, offering to pay for manicures and in one case suggesting that a female employee let him shave her legs.
Another frequent occurrence was the 'seatbelt maneuver,' in which Richardson would open a car door for a woman and then buckle her seatbelt for her, brushing up against her breasts in the process, according to the report.
At least four former Panthers employees have received 'significant' monetary settlements due to inappropriate workplace behavior by Richardson (left), according to the report (file photo)
Richardson allegedly focused his comments to female employees on their appearance, offering to pay for manicures and in one case offering to shave a woman's legs (file photo)
PANTHERS FULL STATEMENT ON ALLEGATIONS
The Carolina Panthers recently commenced an internal investigation into allegations of workplace misconduct against the team's owner and founder, Jerry Richardson. We welcome the involvement of the NFL.
'The Carolina Panthers and Mr. Richardson take these allegations very seriously and are fully committed to a full investigation and taking appropriate steps to address and remediate any misconduct,' team spokesman Steven Drummond said.
'The entire organization is fully committed to ensuring a safe, comfortable and diverse work environment where all individuals, regardless of sex, race, color, religion, gender, or sexual identity or orientation, are treated fairly and equally.'
Because this matter is under an ongoing legal review, the Carolina Panthers cannot comment publicly on the specifics of the allegations.
Other sources spoke of Richardson giving massages that went on for too long, or wandered too low down the spine.
'You look back and it's wackadoo,' one former Carolina employee told SI.
'You felt preyed upon. You felt fear. You felt self-doubt. But when you're in [that environment], everywhere you go, every family gathering, it's, 'Oh, you work in the NFL? That's so cool.' And you don't want to lose your job.'
'Jeans Fridays' were the occasion for frequent inappropriate remarks from Richardson, the sources said.
'Show me how you wiggle to get those jeans up. I bet you had to lay down on your bed to fit into those jeans,' Richardson would say, or words to that effect, the sources said.
In an uncomfortable callback to antebellum culture, employees say that Richardson was universally known simply as 'Mister'.
'It was a power culture. You did what Mister said, when he said it,' one former employee told the magazine.
'He thinks he's really great. You're supposed to reinforce that… Even when he does things that make you feel like half a person, that you know are wrong.'
Employees say that Richardson (seen in 2003) was universally known simply as 'Mister'. 'It was a power culture. You did what Mister said, when he said it,' one former employee said
In the case of one African-American scout for the Panthers, Richardson allegedly directed a racial slur him. The scout left the team this year, reportedly after negotiating a confidential settlement.
Richardson has been a majority owner of the Charlotte-based team since it began playing in the NFL as an expansion franchise in 1995.
Neither he nor a team spokesman could be reached for comment on the league taking over the probe or reports about the accusations.
The Panthers said Friday that law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart and Sullivan would lead the internal investigation, with former White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles, a minority team owner, would overseeing the probe.
The Panthers had urged the league to take over the probe, and on Sunday the NFL agreed to it, NFL.com reported.
Following Sunday's win in Oakland, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones called Richardson's situation 'very sad.'
'I'm saddened by any of the stories of the things that might have incited this at this time,' Jones said. 'He took what he made in his short time in pro football and turned it into a great business and then used that to get the Carolina franchise.'
The Panthers began play in 1995 but have never delivered on Richardson's promise of winning a Super Bowl. They lost after the 2003 and 2015 seasons.
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones (left) with soon-to-be former Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson (right) before a 2012 game at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte
Panthers interim general manager Marty Hurney said he had never seen any evidence of Richardson displaying any sexual or racial misconduct in the workplace.
'If this (sale) happens I think it is a significant loss for the NFL,' Hurney told The Associated Press. 'I have the utmost respect for him as an owner. Our employees have the utmost respect for him. I came back because of the respect I have for him and for the organization he started and developed.'
Panthers quarterback Cam Newton said after Sunday's win over Green Bay that Richardson has served as a father figure to him since his arrival in Carolina seven years ago.
'For me I hope things don't alter my thinking of Mr. Richardson,' Newton said. 'But I do know that he has given me some things that I will forever be appreciative of.'
Panthers coach Ron Rivera said after the game it is important to let the process play out.
'The only thing I can speak on is for what he has been to me as far as I'm concerned,' Rivera said. 'A lot of you know I had a house fire, and he was there for [my wife] Stephanie and I.
'He was tremendous in supporting us,' Rivera continued. 'My brother passed, and Mr. Richardson was there and helped me get to the funeral and back. I can't speak to anything other than that.'
Colin Kaepernick (No. 7) is suing the league, claiming the 32 owners colluded against him in retaliation for the controversial protests over inequality and police brutality against minorities
Richardson was hospitalized 2008, one month after receiving a pacemaker for heart problems. He underwent quadruple bypass surgery in 2002 and was placed on a donor waiting list for a new heart. He received the new heart on February 1, 2009, and has not had any known setbacks since.
