NASCAR issued a statement Wednesday night denying a report by a Charlotte TV station that NASCAR Chairman Brian France was involved with a group to purchase the NFL’s Carolina Panthers.
In the statement to NBC Sports, NASCAR stated: “NASCAR denies the accuracy of the WCNC report. Brian France is not involved.”
WCNC, citing three unnamed, sources reported Wednesday that France is part of a group that wants to buy the Carolina Panthers with France becoming the new major holder.
Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson will sell the team at the end of the season. This came after it was revealed in December by Sports Illustrated that four former Panther employees received “significant settlements” for workplace misconduct that included “sexual harassment against female employees and for directing a racial slur at an African-American employee.”
France has served as NASCAR’s Chairman since September 2003. He’s admitted to asking the NFL about its ownership structure in 2005.
The grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. and son of Bill France Jr., NASCAR’s second president, Brian France raised eyebrows in Dec. 2008 at a motorsports marketing forum in New York when he said he didn’t anticipate leading NASCAR as long as his father did. Brian France explained his comments a month later, saying:
“This gets misunderstood whether whenever I say something like that, and it simply means that my father was 32 years the CEO and the president of NASCAR and ran the company. And all I said is that that’s not in the cards for me, and I don’t think it’s a smart thing for the sport. That doesn’t mean I won’t have a long run; I hope I do. I hope I’m doing what I’m doing — I really like what I’m doing, and I like working with the industry and the great group of people and Mike (Helton) and I side by side. So that should not be misconstrued. As long as we’re having fun and we’re making progress as an industry, then I would love doing what I’m doing.
“But I am 46 (in 2009), so I don’t think I’ll be 76 and still talking to you. That’s probably a — that doesn’t mean a short window, but it doesn’t mean 30 years, and that’s really where we are.”
France told USA Today in 2013 that when a group bidding on a Major League Baseball team called in 2010, he passed and hadn’t explored any opportunities to that point.