The United States House Committee on Oversight and Reform released a report on Thursday, saying that the Washington Commanders NFL franchise created a “toxic work culture” for more than 20 years and frequently were “ignoring and downplaying sexual misconduct” by men employed at the organization.
Commanders owner Dan Snyder was named several times by Congress in the 79-page report, which accused him of inappropriately touching a former employee at a dinner, having workers produce a “sexually suggestive” video of team cheerleaders and ordering that women who were auditioning to be cheerleaders walk on the field “while he and his friends gawked from his suite through binoculars.”
The report also said that Snyder also interfered in the House investigation by “intimidating witnesses and blocking the production of documents.” The Congressional investigation followed an NFL probe, which stemmed from allegations by former employees that accused team executives of rampant sexual harassment by team executives.
Snyder also was “often evasive and misleading” and testified more than 100 times “that he did not know or could not recall basic facts about his role as owner” of the team, the report said.
While the National Football League itself has investigated Snyder in the past, the league was also sharply criticized by Congress in the report.
The NFL “continues to minimize workplace misconduct across the league,” the report said. Additionally, it “has not protected workers from sexual harassment and abuse,” and “has not sought true accountability for those responsible.”
The NFL did not respond to MarketWatch’s request for comment on this story.
“These Congressional investigators demonstrated, almost immediately, that they were not interested in the truth, and were only interested in chasing headlines by pursuing one side of the story,” John Brownlee and Stuart Nash, Counsel for the Washington Commanders told MarketWatch about the report. “Today’s report is the predictable culmination of that one-sided approach.
The House committee opened an investigation into the Washington Commanders after the NFL did not release a written report of attorney Beth Wilkinson’s separate investigation of the team’s workplace culture in the summer of 2021 that resulted in a $10 million fine.
“The NFL chose to bury Ms. Wilkinson’s findings and whitewash the misconduct it uncovered,” the committee report said. “Rather than seek real accountability, the NFL aligned its legal interests with Mr. Snyder’s, failed to curtail his abusive tactics, and buried the investigation’s findings.”
Snyder and wife Tanya hired Bank of America Securities
in November to explore selling the Washington Commanders franchise. Snyder bought the team for $800 million in 1999. It is now worth $4.78 billion, according to Sportico.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.