Twenty-five women told The Washington Post they experienced sexual harassment while working for the Washington NFL team.
The latest report from the Post comes less than two months removed from the paper publishing a story that included 15 former female employees of Washington's NFL team describing their experiences with sexual harassment around the organization.
Among the allegations reported Wednesday, a former Washington football team senior executive instructed employees to create a behind-the-scenes video for owner Daniel Snyder, featuring outtakes of partially nude team cheerleaders from a 2008 team swimsuit calendar shoot. The executive in question, Larry Michael, the former SVP and play-by-play broadcaster, denied the allegation to the Post and said he had no knowledge of its existence.
The Post also reports the story of former cheerleader Tiffany Bacon Scourby. Scourby said that during a 2004 charity event at the Washington Hilton, Snyder told her he and the team's eye doctor had a hotel suite and suggested she and the doctor go to the room and "get to know each other better." Scourby said she declined the invitation.
Per the Post, the aforementioned story, which was supported by the friends Scourby spoke to after the alleged incident, is the first claim made to the paper describing humiliation directly by Snyder.
Snyder declined to comment to the Post prior to the story's publish.
He did, however, issue a statement later Wednesday afternoon.
Snyder said, in part, "The behavior described in the Washington Post's latest story has no place in our franchise, or in our society. While I was unaware of these allegations until they surfaced in the media, I take full responsibility for the culture of our organization. Even before today's article, I have begun taking any and all steps necessary to ensure that the Washington Football Team is an organization that is diverse, inclusive and respectful of all."
Snyder went on to say in his statement that going forward he is going to be "more involved" in the day-to-day control of the team. He added that the article published Wednesday reads "like a 'hit job' relying on un-named sources and allegations that are largely ten to twenty years old." He said, "It is clear that there are other negative agendas at work in this reporting."
Specifically about the Scourby allegation, Snyder said it "unequivocally" never happened.
Snyder purchased the Washington team in 1999 for around $800 million, which at the time was a record price for a U.S. sports franchise. Since the Post's first report, Snyder hired sports broadcaster Julie Donaldson to replace Michael as SVP of media. Additionally, he hired Jason Wright, a former NFL player and partner at McKinsey & Co., as team president. Wright is the first Black person to hold that title in the NFL.
However, the allegations made Wednesday are the latest in an uncertain period around the franchise.
In mid-August, The Wall Street Journal reported that minority owners of the Washington football team are pressuring Snyder to sell the franchise. According to the WSJ, Snyder has no interest in selling the team.
Snyder also recently filed a lawsuit accusing a former team employee of assisting in an alleged defamatory plot against the longtime team owner.
On July 23, the club announced it temporarily would call itself the "Washington Football Team," effective immediately, as it figures out a new name to adopt at a later date. Just 10 days before that decision, the team said it would "retire" its old nickname after facing criticism and mounting pressure from sponsors. Snyder insisted for years he would never change the team's name.
A July investigation by Sports Illustrated's Jenny Vrentas and Michael Rosenberg also determined that although Snyder touted the “Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation” as proof of the franchise's commitment to Native American communities, tribal officials and public records tell a less flattering version of the story.
In July, Snyder hired Washington, D.C., attorney Beth Wilkinson to conduct a “full, unbiased investigation” of the workplace.
"Upon completion of her work, we will institute new policies and procedures and strengthen our human resources infrastructure to not only avoid these issues in the future but most importantly create a team culture that is respectful and inclusive of all," Snyder said in a mid-July statement.
"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," the league said.
"An independent investigation into these issues is in process, led by highly experienced counsel recommended by our office. We will continue to monitor the progress of this investigation and ensure that the club and its employees satisfy their obligation to 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. When the investigation concludes, we will review the findings and take any appropriate action at that time."