The alarm bells were loud enough to be heard all over France.
Daniel Snyder might have thought he outsmarted the House Oversight and Reform Commission with his casually scheduled vacation, confident that Roger Goodell’s willingness to be a human shield for NFL owners and Washington’s inability resisting the grandiose and the hysteria would have prevented anything significant from coming out. of Wednesday’s hearing. But among the clown show moments, of which there were many during the 2.5-hour audience, there were indications that Snyder – and the NFL – would face serious problems and that the days of his dodging responsibilities may have ended.
“A cover-up on behalf of a powerful owner,” said committee chairman Carolyn Maloney, “should be important to all of us.”
Snyder’s first problem is that Maloney doesn’t care if the owner of the Washington Commanders agrees that his team’s toxic workplace is the committee’s business or if he wants to dignify its members with his presence. He will have to, because Maloney announced during the hearing that he will issue a subpoena forcing him to testify next week.
This means that Snyder will have to answer, under oath, questions about the sexual assault allegations raised against him in 2009 and the $ 1.6 million he paid to make them disappear. About the misogynistic behavior that he tolerated, and many have said that he enabled it, for years. Of his efforts to intimidate former employees and subvert the NFL investigation. About his “exile” from his team’s operations.
Moreover. Given that some committee members used their five-minute fame, ahem, Wednesday time to question Goodell about racism, perhaps some intrepid rep can ask Snyder about that set of duplicate books he allegedly keeps to hide money from his fellow owners. .
OPINION: NFL owners filth stained Roger Goodell
Whatever Snyder says is almost certain to go public, which comes with the risk of legal exposure for him and the certainty of embarrassment for the NFL. He may plead the Fifth but that will, impossible as it may seem, will only make it seem worse.
It has always been a mystery to me why Goodell and the NFL fought so hard to protect Snyder, which was nothing but a problem for the league. Nothing Goodell said or disclosed at the hearing did anything to make this clear.
Goodell acknowledged that he “does not remember” Snyder telling the NFL in 2009 that he was the subject of a sexual assault and harassment complaint by a former commanders employee. This was a direct violation of the NFL’s personal conduct policy, which required “players, coaches, other team employees, owners, match officials and all other privileged persons to work in the National Football League” to “avoid harmful conduct to integrity and public confidence in the league.
Safe enough to ask an employee to have sex, groped her, and try to take her clothes off, as the woman’s attorney said, according to the Washington Post, would conflict with that!
Goodell also admitted that he has never seen an NFL operation “anywhere” as toxic as Snyder’s team. Which is saying something, considering Jerry Richardson decided to sell his Carolina Panthers almost immediately after racism and sexual harassment came to light.
Still, Goodell stuck to his nonsensical explanation that the NFL “couldn’t” publish a written report on Beth Wilkinson’s alleged independent investigation.
There is no written report, Goodell said, despite the fact that the NFL had a written report for nearly every other investigation it has done. Even if that were the case, Goodell said darkly, repeatedly, that the league had promised women anonymity.
Except that reps Jamie Raskin, D-Md., And Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., Pointed out, the league somehow managed to publish a written report and protect people’s anonymity when investigating the harassment allegations. sex involving the Miami Dolphins.
“The way they were granted anonymity, if you look at the 148-page report (Dolphins), is that their names were deleted from that report,” Krishnamoorthi said after the hearing. “So you could do exactly the same thing in this particular situation, but the NFL chose not to.”
Again, why? Snyder put his foot down to Washington’s racist nickname, making a change only after sponsors threatened to sever ties. His rampant arrogance and misogyny is a turning point for women, a huge demographic if the NFL is to become that $ 25 billion-a-year industry Goodell envisions. His team is terrible.
And the latest scandals have left Snyder almost no hope of getting a deal for the stadium in even the most remote corner of the DC-Maryland-Virginia area.
“Commanders can’t have both,” Raskin said. “You can’t constantly ask for subsidies and investments from the public and then fail to observe the basic laws that govern the workplace.”
Which means Snyder has gone beyond embarrassment. He is now costing his fellow owners money, and that may be his only sin that not even they can forgive.
The committee shows no sign of letting it go, and there’s another league investigation into Snyder that Goodell has promised will result in a written report. With Snyder already on vacation, other NFL owners should tell him to extend it.
Follow USA TODAY sports columnist Nancy Armor on Twitter @nrarmour.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Daniel Snyder has avoided accountability long enough