Sports · June 23, 2022

The panel notes that Daniel Snyder interfered with the sexual harassment investigation

While the NFL was investigating his team for widespread workplace misconduct, Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder conducted a “shadow investigation” to interfere and undermine his 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 shared “credible public allegations. of harassment “against the team.

The House Oversight and Reform Committee released a 29-page memo on Wednesday detailing the results of its eight-month investigation into how the commanders and the NFL handled reports of rampant sexual harassment against employees of the squad. The report was released ahead of Wednesday’s hearing, in which League commissioner Roger Goodell appeared remotely.

Snyder declined two requests to appear, citing a “longstanding trade conflict”. At Wednesday’s hearing, Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, a New York Democrat and committee chair, said she would sue Snyder for a statement next week.

In the memo, Maloney wrote that the jury’s investigation revealed evidence that Snyder sought to discredit those who had made claims against the team and to create “an exonerating narrative” that Snyder was not to blame for the misconduct. that would happen. from 2006 to 2019, almost the entire tenure of ownership.

To that end, Snyder and his attorneys also collected thousands of emails from Bruce Allen, who was a Commanders executive from 2009 to 2019, in an attempt to blame Allen for creating a toxic work environment, and sought to influence the NFL investigation through direct access to the league and Beth Wilkinson, the attorney who led the league report, according to the note.

A representative from Snyder said in a statement that the committee’s investigation was “predetermined from the start” and said the team addressed these issues in the workplace “years ago”.

The NFL was aware of Snyder’s actions, the memo said, “but has not taken significant steps to prevent them.” Wilkinson’s investigation led the league to impose a team fine of $ 10 million on Snyder and forced him to step back from day-to-day club operations, but the NFL did not ask Wilkinson to prepare a written report. , a decision that attracted attention from both elected officials and former team employees who participated in the investigation.

Goodell told the committee at Wednesday’s hearing that the league had “compelling reasons” for limiting the Wilkinson report to an oral briefing, namely to preserve the confidentiality of its participants. “We have been open and straightforward that the workplace culture of commanders has not only been unprofessional, but toxic for too long,” Goodell said in prepared testimony. He added that there has been “a substantial transformation” of the team’s office and that it “bears no resemblance to the workplace that was described to this committee.”

The NFL initiated a second investigation into commanders earlier this year, in response to a new sexual harassment allegation that directly involved Snyder at a Congressional roundtable in February. Goodell said the results of that investigation, led by attorney Mary Jo White, will be made public.

The committee’s note also cited further examples of Snyder’s direct role in creating a job that Goodell recognized was characterized by widespread disrespect and harassment. The team’s former chief operating officer told the committee that Snyder “refused to act” against a manager who allegedly groped a public relations employee and fired female workers who engaged in consensual relationships with male football operations employees, while men they kept their jobs.

Additionally, the Washington Post reported that the Wilkinson investigation examined the 2009 confidential settlement of a claim that Snyder groped an employee and asked her for sex.

Snyder, his wife Tanya and team president Jason Wright sent a statement Wednesday to team employees objecting to the “hard and negative way” the team was being described and pointing to “significant” changes to redo the culture of the team. organization .