There are new allegations against Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder which emerged Thursday as part of a U.S. House of Representatives’ Oversight Committee discussion about the state of the organization. Six former employees have come forward alleging inappropriate behavior by Snyder.
The ex-employees are alleging years of sexual harassment at the workplace. In statements obtained by CBS Sports, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill said the employees were brought forward out of a belief the NFL was not being forthright and open regarding its investigation of the Commanders, which was concluded seven months ago. The team was slapped on the wrist with a $10M fine, but nothing more was done.
“We launched this investigation because the NFL has not been transparent about the workplace misconduct issues it uncovered within [Washington],” said Krishnamoorthi in a statement that preceded testimony from the ex-staffers. “These victims are bravely coming forward with their stories, sharing details of despicable abuse in their workplace. ... Our investigation will continue until the perpetrators of sexual harassment are held accountable.”
The new wave of allegations allege that a former marketing director was told not to look at, or talk to Snyder after making allegations of sexual harassment against the team’s former chief marketing officer. A video editor said he was instructed to edit together lewd footage of cheerleaders without their knowledge, set to the music of Snyder’s former bands — presumably as “soft-core pornography” for Snyder.
Meanwhile another former exec said she was invited to Snyder’s home in Aspen following an awards dinner, but was told to sleep in the basement, “because the men had invited prostitutes back.” Following the incident she alleges the organization tried to buy her silence, as well as silence from numerous cheerleaders in 2021 during the NFL’s investigation.
After reporting a player for sexual harassment to HR, a woman was allegedly told ”I’m sorry that this is happening. ... If it’s gonna be him or you, it’s gonna be you,” referring to who would lose their job in the fallout.
Finally, another employee alleges they were “strategically” seated next to Snyder during a work dinner so he could repeatedly put his hand on her thigh, until she had to “physically remove it.” Later in the evening Snyder allegedly attempted to force her into a limo, before backing off when a lawyer told the Washington owner it was a “very bad idea.”
“That rot started at the top, with team owner Daniel Snyder, and it trickled down,” Krishnamoorthi said at the hearing. “Mr. Snyder claimed ... that he was ‘unaware of these allegations’ and was simply ‘hands-off as an owner.’ Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. And [NFL commissioner] Mr. [Roger] Goodell has engaged in troubling behavior as well. Goodell claimed in 2014 to embrace a ‘higher standard’ for the NFL ... [but] the NFL deep-sixed the findings from its own investigations of the Washington Football Team.”
Allegations from a house committee of not only Snyder’s actions, but an alleged NFL cover up are supremely serious. They come the same week as former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores filed a lawsuit against the NFL and several teams for racial prejudice and systemic racism that kept black coaches out of high profile positions, while the league pretended they were pushing for equality.
The Washington Commanders reached out to us with a statement from Snyder:
“I have acknowledged and apologized multiple times in the past for the misconduct which took place at the Team and the harm suffered by some of our valued employees. I apologize again today for this conduct, and fully support the people who have been victimized and have come forward to tell their stories. In response to learning about incidents like these in 2020, the Team, on its own, undertook to revamp its policies, procedures and personnel. Real change has been made and employees of the Team have confirmed the vast improvement in Team culture over the past 18 months. While past conduct at the Team was unacceptable, the allegations leveled against me personally in today’s roundtable – many of which are well over 13 years old – are outright lies. I unequivocally deny having participated in any such conduct, at any time and with respect to any person. Tanya and I will not be distracted by those with a contrary agenda from continuing with the positive personnel and cultural changes that have been made at the Team over the past 18 months, and those that we continue to make both on and off the field.”
We’ll update this story as it develops.