Video: Max Kellerman of ESPN Says Cam Newton Should be NFL MVP Candidate

First Take’s Max Kellerman makes the case for Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton to be in an NFL MVP candidate.

Panthers Place WR/KR Damiere Byrd on IR with Knee Injury

The Panthers have placed wide receiver/kick returner Damiere Byrd on injured reserve according to the team’s official website.

Byrd hurt his knee around halftime of the Panthers’ Week 16 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and had to be carted to the lockers room. It is a disappointing end to the season after Byrd had emerged as a promising contributor to the team’s offense in the past few weeks.

While he has caught only 10 balls for 105 yards in eight games in 2017, he caught two touchdown passes in Week 15 and scored on a kickoff return against the Bucs before the injury.

Originally an UDFA out of South Carolina, 24-year-old Byrd is an exclusive rights free agent who will likely be brought back in 2018 once healthy.

Panthers Super Fan Comedian Gabriel Iglesias Not for Diddy Buying the Team

TMZ reports that Comedy superstar Gabriel Iglesias is not a big fan when it comes to the rumors that Diddy wants to buy his beloved Panthers.

He has a lot of supporters, but now one big celebrity Carolina Panthers fan is campaigning AGAINST Diddy buying the team … saying he’s doing it for the wrong reasons!

Comedy superstar Gabriel Iglesias LOVES the Panthers — but says he’s 100% not down with Diddy making a run at the team.

Fluffy says the biggest red flag is Diddy’s vow to sign Colin Kaepernick.

“If you’re going to take over a team, your focus should not be signing a quarterback who gets a lot of attention when you have an incredible quarterback that’s already probably one of the best in the league.”

“If you’re going to do it, do it for the right reasons.”

In related news, Gabriel says he’s STOKED about reports Vince McMahon could reboot the XFL — “That’s what I want to see!”

NFL Unaware of Reported Agreements with Former Panthers Employees in Richardson Harassment Cases

An NFL official says the league had no knowledge of the reported financial agreements the Panthers made with four former employees to settle claims of sexual harassment and, in one instance, a racial slur, by team owner Jerry Richardson, Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer reports.

The settlements were part of an explosive Sports Illustrated report last weekend that prompted the NFL to launch its investigation and resulted in Richardson’s decision to sell the team after the 2017 season.

And according to Joe Lockhart, the NFL’s executive vice president of communications, the league found out when everyone else did.

“I don’t believe the league was (aware),” Lockhart said. “But certainly that is an area that the investigation will look into.”

The Panthers’ failure to report the settlements could be a violation of the league’s personal conduct policy, which requires teams and players to let the league know of any matters that potentially fall under the policy.

Lockhart, a former White House press secretary, said the NFL will hire outside counsel to lead the investigation of Richardson.

Lisa Friel, a former New York sex-crimes prosecutor hired by the NFL in 2014 to help commissioner Roger Goodell handle domestic-violence probes, will not be a part of the Richardson investigation, according to Lockhart.

NFL Claims They Are Not Forcing Panthers Owner Jerry Richardson to Sell Team

The NFL made it clear Thursday it isn’t forcing Panthers owner Jerry Richardson to sell the team while he is under investigation for sexual and racial misconduct in the workplace, the Associated Press reports.

NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart said during a conference call that “there was no pressure from the league on Mr. Richardson” to sell his team . Lockhart said Richardson “came to the conclusion over that weekend that putting his team up for sale was what he wanted to do. We found out about it shortly before the announcement came out.”

The NFL plans to hire an outside counsel to conduct the Richardson investigation, but a final decision has not been made on which firm.

Lockhart said the league didn’t know about the allegations against Richardson until Friday, the same day the Panthers put out a stunning news release first announcing its own investigation of Richardson’s alleged workplace misconduct. That was followed on Sunday by a Sports Illustrated report that detailed Richardson’s alleged misconduct.

Lockhart said the NFL is expecting full cooperation from the Panthers.

There is a huge concern among the fan base that new ownership might move the team from Charlotte.

“The league, as we have said in a number of different contexts, our first choice is always for franchise stability,” Lockhart said. “The franchise in Carolina has been successful both on the field and from a community impact.”

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said he wants to see the team stay in Charlotte, and added he planned to call local Charlotte officials to discuss what he can do from a state government perspective.

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Panthers QB Cam Newton: Jerry Richardson Innocent Until Proven Guilty

Quarterback Cam Newton says embattled Panthers owner Jerry Richardson should be considered innocent until proven guilty, Steve Reed of the Associated Press reports.

Richardson is under investigation by the NFL for sexual and racial misconduct in the workplace and announced Sunday that he’s selling the team just hours after a Sports Illustrated report detailed his alleged misconduct.

Newton says Richardson met with him and other team captains hours after Carolina’s 31-24 win over the Green Bay Packers to inform them he would be putting the team up for sale after the season.

The quarterback says while he disagrees with any type of sexual misconduct, he has immense respect for Richardson based on their 7 ½-year relationship. He says “everything that I’ve heard were allegations, and nothing was actually proven.”

Charlotte Mayor Says She Is ‘Motivated’ to Keep Panthers in Town After Richardson Sells Team

Mayor Vi Lyles said Tuesday she is “completely motivated” to keep the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte after owner Jerry Richardson sells the NFL organization he founded, David Newton of ESPN.com reports.

So are members of the Charlotte City Council.

Richardson is being investigated by the NFL for workplace misconduct that, according to a Sports Illustrated article published on Sunday, included settlement with at least four people in the organization for his inappropriate behavior.

He announced on Sunday he will put the team up for sale after this season.

Richardson, 81, made a deal in 2013, when the city agreed to pay $75 million in stadium upgrades, to keep the team in Charlotte through the 2018 season.

So the new ownership would have the option in 2019 to move the team that has played all but its first year — the inaugural 1995 season was played in Clemson, South Carolina, while Bank of America Stadium was being completed — in Charlotte to another city.

Lyles and members of the City Council are committed to make sure that doesn’t happen, the mayor said.

“The City of Charlotte values its long-running relationship with the Panthers after more than 22 seasons of NFL football,” Lyles, a season-ticket holder, said in a statement. “The Panthers are part of Charlotte’s fabric. We’ve celebrated victories and anguished over defeats. We understand transitions are inevitable, and we look forward to working with current and future ownership.”

Councilman James Mitchell, the chairman of the new economic development committee charged with working with the Panthers, was on the council in 2002 when the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets moved to New Orleans. He remembers the grief it brought the city and said losing the Panthers would be just as devastating, if not more so.

“The question will become, ‘What’s wrong with Charlotte?”’ Mitchell said. “I’m committed to being the City Council that kept the Panthers in Charlotte.

“So the role I’d like our committee to play is to make sure we work with the new owner and make sure he or she knows how valuable the Panthers are to the city of Charlotte and then say, ‘What we else can we do? What is your checklist to make sure you’re committed to the Charlotte community?”’

Among those who have expressed interest in the Panthers are Sean “Diddy” Combs, whom Forbes estimates to be worth $820 million. Charlotte native Stephen Curry, the two-time NBA MVP with the Golden State Warriors, and former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick also weighed in on the team when Combs tweeted his interest.

Hall of Famer Eddie Debartolo Jr., the former owner of the 49ers, also has expressed interest.

Video: CBS Chats About the Panthers Naming Tina Becker as Their New COO

Our ‘We Need To Talk’ analysts discuss the Carolina Panthers naming Tina Becker as their chief operating officer.

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