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Plain language of Personal Conduct Policy makes Cowboys voyeurism case more confusing

The NFL is not opening an investigation into the Dallas Cowboys settlement for allegations for voyeurism and Charles Robinson joins Brother from Another to explain what this means for the league.

The NFL has said that it won’t investigate the Cowboys voyeurism scandal because it’s a club matter. Standing alone, that’s a ridiculous proposition. It becomes even more ridiculous when considering the plain language of the Personal Conduct Policy.

The allegation that former Cowboys P.R. executive Rich Dalrymple recorded Cowboys cheerleaders while they were changing clothes, if true, undoubtedly violates the Personal Conduct Policy. The policy states that, “whenever the league office becomes aware of a possible violation of the Policy, it will undertake an investigation, the timing and scope of which will be based upon the particular circumstances of the matter.”

The question is whether the league was even aware of the situation. The policy expressly requires that potential violations be affirmatively reported by the team.

“Clubs and players are obligated to promptly report any matter that comes to their attention (through, for example, victim or witness reports, law enforcement, civil litigation, or media reports) that may constitute a violation of this Policy,” the policy explains, in very broad terms. “Clubs are expected to educate their employees on this obligation to report. Club reports should be made to NFL Security or Kevin Manara of the Management Council legal staff. Questions about whether an incident triggers a reporting obligation should be directed to Kevin Manara or Lisa Friel of the league office. Failure to report an incident will be grounds for disciplinary action. This obligation to report is broader than simply reporting an arrest; it requires reporting to the league any incident that comes to the club’s or player’s attention which, if the allegations were true, would constitute a violation of the Policy.”

So, yes, the Cowboys should have alerted the league to the situation. We have specifically asked the league office -- three times -- whether the Cowboys reported the incident to the league office. The first request was made on Monday, February 21. The third request was made last night. The league has not responded to any of these requests, not even with a “no comment.”

Obviously, something is going on here. Either the Cowboy failed to report the incident to the league office (a violation of the policy by the team) or the Cowboys reported the incident to the league office and the league office didn’t investigate (a violation of the policy by the league).

Our guess (and it’s admittedly a guess) is that it wasn’t reported then, and that the league office doesn’t want to make it an issue now, not with Congress already aggressively investigating the league’s mishandling of the Washington Commanders situation. So far, the league has gotten away with its fumbling of the Cowboys case, in part because (frankly) not enough media outlets are asking clear and pointed questions.

The NFL can ignore PFT; it’s done it before, it will do it again. The NFL can’t ignore everyone else. So maybe everyone else should be asking the same question we posed to the league office. Did the team disclose a potential violation of the Personal Conduct Policy by Rich Dalrymple or anyone else at any time in connection with the voyeurism allegations?

The persistent silence suggests that the answer is no. Still, whatever the answer, the league should be expected to provide one, to someone.