House panel says commanders owner Dan Snyder promoted toxic job and “conducted a shadow investigation” by targeting accusers



CNN

On Wednesday, House Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney accused in a hearing that Washington commanders owner Dan Snyder “promoted” the football team’s “toxic workplace” and then “conducted an investigation. shadow to target his accusers, lay the blame on others and influence the NFL internal review. ”

Maloney said Snyder “fired women but not men who had relationships with other employees while defending male executives accused of sexual harassment,” according to testimony from former high-level executives during the jury’s eight-month investigation into culture. commanders and on The NFL Response.

The New York Democrat said Snyder sent private investigators to the homes of former cheerleaders, “offered money to buy their silence,” created a “dossier” of communications from journalists, lawyers and former employees who accused the harassment team and tried to blame former team president Bruce Allen for the team’s troubles.

“The NFL was aware of his actions, but they couldn’t stop him,” Maloney said.

Snyder declined to testify at the hearing, but Maloney announced he intended to issue a subpoena to force his testimony next week. A spokesperson for Snyder said the hearing was “little more than a politically accused sham trial, not to find out the truth.”

“It is clear that the outcome of the House Oversight Committee’s investigation into Washington commanders was predetermined from the start,” Snyder’s spokesman said.

Last year, following an internal investigation by attorney Beth Wilkinson, the National Football League fined the team $ 10 million and Snyder gave control of the franchise’s daily operations to his wife Tanya. But the NFL refused to publicly release its findings, triggering the House Oversight Committee’s review in October.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell testified before the panel Wednesday and said the commanders’ culture has been “not only unprofessional, but toxic for too long.”

“It is clear to me that the workplace in Washington was unprofessional and unacceptable in many ways: bullying, widespread disrespect of colleagues, use of humiliating language, public embarrassment and harassment,” said Goodell. “In addition, over an extended period of time, commanders have had a woefully deficient human resources function, particularly with regards to reporting practices and record keeping.”

But Goodell said the commanders’ jobs had changed for the better and that Snyder “faced unprecedented discipline”, including fines. He said Snyder hasn’t attended league or committee meetings in the past year and noted that the commanders have put in place “an entirely new, highly skilled and diverse management team” and “revamped” their cheerleading program. and leadership with a mixed dance team. In 2020, the commanders hired Ron Rivera as head football coach and Jason Wright as president of their team.

Goodell also said the team had not received a written report from Wilkinson in order to preserve the confidentiality of those who participated in the internal investigations, but could have released a “summary of key findings” in the future “if appropriate”. Democratic representative of Illinois Raja Krishnamoorthi suggested that the NFL could publish a detailed report with drafted names if needed.

Republicans said Wednesday that the House Oversight Committee should instead devote its time to more important national issues – such as rising consumer prices, a shortage of baby formulas, the record number of illegal border crossings, overdose on fentanyl or the booming stock market – and focus on investigating the federal government rather than the private sector. Maloney said the committee had the authority to investigate “everything and nothing,” leading at least one Republican member to say they will remember it next year, when the GOP is favored to take back the House.

“This committee is disappointing the American people,” said Kentucky Rep Jim Comer, the main Republican in the panel.

Maloney disagreed, noting that six state attorneys general had voiced to the NFL in April their “grave concerns” over allegations of workplace harassment of women and minorities and that the NFL had initiated a new investigation based on the work of the committee.

The NFL has hired former Securities and Exchange Commission chair Mary Jo White to investigate a sexual harassment allegation against Snyder by former employee Tiffani Johnston, former cheerleader and team marketing manager. Johnston told the Congressional committee that her commander’s owner had put a hand on her leg under the table at a business dinner and tried to get her into her limo. Snyder denied Johnston’s allegations.

“Some have argued that protecting women is not worthy of this committee’s time. I totally disagree, “Maloney said.” For more than two decades, Dan Snyder refused to protect the women who worked for him from the toxic culture he created. Even the NFL has failed to protect these women. Now, too. I believe it is up to Congress to protect them and millions more like them. ”

Maloney said he has filed two bills to “ensure that employers like Dan Snyder cannot abuse nondisclosure agreements to silence employees and cannot film their employees” and use the footage without theirs. consent. Goodell said you supported the intent of the accounts.

“In the concept, we definitely support him and would be happy to work with your staff,” said Goodell.

Snyder had been invited to appear before the panel on Wednesday, but he was out of the country, according to Maloney.

“We also invited Daniel Snyder to testify today. But instead of showing up and taking responsibility for his actions, he chose to skip town, “Maloney said.” Apparently, Mr. Snyder is in France, where he docked his luxury yacht near a tourist spot. This should tell you how much respect he has for women in the workplace. ”

Snyder’s attorney, Karen Patton Seymour, said the owner of the commanders is willing to cooperate but the committee was “unwilling to consider changing the hearing date,” according to the four-page letter obtained by CNN. .

“The Committee also said it was unwilling to consider changing the hearing date, despite the fact that Mr. Snyder has a long-standing trade conflict relating to commanders and is out of the country at the first and only. date proposed by the Committee for the hearing “, the letter reads. “The committee instead insisted on a yes or no answer from Mr. Snyder that he would show up for the hearing at the appointed time.”

Asked Maloney about what “specific steps” the NFL would take to hold Snyder accountable for not testifying, Goodell said, “I have no responsibility for him appearing before Congress. It’s not my choice. This is his. choice”.

Correction: An earlier version of this story gave the wrong day for remarks made by House Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney. It was Wednesday.

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