On Tuesday evening, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell tried to close the book on the investigation into the workplace culture of the Washington Football Team, telling reporters that a written report would not be released and that he felt like owner Dan Snyder had been held publicly accountable for his part in it. Goodell then pointed to a $10 million fine assessed to Washington and Snyder’s removal from day-to-day team business.
What he didn’t offer up was whether the Snyders were taking accountability on their own.
Hours earlier, Tanya Snyder, Dan’s wife, who was named Washington co-CEO when the investigation wrapped in July, let her peers know where the family stood on that.
During the afternoon’s privileged session—an owners-only period of the meetings with Goodell—Tanya Snyder followed a spirited back-and-forth between the commissioner and Raiders owner Mark Davis by standing to address the room with a prepared statement. She said she was sorry that the investigation had created so much negative attention and apologized to those affected by the investigation itself, such as Davis. She said the team wanted to move forward and went on the offensive.
Snyder said she and her husband had been extorted (those in the room took that to mean by their limited partners). She’d also told the group that neither she nor her husband were responsible for leaking the emails that wound up leading to Jon Gruden’s ouster in Las Vegas, and that her husband doesn’t even have an email account.
And while she showed regret that the matter wasn’t handled internally, she never took responsibility for her own or her husband’s role in the workplace climate in Washington, other than to say that the team would “get this right.”
A brief, awkward silence followed Snyder’s monologue, before Goodell moved the session along. “Tone-deaf,” is how one person in the room described Snyder’s remarks. Two more owners agreed with that characterization, when asked about Snyder’s handling of a situation that has the NFL facing a congressional inquiry.
The Washington Football Team declined to comment on Snyder’s address to the owners.
On Wednesday, two owners spoke publicly on the results of the investigation. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he was “very satisfied” with how the team and league had handled it. Conversely, Davis, the Raiders’ owner, said he believed the league should release a written report, “especially with some of the things that were charged.”
Earlier in the privileged session, Davis went after Goodell, forcefully asking why emails the league had in its possession since June from Gruden, the emails that led to his Oct. 11 resignation, weren’t given to the Raiders earlier, and why the team first heard about them from The Wall Street Journal on Oct. 7. Goodell told the room that neither he nor anyone at the league office, to his knowledge, had leaked the emails to the media.
While the Raiders wound up with an in-season coaching change as a result of the WFT fiasco, Washington itself was assessed a $10 million fine, and Dan Snyder was removed from day-to-day operations on the football side of the club. That said, the league specifically fined the team (and not Snyder), Snyder’s camp has repeatedly pushed back on the idea he’s suspended, and Snyder has been present at every WFT game to this point in the season.
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