NFL commissioner Roger Goodell answered questions from the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Oversight and Reform during Wednesday’s hearing concerning its investigation into the Commanders.
One question that Goodell faced was asked if he will remove team owner Dan Snyder as a team owner. His response: “I don’t have the authority to remove him.”
This comes on the heels of reports surfacing last month that some NFL owners are “counting votes” to remove the Commanders owner. Goodell said in a press conference in May that he was “not aware” of the possibility. If a vote does occur, it would require 24 out of 32 owners to vote that Snyder, who has been the owner since 1999, be removed from his position.
While Goodell may not be able to remove Snyder, the commissioner can start the process for his potential removal. According to Daniel Wallach, a gaming and sports betting attorney, Goodell “does have the authority under the NFL Constitution to recommend his removal to the Executive Committee, which, upon a three-fourths vote, can force the termination and forced sale of Snyder’s ownership interest.”
The months-long probe that dates back to last fall is looking into the franchise’s workplace culture, how the league handled misconduct reports and “the NFL’s role in setting and enforcing standards across the League, and legislative reforms needed to address these issues across the NFL and other workplaces,” according to the committee’s press release from earlier this month.
The commissioner faced a wide variety of questions while Snyder did not attend—virtually or in-person. “Rather than show up and take responsibility for his actions, he chose to skip town,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, the chairwoman of the committee. “Apparently, Mr. Snyder is in France, where he has docked his luxury yacht near a resort town. That should tell you just how much respect he has for women in the workplace.”
Prior to the hearing, Rep. Maloney sent the committee members a 29-page memo revealing how the team owner not only allegedly used private investigators in his own probe but also “abused the subpoena power of federal courts to obtain private emails, call logs, and communications in an effort to uncover the sources of the Washington Post’s exposés, undermine their credibility, and impugn their motives.” New allegations of how Snyder handled harassment claims against other executives and the kind of workplace culture he allegedly fostered also emerged. The details can be found here.
During Wednesday’s hearing, Rep. Maloney announced her intent to issue a subpoena for Snyder for a deposition. She said, “Mr. Snyder’s refusal to testify sends a clear signal that he is more concerned about protecting himself than coming clean to the American public. If the NFL is unwilling to hold Mr. Snyder accountable, then I am prepared to do so. The Committee will not be deterred in its investigation to uncover the truth of workplace misconduct at the Washington Commanders.”
The NFL has shared numerous documents with the committee throughout the investigation, such as a Common Interest Agreement between the NFL and Washington and an engagement letter between Wilkinson’s firm and the franchise.
Additionally, the committee penned an explosive letter to the Federal Trade Commission, asserting that the Commanders and Snyder “may have engaged in a troubling, long-running, and potentially unlawful pattern of financial conduct that victimized thousands of team fans and the National Football League.”
However, one key document that has not been released is the findings from Wilkinson’s report. Last fall, multiple women involved in the investigation called Goodell’s statements on the matter false, calling for full transparency from the league. The league commissioner reiterated why he would not be releasing the report during Wednesday’s hearing.
More on the Problems Facing the League:
- The Browns Will Never Live Down Trading for Deshaun Watson
- After the Browns Signed Deshaun Watson, a Blast Radius of ’Emotions and Anger’
- Details Emerge About 2009 Sexual Assault Allegation Dan Snyder Faced
- Six State Attorneys General Express ‘Grave Concern’ About NFL’s Women Employees
- Congressional Committee Pressures NFL to Release Washington Probe Findings
- This Is Not Just a Time to Create More Pipelines. It Is Time to Simply Hire More Black Coaches.