The Congressional Committee found that when the NFL investigated its team for widespread misconduct in the workplace, Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder conducted a “shadow investigation” to confuse and undermine its results.
At Snyder’s command, his legal team used private detectives to harass and intimidate witnesses and compiled a 100-page file aimed at victims, witnesses and journalists who had shared “credible public allegations of harassment” against the team.
The House of Commons Oversight and Reform Committee released a 29-page memo on Wednesday detailing the results of an eight-month inquiry into how commanders and the NFL dealt with allegations of rampant sexual harassment of female crew. The report was presented before the hearing, at which the league’s Commissioner, Roger Goodell, was expected to appear and would be questioned. Snyder declined two requests to appear, citing a “long-running business conflict.”
New York Democrat Carolyn B. Maloney, chairman of the committee, wrote that the investigation found evidence that Snyder was trying to discredit those who had spoken out against the team and create an “apologetic narrative” for which Snyder was not guilty. allegedly committed an offense between 2006 and 2019 for almost the entire period of his ownership.
To that end, Snyder and his attorneys also collected thousands of emails from Bruce Allen, who served as CEO of Commander from 2009 to 2019, accusing Allen of creating a toxic work environment and influencing the NFL investigation through it. direct access to the league and Beth Wilkinson, the attorney who led the league report, according to the memo.
A spokesman for Snyder said in a statement that the committee’s investigation was “pre-determined” and confirmed that the team had addressed these workplace issues “years ago”.
The memo wrote that the NFL was aware of Snyder’s actions, “but did not take significant steps to prevent them.” As a result of Wilkinson’s investigation, Snyder was fined a $ 10 million team fine and withdrew from the club’s day-to-day activities, but the NFL did not ask Wilkinson for a written report, a decision that has attracted the attention of both elected officials and former team members.
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Goodell told the committee on Wednesday that the league had “detrimental reasons” to limit the Wilkinson report to an oral briefing, namely to preserve the confidentiality of its participants. “We have been open and forthright about the fact that the commanders’ work culture was not only unprofessional but also toxic for too long,” Goodell said in a prepared statement. He added that the team’s office had undergone a “major transformation” and that it was “not similar to the job described for this committee”.
The committee, which said it intends to investigate both the failures of commanders and the NFL and strengthen the protection of all workers in the workplace, will present its conclusions at a hearing on Wednesday. The NFL launched a second investigation into commanders earlier this year in response to a new allegation of sexual harassment directly linked to Snyder’s February congressional roundtable. Goodell has said the results of an investigation led by attorney Mary Jo White will be made public.
The Committee’s memorandum also provides further examples of Snyder’s direct role in job creation, which Goodell acknowledged was characterized by widespread disrespect and harassment. The team’s former chief executive told the committee that Snyder “refused to take action” against the coach, who allegedly grabbed the public relations officer and fired female workers who had consensual relationships with male football operations workers while the men retained their jobs.
In addition, the Washington Post reported that the Wilkinson investigation was investigating a confidential decision in 2009 alleging that Snyder grabbed a female worker and asked her to have sex.
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