Members of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform are asking the NFL to allow witnesses from the league’s investigation of the Washington Football Team’s workplace to speak freely about their experiences after the league missed a Thursday deadline to submit documents from its probe.
Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) had previously set a Nov. 4 deadline for the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell to provide the Oversight Committee with documents related to the investigation, which ended with no written report and a $10 million fine levied against the team but not owner Daniel Snyder.
Maloney and Krishnamoorthi are again asking the NFL to commit to “complete transparency” about its investigation into Washington’s workplace culture, where dozens of witnesses claimed sexual harassment, bullying and intimidation were common. They are also asking that witnesses be released from any non-disclosure agreements.
“Commissioner Goodell said the NFL will cooperate with Congress, and we expect him to make good on that promise by producing the documents requested,” Maloney said in a statement. “In the spirit of transparency, I am calling on the NFL and Washington Football Team to honor the Commissioner’s public statement that witnesses to the team’s hostile workplace culture are ‘welcome’ to come forward. Congress has a responsibility to combat harassment and discrimination in the workplace. If the NFL shares our commitment to address these issues, it will be fully transparent about the findings of the internal review and will allow all individuals to speak freely without fear of retaliation.”
The Washington Football Team hired lawyer Beth Wilkinson in the summer of 2020 to look into allegations of verbal abuse, sexual harassment and reports that the team tried to silence female employees. The league later took over that investigation and fined the team $10 million in July for a “toxic” culture at the club and found ownership and senior executives paid little attention to sexual harassment and other workplace issues.
Snyder was not suspended by the NFL. His wife, Tanya, was named co-CEO in June. She has represented the organization at league meetings, including the NFL owners’ meetings in New York last month, and is in charge of day-to-day activities. Dan Snyder is allowed to attend games, but “has not been involved with the organization for now almost four months,” Goodell said on Oct. 26.
The NFL has not provided a timeline for when Snyder could resume involvement.
Goodell responded to an Oct. 21 letter from the Oversight Committee by saying the NFL will “be cooperative.”
“While Commissioner Roger Goodell has told the press that victims and witnesses are free to take their story public, he should know many of them do not have that option,” Krishnamoorthi said in a statement. “Dan Snyder, the owner of the Washington Football Team, has saddled them with gag orders, preventing them from coming forward due to fear of retaliation. If the NFL and the WFT are serious about addressing, among other things, sexual harassment within their organizations, they must allow these individuals to speak freely. The NFL has committed to producing documents. We look forward to seeing them.”