It has already been a wild year for the Panthers organization.
Team president Danny Morrison abruptly resigned in February. Richardson then fired general manager Dave Gettleman on the eve of training camp and replaced him with Hurney on an interim basis.
Things have been equally turbulent for Kaepernick, who has accused all 32 owners of colluding against him in retaliation for the controversial protests.
The 30-year-old Kaepernick may have an argument.
In six seasons, Kaepernick helped guide the 49ers to two NFC championship games and one Super Bowl while completing 59.8 percent of his passes and 72 touchdown passes. He also threw only 30 interceptions over that time, helping him to post a very respectable quarterback rating of 88.9.
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and injured Green Bay Packers signal caller Aaron Rodgers have both stated they believe Kaepernick has the ability to continue starting in the NFL. Brady declined to say whether or not Kaepernick is being blackballed, but Rodgers told ESPN that the protests are likely the only reason he's not in the NFL.
City Council Members, including Jumaane Williams (center right) and Melissa Mark-Viverto (center left) 'take a knee' on the steps of City Hall in reaction to President Donald Trump's condemnation of NFL players who do the same on September 27, 2017 in New York City
'He has paid the ultimate sacrifice in order to bring true everyday issues to light,' Kaepernick's former collegiate teammate at Nevada and current Tennessee Titans wide receiver Rishard Matthews wrote on Instagram.
Goodell will be deposed as part of Kaepernick's collusion case against the football league.
According to the lawsuit, '[The owners] have colluded to deprive Mr. Kaepernick of employment rights in retaliation for Mr. Kaepernick's leadership and advocacy for equality and social justice and his bringing awareness to peculiar institutions still undermining racial equality in the United States.'
Kaepernick made over $43 million during his NFL career and recently donated $900K of his $1 million pledge to organizations working within oppressed communities.
He also launched the 'Know Your Rights Camp,' which is a campaign Kaepernick funded to 'raise awareness on higher education, self-empowerment, and instruction to properly interact with law enforcement in various scenarios,' according to the organization's website.
Recently Kaepernick spent Thanksgiving with Native Americans on Alcatraz, honoring whose who occupied for the island for 19 months between 1969 and 1971 in an effort to compel the United States government to honor the Treaty of Fort Laramie.
A coalition of advocacy groups 'take a knee' outside of a hotel where the quarterly NFL league meetings were held on October 17, 2017 in Manhattan
The post Kaepernick wants to buy Carolina Panthers with Diddy appeared first on News Wire Now.
Sydney seaplane crash: Exhaust fumes affected pilot, report confirms
The pilot of a seaplane that crashed into an Australian river, killing all on board, had been left confused and disorientated by leaking exhaust fumes, investigators have confirmed.
The Canadian pilot and five members of a British family died in the crash north of Sydney in December 2017.
All were found to have higher than normal levels of carbon monoxide in their blood, a final report has found.
It recommended the mandatory fitting of gas detectors in all such planes.
British businessman Richard Cousins, 58, died alongside his 48-year-old fiancée, magazine editor Emma Bowden, her 11-year-old daughter Heather and his sons, Edward, 23, and William, 25, and pilot Gareth Morgan, 44. Mr Cousins was the chief executive of catering giant Compass.
The family had been on a sightseeing flight in the de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver plane when it nose-dived into the Hawkesbury River at Jerusalem Bay, about 50km (30 miles) from the city centre.
The final report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) confirmed the findings of an interim report published in 2020.
It said pre-existing cracks in the exhaust collector ring were believed to have released exhaust gas into the engine bay. Holes left by missing bolts in a firewall then allowed the fumes to enter the cabin.
“As a result, the pilot would have almost certainly experienced effects such as confusion, visual disturbance and disorientation,” the report said.
“Consequently, it was likely that this significantly degraded the pilot’s ability to safely operate the aircraft.”
The ATSB recommended the Civil Aviation Safety Authority consider mandating the fitting of carbon monoxide detectors in piston-engine aircraft that carry passengers.
It previously issued safety advisory notices to owners and operators of such aircraft that they install detectors “with an active warning” to pilots”. Operators and maintainers of planes were also advised to carry out detailed inspections of exhaust systems and firewalls.
Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55862128
Australia unlikely to fully reopen border in 2021, says top official
Australia is unlikely to fully open its borders in 2021 even if most of its population gets vaccinated this year as planned, says a senior health official.
The comments dampen hopes raised by airlines that travel to and from the country could resume as early as July.
Department of Health Secretary Brendan Murphy made the prediction after being asked about the coronavirus’ escalation in other nations.
Dr Murphy spearheaded Australia’s early action to close its borders last March.
“I think that we’ll go most of this year with still substantial border restrictions,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Monday.
