On eve of Congressional roundtable, multiple former WFT employees speak out
On Thursday, former employees of the Washington Commanders will engage in a “hybrid roundtable” hearing with members of Congress regarding the treatment they experienced while working for the franchise. In advance of the session, several former employees spoke to HBO’s Real Sports Podcast.
HBO has circulated several quotes from the former employees. Some of the quotes appear below.
One former employee, who went by the pseudonym of Denise, shared this account: “I’m sitting at my desk. And this player just walks up and says whatever he says -- and he drops his shorts. And his complete -- he is completely naked, just exposed. And basically inviting me to take part right there, in broad daylight, in the middle of the office, the middle of the work day. And no one around said anything. No one thinks anything of it. He laughs. He walks back to practice, or back to meetings, wherever he went. And he is married. It’s just normal. And then he did it to at least one other woman.
Denise said team owner Daniel Snyder witnessed alleged misconduct, in his luxury suite at FedEx Field.
“Mr. Snyder was sitting there . . . a couple of others,” Denise said. “One of my friends, she went to pick up something that he had dropped and, I can’t even say the word gentleman, one of the guys sitting there groped her butt as she went to pick it up innocently. And Snyder chuckled and took a puff of his cigar. . . . And then probably seven minutes later another man, you know, brushed his arm against my breast. And a few minutes later another man said, ‘Hey, meet me in this suite back here in the corner,’ the examples are just -- they’re endless. And that’s in Snyder’s-- that’s in the owner’s suite. That’s -- Snyder’s right there. It’s happening.”
Another former employee, Tiffani Mattingly Johnston, said that she witnessed Snyder verbally abuse employees. She also contends that Snyder once touched her inappropriately at a team dinner.
“I was strategically placed right next to Dan Snyder,” Johnston said. “Anyway, I was eating dinner, having conversations. All of a sudden, Dan Snyder’s hand is on my leg. And it was one of those moments where, as I’m trying to maintain a conversation, I just think to myself, ‘OK, you can kinda make a big deal of this and make a scene or you can silently just move his hand from your leg.’ And so that’s what I decided to do. I literally put my hand on his hand, put it back over towards him, and then continued on with my conversation. And -- and he said nothing. I said nothing.”
Johnston claims that, after the dinner ended, Snyder approached her again.
“Dan comes up behind me and puts his arm around my back,” Johnston said. “And he’s like, ‘Oh, hey. Why don’t you just get in my limo and then I’ll take you back to your car?’ He’s pushing me towards his limo. And he kept pushing it, kept pushing it. I just remember his attorney at the time walks up to him and says, ‘Dan. Dan. Very, very bad idea. And I mean bad idea.’ When he was distracted looking at the lawyer, I kind of got from out of Dan Snyder’s arm and went over to the other sidewalk -- or went beyond his limo and -- and hailed a cab. Because in my head, I’m thinking, ‘He truly believes I’m gonna get in this limo and do God knows what with him.’”
The NFL has repeatedly insisted that all of the evidence regarding the investigation of the Washington workplace culture must be kept secret to protect the employees who chose to participate anonymously. At least four employees who participated anonymously, however, told HBO that they want the facts to come out, just not their names.
“Of course we want it to be public,” Denise said. “That’s the entire point. Why would we want this done and then just -- not even gone to print. We want this to be made public so that something can then be done fairly and justly with it.”
It would be very easy to use generic names to protect the employees who want anonymity. Instead, the league has seized on that request to disingenuously cloak the entire investigation in secrecy.
Another employee named Megan Imbert put it a different way. “We’ve been used as the excuse as to why they’re not releasing information,” Imbert said. “So it’s really troubling. And it really makes you wonder, how corrupt is the situation and what was actually shared for the investigation?”
We quit wondering weeks ago. We assume the NFL is hiding something huge. The league wouldn’t be going to these lengths to hide the evidence if it wasn’t.
Hopefully, Congress will get to the truth.