Jon Beason was drafted by the Carolina Panthers. First-round pick in 2007. Spent seven years with the franchise. All of which is to say he had ample opportunity to get to know Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, who is being investigated for sexual harassment, among other workplace-misconduct violations.
Beason, who had a “good relationship” with Richardson, was stunned by the allegations.
“Everything was news to me except for this sense of how much power he commanded in the room when he walked in, how people treated him throughout the stadium,” the CBS Sports NFL analyst said on Gio and Jones. “You felt like you were walking on egg shells.”
Beason, 32, would sometimes crack jokes with Richardson. The person he knew does not seem like the person accused of what he is accused of.
“Then you read the story and you’re just floored,” Beason said. “People referring to him as just mister, what he would do in terms of getting female employees alone – my jaw literally dropped. It literally dropped.”
Beason recalls Richardson visiting him early in the morning before he had surgery to repair a torn Achilles. Richardson even held Beason’s head as he received anesthesia.
“He was holding my head,” Beason said. “It was a wild moment for me. I never knew that that’s how he felt about me.”
In hindsight, though, it’s not surprising if Beason and other Panthers were unaware of Richardson’s conduct with other employees.
“You assume you would know, but we didn’t go upstairs unless you were kind of in trouble or something,” Beason said. “Guys didn’t go upstairs. When you hear the allegations and the fact that it was multiple times, it crushes you – because you have an opinion of somebody, and you just never know.”