Lawmakers call for NFL commissioner to release investigation into Commanders

Lawmakers call for NFL commissioner to release investigation into Commanders

A group of six House Democrats from the Washington, DC, metro area sent a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Thursday, asking him to release the results of an investigation into the Washington Commanders’ workplace culture.

The letter comes one day after an NFL spokesperson confirmed that Goodell plans to testify before the House Oversight and Reform Committee next week as it investigates allegations of workplace misconduct against Commanders team owner Dan Snyder. The representatives said the “toxic” work environment within the organization primarily impacted their constituents, who they said deserve transparency from the league on the review.

The Commanders hired a third-party attorney to investigate claims of sexual harassment and verbal abuse described in media coverage in July 2020, the letter states.

The investigation found that the team’s cheerleaders were secretly recorded in compromising positions and that female employees faced unwanted sexual advances from other employees. The NFL fined the team, called the Washington Football Team at the time, $10 million for what the league called a “highly unprofessional” environment after the investigation concluded a year later.

But according to the letter, the NFL did not request that the lawyer provide a written report and has refused to release the investigation’s findings because of the “sensitivity of the allegations.”

The House Oversight Committee held a roundtable in February with six former Commanders employees, during which they shared their experiences in the workplace environment and what the lawmakers in their letter called the “failure” of the Commanders and the NFL to address the alleged abuse they faced .

“It is clear from their portrayals, that the pervasive workplace misconduct has left sizable impacts on those who suffered from it over the last several years,” the letter states. “Additionally, there are other employees who have yet to detail their experiences, due to non-disclosure agreements preventing them from speaking out against the Commanders’ toxic work environment.”

The signers wrote that their constituents deserve to know the findings of the report so the Commanders and Snyder are held accountable for what happened.

The Commanders and NFL launched a separate investigation into Snyder in February after a former cheerleader and marketing manager for the team accused him of sexual harassment. Snyder has denied the allegations.

The team owner declined an invitation Wednesday to testify before the committee, which the signers said they were “extremely disappointed” about.

The committee urged the NFL and the Commanders to release the report ahead of the hearing next week.

The letter was signed by Democratic Reps. Don Beyer (Va.), Gerry Connolly (Va.), Anthony Brown (Md.), Jennifer Wexton (Va.), Jamie Raskin (Md.) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC).

Goodell did not immediately return a request for comment through a spokesperson from The Hill.

The committee also sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission in April, presenting evidence that the Commanders and Snyder had engaged in financial misconduct. Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares (R) and DC Attorney General Karl Racine (D) subsequently initiated separate investigations into the allegations as a result.

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