Snyder, Goodell asked to testify at Congressional hearing


Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell have been requested to testify in front of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform at a hearing on June 22. 

The committee is in the midst of an investigation into the team's workplace culture that has spanned seven months. The probe has focused on widespread claims of sexual harassment but also grown to include allegations of financial impropriety

The congressional investigation began four months after attorney Beth Wilkinson completed her own 10-month investigation into Washington football's 'toxic' workplace culture at the behest of the NFL. Her findings were given verbally to Goodell but never put in written form or released publicly.  

“Since we launched our investigation in October, the Committee’s goal has been to uncover the truth about the culture of harassment and abuse at the Washington Commanders, to hold accountable those responsible, and to better protect workers across the country,” Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y., said in a written statement. “The Committee has worked tirelessly to obtain critical information, including the findings of the internal investigation conducted by attorney Beth Wilkinson, only to be met with obstruction from the Commanders and the NFL at every turn.

"We must have transparency and accountability, which is why we are calling on Mr. Goodell and Mr. Snyder to answer the questions they have dodged for the last seven months."

Several former team employees, including cheerleaders, and a former team vice president have testified on Capitol Hill. 

One former cheerleader and marketing manager told the committee that Snyder made unwanted advances toward her and harassed her at a team dinner. It subsequently led to the NFL opening a new investigation into Snyder's own conduct led by attorney and former chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission Mary Jo White.

Through the course of the congressional investigation, the chairs of the committee called on the Commanders to release individuals who were under non-disclosure agreements (NDAs).

Attorneys Lisa Banks and Debra Katz, who represent over 40 former Washington football employees, released the following statement on the committee's request:

“We are pleased the House Oversight Committee has invited Dan Snyder and Roger Goodell to testify in front of the Committee. We hope they will demonstrate the same courage as our clients and agree to testify. Dan Snyder and Roger Goodell have a lot to answer for.” 

In the committee's statement, the upcoming hearing will also examine the NFL's response to the Wilkinson investigation. 

The investigation was deemed complete on July 1, 2021. Washington was fined $10 million. Tanya Snyder, the wife of Dan Snyder who had been named co-CEO of the franchise days before the NFL's punishment was levied, was placed in charge of day-to-day team activities.

Goodell determined that Tanya Snyder would represent the organization at all league meetings for an undetermined period of time. 

Wilkinson was first charged with investigating Washington's workplace culture after the Washington Post published a series of articles in 2020 detailing multiple sexual harassment allegations and mistreatment of female employees.

Last October, the New York Times reported on emails uncovered during the Wilkinson investigation - but never released - between former Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden and former Commanders team president Bruce Allen. In those emails written over a seven-year span, Gruden repeatedly used homophobic and misogynistic language to disparage Goodell and others around the sport, including players. Once uncovered, Gruden resigned from his position.

“For seven months, the Committee has been stonewalled by NDAs and other tools to evade accountability,” Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., chairman of the subcommittee on economic and consumer policy, said in a statement. “Mr. Snyder and Mr. Goodell need to appear before the Committee to address these issues and answer our questions about the pervasive workplace misconduct at the Washington Commanders, and how the NFL addressed these issues.”

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy followed the request by stating the league will directly respond to the invitation and maintains its cooperation with the committee's investigation.

"We received the Committee's invitation this morning and will respond directly in a timely manner. The NFL has cooperated extensively throughout the Committee's lengthy investigation of the Washington Commanders, including by producing 460,000 pages of documents and responding to the numerous questions in writing and in conversations with the Committee's staff," an NFL statement obtained by NBC Sports Washington said. 

Later on Wednesday, the Commanders released their own statement to NBC Sports Washington.

“The Commanders have assisted the NFL in cooperating with all prior requests from the House Oversight and Reform Committee. We look forward to responding directly to the Committee’s invitation in a timely manner.”

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