Carolina Panthers in violation of NFL rules during search for head coach, report says

The Carolina Panthers have broken league rules while searching for their next head coach, according to reports.

On Tuesday evening, Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports reported that Nicole Tepper, wife of Panthers owner David Tepper and Chief Administrative Officer of Tepper Sports & Entertainment, had not fulfilled the required inclusive hiring training necessary for her to take part in potential candidate interviews.

The Panthers have already interviewed Steve Wilks, Jim Caldwell, Frank Reich, Shane Steichen and Ejiro Evero, and plan to meet with former Saints coach Sean Payton, Bills offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey and Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka over the weekend. Owner David Tepper, Nicole Tepper and general manager Scott Fitterer are leading the Panthers’ search for their next permanent coach.

In response to the report, a Panthers’ team spokesperson said in a statement: “She was trained prior to participating in interviews.” The team did not expand upon that original statement. The NFL has not responded to requests for comment.

The policy, which requires NFL decision-makers in search of a new head coach or general manager to complete inclusion hiring training prior to beginning their search, has only been in place since October, and this is the first league-wide hiring cycle since it was implemented. Under the rule, David and Nicole Tepper, along with Fitterer, would be required to fulfill the required training.

It’s unclear if the Panthers will face any fines or penalties.

This is a developing story

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