NFL commissioner Roger Goodell says he has no authority to oust Daniel Snyder as owner of the Washington commander because the organization’s work culture is constantly monitored and allegations of sexual harassment by team leaders by women leaders are constantly monitored.
Goodell testified before members of Congress at a hearing before the parliamentary oversight and reform committee. At one point, at the end of more than a two-hour testimony, Goodell’s spokesman Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan) asked if Goodell and the league were willing to do more to punish Snyder.
After asking if he would recommend removing Snyder as owner of the commanders, Tlaib asked Goodell, “Are you removing him?”
“I have no authority to remove him, Congressman,” Goodell replied.
The NFL owner can only be removed by a three-quarters (24 out of 32) majority of the co-owners, although Goodell has the opportunity to formally recommend such a vote.
Snyder was called to testify but refused, citing foreign business obligations and concerns about due process. The committee’s chairman, Carolyn Maloney (D-New York), announced at the hearing that she intended to issue a summons to compel her to testify.
“The NFL does not want or cannot prosecute Mr Snyder,” Maloney said. “That is why I am now announcing my intention to issue a summons to Mr Snyder next week to deposit. The committee will not be deterred from investigating Washington commanders.”
Goodell told the committee that the investigation, led by attorney Beth Wilkinson, had changed the team’s culture and that Snyder had been “prosecuted.”
After Wilkinson presented his findings to Goodell last year, the NFL fined the team $ 10 million and Snyder gave up his day-to-day business. However, the league did not publish a written report on Wilkinson’s findings, and Goodell said the decision was intended to protect the privacy of former employees who had spoken to investigators.
After Wednesday ‘s meeting, the commanders sent a letter to the crew, a copy of which was provided by ESPN, stating in part: “We believe that the statements made in the critical media about our organization do not accurately reflect the positive change in our organization and the current reality of the current Washington commanders’ organization.”
The committee released the results of its eight-month investigation before Wednesday’s hearing, accusing Snyder of his own “shadow investigation” to discredit former employees, hiring private detectives to intimidate witnesses and using a foreign case as a pretext. telephone records and e-mails.
The 29-page memo states that Snyder tried to discredit people who accused him and other team leaders of misconduct, and also sought to influence Wilkinson’s team investigation into the NFL.
Snyder’s lawyers presented the NFL with a 100-slide PowerPoint presentation that included “private messages, emails, phone logs and transcripts of calls, and social media posts from nearly 50 individuals whom Mr. Snyder apparently believed were conspiring to denigrate him.” said the commission.
Asked about the investigation into the alleged “shadow,” Goodell replied, “Any action that would discourage people from taking action would be inappropriate.”
In a statement, a spokesman for Snyder described the report and the hearing as a “politically charged model process” and said Congress should not look into “the problem the football team dealt with years ago.”
Attorneys Lisa Banks and Debra Katz, who represent more than 40 former team members, again called on Goodell to publish Wilkinson’s investigation report, calling him “shocked and depressed” to hear that Snyder had been prosecuted.
“Today, the committee released a disastrous report showing that Snyder and his attorneys were also monitoring and investigating the complainants, their attorneys, witnesses, and journalists that Goodell knew and did nothing to address,” Banks and Katz said in a statement.
Maloney has enacted legislation to restrict the use of non-disclosure agreements and to provide protection for employees whose professional images are misused. Among the allegations against the superiors is that the team staff made a video of the unclean excerpts from a photo session attended by the incentive team.
The Committee’s Republicans have accused Democrats of chasing the NFL team to distract them from more pressing issues and of exceeding the Committee’s mission.
“The main task of this committee is to oversee the executive, but throughout this congress, Democrats have turned a blind eye to the Biden administration,” said James Comer, a spokesman for Kentucky. “Instead, the SC is investigating a private organization for misconduct in the workplace many years ago.”
ESPN’s Tisha Thompson and Associated Press contributed to this report.
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