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Congress Members Call on NFL For Evidence on Dan Snyder's Investigation 'Interference'

Two members of Congress have asked the NFL for information regarding Dan Snyder's reported "interference" in the Washington Football Team probe into sexual misconduct. 

This comes after The Washington Post reported that “lawyers and private investigators working on Snyder’s behalf took steps that potential witnesses ... viewed as attempts to interfere with the NFL’s investigation.”

“Today’s news confirms our worst fears: Dan Snyder actively fought to undermine NFL’s investigation into WFT’s hostile workplace culture,” Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) said in a press release. “According to this reporting, not only did he try to prevent a key fact witness—a woman he paid $1.6 million in a sexual misconduct settlement—from speaking with investigators, he went as far as to send private investigator to witnesses’ homes. Snyder will stop at nothing. To get to the bottom of this story, NFL must immediately turn over all evidence of Snyder’s interference and the other documents we requested over a month ago.”

Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.), chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, said, in part, "These disturbing revelations have only strengthened the Committee’s commitment to uncovering the truth in this matter. The NFL must honor Commissioner Goodell’s promise to cooperate with Congress and fully comply with the Committee’s request for documents.” 

The two congressional members penned a five-page letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in October, asking 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.

The commissioner said the league would “be cooperative” with Congress, but according to ESPN, the NFL only partially responded to the House Democrats' request. The league reportedly only sent back answers to the members' questions but not documents of the findings as requested. 

Then, in a letter on Nov. 5, the representatives called for the league and team to release all individuals from their non-disclosure agreements that prevented them from speaking out against Snyder or WFT about the work environment.  

Additionally, the October letter from the lawmakers highlighted that during the league's investigation, attorney Beth Wilkinson conducted over 100 interviews and collected 650,000 emails, but the findings were not made public.

“We have serious concerns about what appears to be widespread abusive workplace conduct at the WFT and about the NFL’s handling of this matter,” the letter stated. 

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Snyder, co-owner of the WFT, hired Wilkinson to investigate the franchise's workplace culture following the Post previously releasing a report that included 15 former female employees of the team describing their alleged 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 figure under scrutiny after the 650,000 emails the league investigated were partially leaked, resulting 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-WFT president Bruce Allen.

Pash reportedly had a close relationship with Allen, whose correspondence was under investigation. This raised skepticism concerning the league's impartiality in the investigation, which Maloney and Krishnamoorthi alluded to in their letter.

WFT received a $10 million fine when the investigation concluded but Snyder was not personally punished as a result, although his wife did become co-CEO and began to handle day-to-day operations. The findings were not made public, and Wilkinson reportedly did not submit a written report but verbally shared her findings.

While conducting her investigation in July 2020, Wilkinson discovered that Snyder had reached a $1.6 million settlement with a former employee who described sexual misconduct by the co-owner. According to the Post, his legal team allegedly attempted to prevent the lawyer from speaking with the woman.

Wilkinson did ultimately speak with the former employee, but this reportedly was not the only time Snyder and his lawyers allegedly attempted to interfere.

They filed petitions to identify employees who had spoken to the Post, and the WFT co-owner allegedly hired private investigators who went to homes of former employees and contacted their friends and relatives, former employees' attorneys told the Post.

“It was an intimidation tactic,” Megan Imbert, a former producer in the team’s broadcast department, told the Post. “I know there are people who didn’t talk to Beth Wilkinson, who have told me they would talk … but only if subpoenaed under a court of law. That’s how petrified they are of Dan Snyder.” 

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