NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday that league officials will take “appropriate action” following an investigation into allegations of widespread workplace misconduct by Washington Football Team executives under team owner Dan Snyder’s watch.
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Snyder drew renewed scrutiny after the Washington Post reported that 25 women said they experienced sexual harassment while working for the Washington Football Team. In one instance, former Washington executive Larry Michael allegedly directed employees to create a video for Snyder featuring outtakes of partially nude cheerleaders from the team’s 2008 swimsuit calendar. Michael denied the allegation.
"We strongly condemn the unprofessional, disturbing and abhorrent behavior and workplace environment alleged in the report which is entirely inconsistent with our standards and has no place in the NFL,” Goodell said in a statement. “An independent investigation into these issues is in process, led by highly experienced counsel recommended by our office.”
The report details allegations of a toxic workplace culture dating back decades, based on interviews with more than 100 current and former team employees and a review of internal records. The accusations surfaced weeks after a separate Washington Post report in which 15 female former team employees accused executives of sexual harassment and verbal abuse.
Another allegation involved former cheerleader Tiffany Bacon Scourby, who told the newspaper that Snyder asked her to go to a hotel room with one of his friends at a 2004 event so "they could get to know each other."
Unlike the previous report, the latest allegations detailed by the Washington Post directly implicated Snyder in alleged wrongdoing. In a lengthy statement, the longtime Washington owner said he took “full responsibility” for the team’s workplace culture, but denied knowledge of the video and dismissed Scourby’s allegation.
"I have admittedly been too hands-off as an owner and allowed others to have day-to-day control to the detriment of our organization,” Snyder said. “Going forward I am going to be more involved, and we have already made major changes in personnel bringing in new leadership to drive cultural transformation on and off the field.”
In July, Snyder hired top attorney Beth Wilkinson to conduct an internal review of the team’s operations. Wilkinson said the probe would investigate “allegations of workplace misconduct.”
Goodell said the NFL will “continue to monitor the progress” of the independent investigation and ensure that Washington Football Team executives “give full cooperation to the investigators.”
“If at any time the club or anyone associated with the club fails to do so, the investigating counsel has been asked to promptly advise our office and we will take appropriate action,” Goodell said. “When the investigation concludes, we will review the findings and take any appropriate action at that time."