Report: Cowboys paid $2.4 million to settle allegations of locker-room voyeurism
Why is the NFL keeping the results of the Washington investigation so secret? Because other owners fear that they could find themselves in a similar mess.
Case in point -- the Dallas Cowboys. While owner Jerry Jones faces no specific allegations against him (for now), a new report from Don Van Natta, Jr. of ESPN.com contends that the team owned and operated by Jones paid $2.4 million to settle claims made by four members of the team’s cheerleading squad. They claimed that former P.R. executive Rich Dalrymple secretly recorded them with an iPhone while they changed clothes in connection with a 2015 event at AT&T Stadium.
Dalrymple, per the report, also was accused by a fan who watched an online stream from the team’s draft room in 2015 of taking “upskirt” photos of Charlotte Jones Anderson, the daughter of Jerry Jones and an executive with the Cowboys.
“People who know me, co-workers, the media and colleagues, know who I am and what I’m about,” Dalrymple said in a statement issued to ESPN.com. “I understand the very serious nature of these claims and do not take them lightly. The accusations are, however, false. One was accidental and the other simply did not happen. Everything that was alleged was thoroughly investigated years ago, and I cooperated fully.”
The team issued a statement to ESPN.com as well, from communications consultant Jim Wilkinson.
“The organization took these allegations extremely seriously and moved immediately to thoroughly investigate this matter,” Wilkinson said. “The investigation was handled consistent with best legal and HR practices and the investigation found no evidence of wrongdoing. . . . If any wrongdoing had been found, Rich would have been terminated immediately. Everyone involved felt just terrible about this unfortunate incident.”
But, obviously, enough of something was found to result in $2.4 million changing hands. The money was paid pursuant to non-disclosure agreements. And someone disclosed at least one of the agreements; Van Natta obtained it.
Dalrymple recently retired. Van Natta writes that the move came “several weeks after ESPN began interviewing people about the alleged incidents and just days after ESPN contacted attorneys involved in the settlement.” Dalrymple, in his statement, said that the allegations “had nothing to do with my retirement from a long and fulfilling career, and I was only contacted about this story after I had retired.”
We’ll see whether and to what extent this mushrooms for the Cowboys. The timeline is curious, to say the least. And with Congress currently pressuring the league over the Washington Commanders situation, it could be a matter of time before the House Committee on Oversight & Reform targets the Cowboys, too.