Commissioner Roger Goodell testifies before Congress; committee to subpoena Commanders owner Dan Snyder
The NFL fined the team $10 million last year and Snyder stepped down from day-to-day operations after Wilkinson presented his findings to Goodell. However, the league has not released a written report on Wilkinson’s findings, a move Goodell said was intended to protect the privacy of former employees who spoke to investigators.
“We have not received a written report of Ms. Wilkinson’s findings for compelling reasons that continue to this day,” Goodell said in her opening remarks to the committee. “An essential part of any workplace review is broad participation from current and former employees. Encouraging employees to come forward and share their experiences, which were often painful and emotional, was key to identifying both the failures of organization and how to correct them. To encourage this involvement, Ms. Wilkinson promised confidentiality to any current or former employee. For this reason, shortly after assuming supervision of Ms. Wilkinson’s work, we determined that a full oral briefing would best allow us to receive the necessary information both to assess the workplace as it was, and to ensure that the team put in place the necessary policies and processes to reform that workplace. work, while maintaining the confidentiality of those who participated in the survey.”
When announcing the discipline, the NFL said none of those accused of sexual harassment still worked for the Washington franchise. But two separate accusations of sexual harassment by Snyder himself have since surfaced.
Former employee Tiffani Johnston told the committee during a roundtable in February that Snyder groped her at a team dinner and tried to force her into his limo, which Snyder denies. And The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that a woman accused Snyder of sexually assaulting her on a team plane in 2009, resulting in a $1.6 million settlement.
Johnston’s allegation prompted the NFL to hire former Securities and Exchange Commission chairwoman Mary Jo White to conduct a new investigation into Snyder and the team, and the league plans to make its findings public.
Goodell told the committee that the NFL discovered the 2009 allegations in July 2020 and that the league made sure Wilkinson was “made aware of the allegations.”
Maloney announced Wednesday that she has introduced legislation to limit the use of nondisclosure agreements in the workplace and provide protections for employees whose professional images are used inappropriately. Among the charges against the commanders are that team employees produced a video of obscene shots during a photo shoot involving the cheerleading team.
According to the memo, Snyder used a defamation lawsuit against an obscure India-based online media company as a pretext to subpoena emails, phone records and text messages from former employees who spoke to the Washington. Workplace harassment post. The subpoenas were unusually broad and many of those targeted “had no plausible connection” to the Indian media company, the committee claimed.
The committee also alleged that Snyder sought to blame former team president Bruce Allen for problems with Washington’s work culture and that Snyder’s lawyers provided Wilkinson and the NFL with 400,000 e- emails from Allen’s account, highlighting those they deemed “inappropriate”. Some email exchanges with Allen included homophobic and misogynistic comments by Jon Gruden, which leaked to reporters last fall and prompted the Las Vegas Raiders to fire Gruden as coach.
Witnesses also told the committee that Snyder sent private investigators to their home and offered them silent money. The NFL was aware of Snyder’s use of private investigators, according to documents obtained by the committee, but that did not stop the practice, witnesses said.
Another new allegation came from David Pauken, the team’s former chief operating officer, who told the committee in a deposition released Wednesday that Snyder directly ordered the firing of two female employees for having sex with a player and a coach. He also said the men involved were undisciplined.
Republicans on the committee accused Democrats of suing an NFL team to distract from more pressing issues and overstep the scope of the committee’s mission.
“A key responsibility of this committee is to oversee the executive branch, but all this Congress, the Democrats have turned a blind eye to the Biden administration,” said Kentucky GOP Rep. James Comer, a member of the committee. “Instead, the Oversight Committee is investigating a single private organization for malpractice that occurred years ago.”