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Former WFT Employees Deliver Letter to Owners Meeting Asking for Investigation Transparency

Former Washington Football Team employees hand-delivered a letter to the NFL owners meeting Tuesday. The group continued to ask for transparency regarding the league's investigation into Washington.

Emily Appelgate, Brad Baker, Melanie Coburn, Rachel Curtis, Dominique Dupras, Rachel Engelson, Megan Imbert, Alicia Klein, Ana Nunez, Melissa O'Hara, Brittany Pareti and Donald Wells all signed the letter addressed to owners. 

"We write to you as members of the NFL's Social Justice Working Group to ask during the NFL's owner's meeting this week, you push the NFL to make public the findings of the investigation into the Washington Football Team ("WFT")," they wrote. "While your working group was formed to address issues of racial justice in the league, you also have the ability to seek justice for the hundreds of women and men, such as us, who bravely came forward to share stories of harassment and abuse we experience while employees of the WFT."

In 2020 the Washington Post was the first to report that female employees of the team experienced sexual harassment. In a later report, WFT cheerleaders claimed to have been secretly videotaped while getting undressed and reached a settlement with the team.

The NFL investigated the team but didn't have investigator Beth Wilkinson create a written report. Instead, it listened to an oral report that found “the culture of the club was very toxic and fell far short of the NFL’s values.” The NFL said it elected to listen to an oral report because the matter was sensitive. The investigation was concluded this summer. 

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Earlier this month, the New York Times uncovered emails between then-Washington president Bruce Allen and former Raiders coach John Gruden because of a leak from the investigation. In the emails, Gruden used misogynistic, racist and anti-LGBTQ language and he resigned from his position as a result of the report. Although warranted, former Washington employees are disappointed that Gruden, someone who was not part of the Washington Football Team organization, was the only one who lost their job. 

Washington Football Team owner Daniel Snyder stepped down from his day-to-day responsibilities for at least the “next several months,” while his wife, Tanya, took on those responsibilities as a result of the investigation. The team was also fined $10 million. 

On Oct. 12 lawyers for the former Washington employees released a statement urging the NFL to release the investigation's findings to no avail. This time around, they decided it was best to do it in person. 

"The NFL is at a crossroads," the letter read. "The NFL has long been plagued with racism, homophobia, and misogyny — from ownership, players, and staff. The question for the NFL is not whether these problems of racism, sexism, and homophobia exist, but what is the League going to do about it?

"If the NFL discloses the results of the investigation and takes meaningful steps to address the underlying problems, that will send the message that the League does not tolerate misogyny and abuse."

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