“Even if we have a lot of the population vaccinated, we don’t know whether that will prevent transmission of the virus,” he said, adding that he believed quarantine requirements for travellers would continue “for some time”.
Citizens, permanent residents and those with exemptions are allowed to enter Australia if they complete a 14-day hotel quarantine at their own expense.
Qantas – Australia’s national carrier – reopened bookings earlier this month, after saying it expected international travel to “begin to restart from July 2021.”
However, it added this depended on the Australian government’s deciding to reopen borders.
Australia’s tight restrictions
The country opened a travel bubble with neighbouring New Zealand late last year, but currently it only operates one-way with inbound flights to Australia.
Australia has also discussed the option of travel bubbles with other low-risk places such as Taiwan, Japan and Singapore.
A vaccination scheme is due to begin in Australia in late February. Local authorities have resisted calls to speed up the process, giving more time for regulatory approvals.
Australia has so far reported 909 deaths and about 22,000 cases, far fewer than many nations. It reported zero locally transmitted infections on Monday.
Experts have attributed much of Australia’s success to its swift border lockdown – which affected travellers from China as early as February – and a hotel quarantine system for people entering the country.
Local outbreaks have been caused by hotel quarantine breaches, including a second wave in Melbourne. The city’s residents endured a stringent four-month lockdown last year to successfully suppress the virus.
Other outbreaks – including one in Sydney which has infected about 200 people – prompted internal border closures between states, and other restrictions around Christmas time.
The state of Victoria said on Monday it would again allow entry to Sydney residents outside of designated “hotspots”, following a decline in cases.
While the measures have been praised, many have also criticised them for separating families across state borders and damaging businesses.
Dr Murphy said overall Australia’s virus response had been “pretty good” but he believed the nation could have introduced face masks earlier and improved its protections in aged care homes.
In recent days, Australia has granted entry to about 1,200 tennis players, staff and officials for the Australian Open. The contingent – which has recorded at least nine infections – is under quarantine.
Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55699581
Covid: Brisbane to enter three-day lockdown over single infection
The Australian city of Brisbane has begun a snap three-day lockdown after a cleaner in its hotel quarantine system became infected with coronavirus.
Health officials said the cleaner had the highly transmissible UK variant and they were afraid it could spread.
Brisbane has seen very few cases of the virus beyond quarantined travellers since Australia’s first wave last year.
It is the first known instance of this variant entering the Australian community outside of hotel quarantine.
The lockdown is for five populous council areas in Queensland’s state capital.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the measure on Friday morning local time, about 16 hours after the woman tested positive.
Ms Palaszczuk said the lockdown aimed to halt the virus as rapidly as possible, adding: “Doing three days now could avoid doing 30 days in the future.”
“I think everybody in Queensland… knows what we are seeing in the UK and other places around the world is high rates of infection from this particular strain,” she said.
“And we do not want to see that happening here in our great state.”
Australia has reported 28,500 coronavirus infections and 909 deaths since the pandemic began. By contrast, the US, which is the hardest-hit country, has recorded more than 21 million infections while nearly 362,000 people have died of the disease.The lockdown will begin at 18:00 on Friday (08:00 GMT) in the Brisbane city, Logan and the Ipswich, Moreton and Redlands local government areas.
Residents will only be allowed to leave home for certain reasons, such as buying essential items and seeking medical care.
For the first time, residents in those areas will also be required to wear masks outside of their homes.
Australia has faced sporadic outbreaks over the past year, with the most severe one in Melbourne triggering a lockdown for almost four months.
A pre-Christmas outbreak in Sydney caused fresh alarm, but aggressive testing and contact-tracing has kept infection numbers low. The city recorded four local cases on Friday.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government has pledged to start mass vaccinations in February instead of March as was planned.
Lockdown interrupts ‘near normal’ life in Brisbane
Simon Atkinson, BBC News in Brisbane
At 8:00 today I popped to the local supermarket for some bread, milk – and because it’s summer here – a mango. I was pretty much the only customer.
When I went past the same shop a couple of hours later it was a different story – 50 people standing in the drizzle – queuing to get inside as others emerged with bulging shopping bags. “Heaps busier than Christmas,” a cheery trolley attendant told me. “It’s off the scale”.
Despite the “don’t panic” messages from authorities, pictures on social media show it’s a pattern being repeated across the city.
While shutdowns are common around the world, the tough and sudden stay-at-home order for Brisbane has caught people on the hop here after months of near normality.
But while such a rapid, hard lockdown off the back of just a single case of Covid-19 will seem crazy in some parts of the world, I’ve not come across too many people complaining.
And I don’t think that’s just because Aussies love to follow a rule. This is the first time the UK variant of the virus has been detected in the community in Australia.
And nobody here wants Brisbane to go through what Melbourne suffered last year. Even if it means going without mangoes.
Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55582836
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