Because the N.F.L. was investigating his team for widespread workplace misconduct, the Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder directed a “shadow investigation” to interfere with and undermine its findings, a Congressional committee found.
At Snyder’s behest, the committee said, his legal team used private investigators to harass and intimidate witnesses, and created a 100-page dossier targeting victims, witnesses and journalists who had shared “credible public accusations of harassment” against the team.
The House Committee on Oversight and Reform released a 29-page memo on Wednesday that detailed the findings of its eight-month inquiry into how the Commanders and the N.F.L. handled claims of rampant sexual harassment of the team’s female employees. The report was released ahead of Wednesday’s hearing, where the league’s commissioner, Roger Goodell, appeared remotely.
Snyder declined two requests to look, citing a “longstanding business conflict.” At Wednesday’s hearing, Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, Democrat of Latest York and the chairwoman of the committee, said she planned to subpoena Snyder to supply a deposition next week.
Within the memo, Maloney wrote that the panel’s inquiry uncovered evidence that Snyder sought to discredit those that had made claims against the team and to create “an exculpatory narrative” that Snyder was not accountable for the misconduct, which was alleged to have taken place from 2006 to 2019, almost the complete tenure of his ownership.
To that end, Snyder and his lawyers also gathered hundreds of emails from Bruce Allen, who was a Commanders executive from 2009 to 2019, in an effort accountable Allen for the creation of a toxic work environment, and sought to influence the N.F.L. investigation through direct access to the league and Beth Wilkinson, the lawyer who led the league’s report, per the memo.
A representative for Snyder said in a press release that the committee’s investigation was “predetermined from the start” and asserted that the team addressed these workplace issues “years ago.”
The N.F.L. was aware of Snyder’s actions, the memo said, “but did not take meaningful steps to forestall them.” Wilkinson’s investigation led the league to impose a $10 million team advantageous on Snyder and had him step back from the club’s day-to-day operations, however the N.F.L. didn’t ask Wilkinson to arrange a written report, a call that has drawn scrutiny each from elected officials and former team employees who participated within the investigation.
Goodell told the committee in Wednesday’s hearing that the league had “compelling reasons” to limit the Wilkinson report back to an oral briefing, namely to preserve the confidentiality of its participants. “We’ve been open and direct in regards to the proven fact that the workplace culture on the Commanders was not only unprofessional, but toxic for much too long,” Goodell said in prepared testimony. He added that there had been “substantial transformation” of the team’s office and that it “bears no resemblance to the workplace that has been described to this committee.”
The N.F.L. began a second investigation into the Commanders earlier this yr, in response to a latest allegation of sexual harassment that directly implicated Snyder in a February congressional round table. Goodell has said that the findings of that investigation, led by the lawyer Mary Jo White, will probably be made public.
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A demoralizing culture for ladies. After the 2014 Ray Rice scandal, the N.F.L. stepped up its efforts to rent and promote women. But greater than 30 former staff members interviewed by The Times described a stifling corporate culture that has left many ladies feeling dismissed. Six attorneys general warned the league that it could face an investigation if it doesn’t address the issue.
The committee’s memo also cited additional examples of Snyder’s direct role in making a workplace that Goodell acknowledged was marked by widespread disrespect and harassment. The team’s former chief operating officer told the committee that Snyder “refused to take motion” against a coach who allegedly groped a public relations worker and fired female staff who engaged in consensual relationships with male football operations employees, while the boys kept their jobs.
As well as, The Washington Post reported that the Wilkinson investigation examined the 2009 confidential settlement of a claim that Snyder groped a female worker and asked her for sex.
Snyder, his wife, Tanya, and the team president, Jason Wright, sent a press release Wednesday to team employees objecting to the “harsh and negative manner” during which the team had been described and pointed to “meaningful” changes to remake the organization’s culture.