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Roger Goodell Says Dan Snyder Was Held Accountable, Won't Release WFT Findings

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell shared in a press conference on Tuesday that the Washington Football Team emails and findings have not been and will not be released because the league promised anonymity to individuals who helped with the investigation. 

"We're very conscious of making sure we're protecting those who came forward," Goodell said. "They were incredibly brave, incredibly open, and we respect the pain that they probably went through all over again to come forward. That was a very high priority."

However, Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer reported that two accusers were at the venue earlier in the day requesting full transparency, and a former team employee, Rachel Engleson, tweeted that the commissioner's comments were "false." 

"This is false @nflcommish," the tweet read. "We were told our identities would be kept confidential in a written report. Meaning, if I spoke about something that happened to me, there would be no way Dan or others could trace the info back to me. Not that there would be no written report. C'mon."

Additionally, Lisa Banks, who represents the 40 former team employees who were a part of the investigation, said, "Goodell's statement is false."

There has been a major push for transparency from the NFL following the leaked emails that contained anti-LGBTQ, racist and misogynistic language. This press conference is also less than a week after two House Democrats penned a letter to Goodell, pushing the commissioner to give Congress the findings concerning the Washington Football Team investigation and how the league handled the matter, per the Washington Post.

In the five-page letter, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.), chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) asked for him to produce “all documents and communications obtained in connection with the investigation into the WFT, its management, its owners, and any other matter relating to or resulting from the WFT investigation” by Nov. 4.

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Dan Snyder, co-owner of the WFT, hired lawyer Beth Wilkinson to investigate the franchise's workplace culture following the Post releasing a report that included 15 former female employees of the team describing their experiences with sexual harassment and verbal abuse within the organization. Additionally, WFT cheerleaders alleged they were secretly videotaped while getting undressed, and later reached a settlement with the team.

The league then took over with Wilkinson reporting to Jeff Pash, the longtime general counsel of the NFL and advisor to Goodell who is the latest under scrutiny following the 650,000 emails the league investigated that resulted in ex-Raiders coach Jon Gruden's resignation. The New York Times uncovered misogynistic, racist and anti-LGBTQ emails sent by Gruden from 2010 to '18, which were also collected and reviewed by the NFL while it investigated the Washington Football Team. The ex-coach reportedly sent the emails to then-team president Bruce Allen.

Pash reportedly had a close relationship with Allen, whose correspondence was under investigation.

"Their emails suggest that, when the Washington franchise was in crisis, Pash tended to offer a sympathetic shoulder rather than acting as an impartial arbiter," The Times wrote.

When the investigation concluded, WFT received a $10 million fine but Snyder was not personally punished as a result, although his wife did become co-CEO. Goodell said on Tuesday he felt Snyder was held accountable considering the “unprecedented fine” and that he “hasn’t been involved with the football team for four months."

The findings were not made public, and Wilkinson reportedly did not submit a written report but verbally shared her findings.

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