While the NFL was investigating his team for widespread misconduct, Washington Senior Owner Daniel Snyder called for a “shadow investigation” to intervene and undermine his findings, a congressional committee has found.
On Snyder’s instructions, his legal team used private investigators to harass and intimidate witnesses, and created a 100-page dossier aimed at victims, witnesses, and journalists who shared “credible public allegations of harassment” against the team.
The Parliamentary Oversight and Reform Committee on Wednesday issued a 29-page memorandum detailing the findings of its eight-month investigation into allegations that leaders and NFL team members allegedly sexually harassed female employees. The report came before a hearing where the league commissioner, Roger Goodell, was expected to speak and be questioned. Snyder rejected two demands for a declaration, citing “long-standing business conflict.”
The chairman of the committee, New York Democrat MP Carolyn B. Maloney wrote that he found evidence that Snyder was trying to discredit those who complained against the team and encountered a “justifying narrative” that Snyder was not guilty. For the misconduct, which allegedly took place from 2006 to 2019, for almost the entire duration of his tenure.
To that end, Snyder and his attorneys also collected thousands of emails from Bruce Allen, who was the team president from 2009 to 2019, to take responsibility for creating a toxic work environment and trying to influence the NFL investigation. Direct access to the league and to Beth Wilkinson, the attorney who led the league investigation, under the memorandum.
Snyder’s representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The NFL was aware of Snyder’s actions, the memo said, “but failed to take significant steps to prevent them.” As a result of the Wilkinson investigation, the league imposed a $ 10 million team fine on Snyder and forced him to leave the club’s day-to-day operations, but the NFL did not ask Wilkinson to prepare a written report, a decision that is being considered by both sides. Elected officials and former team members who participated in the investigation.
Goodell told the committee today that the league had “compelling reasons” for restricting Wilkinson’s report to an oral briefing, in particular to maintain the confidentiality of its participants. “We have spoken openly and directly about the fact that the workplace culture in commanders has been not only unprofessional but also toxic for a very long time,” Goodell said in a prepared testimony.
The committee, which said its intention was to check on the failures of executives and the NFL, and to strengthen workplace protection for all employees, will present its findings at Wednesday’s hearing. The NFL launched a second investigation into the leaders earlier this year in response to new allegations of sexual harassment against Snyder made at a February congressional roundtable. Goodell said the findings of the investigation, led by attorney Mary Joe White, will be published.
The committee memorandum also provides additional examples of Snyder’s direct role in creating the workplace, which Goodell acknowledged was marked by widespread disrespect and harassment. The team’s former chief operating officer told the committee that Snyder “refused to take action” against the coach, who allegedly fired a public relations officer and fired female employees who had a consensual relationship with male football operations staff, while the men kept the jobs.