“Instead of showing up and taking responsibility for his actions, he decided to leave the city,” Maloney said at the hearing, noting that Snyder’s yacht was in France, probably owned by the captain, not on Capitol Hill. “It should show you how much respect she feels for women in the workplace.”
In Snyder’s absence, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell asked questions within 2.5 hours about his perceptions of and response to widespread sexual harassment allegations in the Snyder team. Goodell, who testified from a distance from New York and was asked to describe what he had learned about the commanders’ environment, said he had not seen as bad a culture in the NFL as Washington in his four decades.
However, Goodell insisted on refusing to disclose the results of the League-funded commanders’ investigation by attorney Beth Wilkinson, reiterating that the NFL had promised confidentiality to 150 former employees who described episodes of sexual harassment and degrading treatment.
Daniel Snyder conducted a shadow investigation of the prosecutors, the panel found
Several members of the panel considered Goodell’s argument unsatisfactory.
“It’s fake,” Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) Told Goodell. “Survivors have asked you to publish a report.”
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) Later asked Goodell why the names of people who had requested anonymity could not be acknowledged. Raskin noted that this is how the NFL addressed privacy concerns when publishing a 148-page report in 2014 about harassment at the Miami Dolphins.
“The editorial office doesn’t always work in my world,” Goodell replied.
Goodell said the NFL had properly disciplined Snyder as a result of the investigation, noting both the $ 10 million fine imposed on the team and Snyder’s pause in day-to-day affairs. Goodell also praised the reorganization of the organization following the allegations.
“It’s not clear,” said Goodell, whose face was projected on oversized screens in Capitol Hill’s auditorium.
Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) Asked Goodell if Snyder or the team had reported to the league a 2009 sexual assault charge against Snyder, which resulted in a $ 1.6 million deal with the former employee. The Washington Post released details of an employee’s allegation that Snyder attacked him in April 2009 during a flight on a private jet three months before the crew agreed to pay for a confidential agreement. In a 2020 lawsuit, Snyder called the woman’s allegations “unfounded.”
Goodell said: “I do not remember him informing [the league] of that, no. “
The hybrid process, in which some lawmakers were in the interrogation room and others attended remotely, was marked by sharpness, a sharp divide between partisans and periodic unrest, with Maloney repeatedly beating his baton at some point in an attempt to silence President Byron Donalds (R). -Fla.), Who repeatedly asked, “What is the purpose of this hearing?” As Maloney tried to move on, Donalds said, “You can hit as much with the knife as you want, but I don’t really care.”
Exclusive: Document Reveals Details of Daniel Snyder’s 2009 Sexual Assault Allegations
According to Maloney, the investigation has a dual value: to highlight one of the country’s most visible jobs (the Washington NFL team) as an example of how its leaders should not treat workers, and to legislate to protect all working Americans from similar abuse. .
“For more than two decades, Dan Snyder has refused to protect the women who worked for him from the toxic culture he created,” Maloney said in his opening remar
ks. “The NFL has failed to protect these women either. Now I believe it is up to Congress to protect them and millions like them.
However, for the representative of James Comer (R-Ky.), A member of the panel’s minority party and many of his fellow Republicans, the investigation is a waste of taxpayers’ money and the time of commission members.
“Let’s hold hearings and monitor the crises that are currently affecting Americans: 40 years of high inflation, soaring gas prices, running out of infant formula, a sudden overdose of fentanyl and our tank stock market,” Comer said. .
Republic Virginia Foxx (RN.C.) repeated Comer’s comment.
“Sitting here today, families are thinking about how to pay for gasoline and groceries and find formula for their children,” Foxx said, describing the commanders’ affairs as “the last thing Americans think.”
Wednesday’s hearing was the next step in an eight-month investigation into the NFL’s refusal to disclose details of Wilkinson’s findings.
This was preceded by the publication of some 700 pages of documents related to the Committee’s work – statements, transcribed interviews and a 29-page summary describing how Snyder had overshadowed his team of lawyers and private detectives. to discredit his accusers and to dismiss the team for the misconduct in the workplace. According to the Commission’s findings, the focus of that ‘shadow investigation’ was the creation of a file illustrated with 100 slides aimed at former employers, their lawyers and Washington Post journalists whom Snyder considered enemies.
The committee also found that Snyder was trying to find derogatory information about former team president Bruce Allen that he could use to convince the NFL and Wilkinson that Allen, not Snyder, was responsible for the team’s toxic culture. Snyder fired Allen in December 2019 after 10 years.
To that end, lawyers working for Snyder combed more than 400,000 emails in Allen’s passive team account, looking for something “inappropriate” and sharing that information with the NFL and Wilkinson. He also allowed private detectives to visit the homes of former cheerleaders and ask if they were aware of any “sexual misconduct” involving Allen.
Since the first report of sexual harassment on the team in July 2020, Snyder has portrayed himself as a victim of an organized conspiracy to defame and blackmail him. He has also said that his only failure as an NFL owner has been “too loose,” adding that when he was aware of the problems, he fired all the bad actors.
Maloney closed the session with a message to Snyder.
“We are not discouraged by billionaire owners and political posture,” he said. “Victims demand answers, and we all demand justice.”
Committee members later said they would act quickly to obtain Snyder’s testimony and that he would face immediate punishment if he refused.
“Congress with a thumbs up is not a good strategy,” said Krishnamoorth, who helped lead the investigation.
Mr Snyder twice refused the committee’s invitation to testify, stating through his lawyer that he had a “long-running business conflict” abroad on Wednesday and had further concerns about due process and fairness. He noted that before appearing before the committee, he wanted assurances that any questions put to him would be limited to the team’s “historical culture”. He also asked, through his lawyer, the identities of all those who spoke to him or her about the Commission and the content of the interviews.
Speier predicted that Snyder would refuse to testify and that Parliament would vote for the contempt of his congress.
“He’s old enough to be despised,” Speier said. “That’s my guess.”
Nicki Jhabvala contributed to this report.
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