While the NFL was investigating his team for widespread workplace misconduct, Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder conducted a “shadow investigation” to thwart his findings and undermine their findings, a congressional committee found.
The committee said that at Snyder’s direction, his legal team used private detectives to harass and intimidate witnesses and created a 100-page dossier targeting victims, witnesses and journalists who shared “credible public allegations of harassment” against the team.
On Wednesday, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform released a 29-page memo detailing the findings of an eight-month investigation into how commanders and the NFL dealt with allegations of rampant sexual harassment of female team members. The report was released ahead of Wednesday’s hearing, which was attended remotely by league commissioner Roger Goodell.
Snyder turned down two requests to appear, citing “a long-standing business conflict”. At Wednesday’s hearing, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, a New York Democrat and chair of the committee, said she plans to subpoena Snyder to testify next week.
In a memo, Maloney wrote that the commission’s investigation uncovered evidence that Snyder sought to discredit those who made claims against the team and create a “accusatory narrative” that Snyder was not to blame for the misconduct that allegedly took place. from 2006 to 2019, almost the entire tenure.
To that end, Snyder and his lawyers also collected thousands of emails from Bruce Allen, who was Commanders executive from 2009 to 2019, in an attempt to accuse Allen of creating a toxic work environment and to try to influence the NFL investigation through direct access to the league and Beth Wilkinson. to the lawyer who ran the league’s report, according to the memo.
A spokesman for Snyder said in a statement that the committee’s investigation was “destined from the start” and said the team dealt with these issues in the workplace “many years ago.”
The memo stated that the NFL was aware of Snyder’s actions “but took no meaningful steps to prevent them.” Wilkinson’s investigation led the league to impose a command fine of $10 million on Snyder and forced him to withdraw from the day-to-day activities of the club, but the NFL did not ask Wilkinson to prepare a written report, a decision that attracted attention from both elected officials and former team members involved in the investigation.
Goodell told the committee at Wednesday’s hearing that the league had “good reasons” to limit Wilkinson’s report to an oral briefing, namely to preserve the confidentiality of its members. “We spoke openly and directly about how the workplace culture of commanders has been not only unprofessional but also toxic for too long,” Goodell said in a prepared deposition. He added that the team’s office had undergone a “significant transformation” and that it had “nothing to do with the workplace that was described to this committee.”
Earlier this year, the NFL launched a second investigation into commanders in response to a new sexual harassment allegation directly implicated in Snyder’s February congressional roundtable. Goodell said the results of this investigation, by attorney Mary Jo White, would be released to the public.
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The committee memo also provided further examples of Snyder’s direct role in creating the workplace, which Goodell admitted was marked by widespread disrespect and harassment. The team’s former chief operating officer told the committee that Snyder “refused to take action” against a coach who allegedly groped a public relations officer and fired female employees who were in consensual relationships with male football operations employees while the men kept their jobs.
Besides, This was reported by the Washington Post. that the Wilkinson investigation examined a confidential 2009 settlement of an allegation that Snyder groped an employee and asked her for sex.
Snyder, his wife Tanya, and team president Jason Wright sent a statement to team staff on Wednesday objecting to the “strong and negative manner” in which the team has been described and pointing to “significant” changes to reshape the organization’s culture. .