A statue of former Carolina Panthers football team owner Jerry Richardson was removed from its pedestal outside the team’s stadium Wednesday.
Video recorded of the 12-foot, 10-inch-tall statue showed a crane hoisting it from its base and onto a nearby tow truck.
“We were aware of the most recent conversation surrounding the Jerry Richardson statue and are concerned there may be attempts to take it down,” a team statement said. “We are moving the statue in the interest of public safety.”
David Tepper bought the Panthers from Richardson in 2017 after the former owner was accused of sexual harassment and using a racial slur. Richardson was fined $2.75 million in June 2018 for the alleged workplace misconduct. Richardson bought the franchise in 1993, and the Panthers joined the NFL in 1995. During Richardson’s time as owner, the Panthers made appearances in two Super Bowls.
Jim Gray, a spokesman for Richardson, put out a statement on behalf of the former Panthers owner.
"Mr. Richardson has made no public comments about the Panthers or the NFL since the sale of the team and doesn't plan to do so now as a private citizen. He has worked to treat all people fairly in his business and personal lives and, like many other Americans, is troubled by recent events in Minneapolis, Charlotte and around the country."
The removal of Richardson’s statue comes after several Confederate and Christopher Columbus statues were torn down or vandalized during continued protests sparked by outrage over the death of George Floyd.
Floyd’s death during an encounter with Minneapolis police on May 25 drew new attention to the treatment of African Americans in the U.S. by police and the criminal justice system.
In the weeks since Floyd’s death, NASCAR, the Marine Corps and the U.S. Navy have opted to ban displaying the Confederate flag in any of their establishments.
The Associated Press, FOX News and Storyful contributed to this report.