Washington Football Team Dan Snyder Investigation And Email Scandal Update
What follows is an actual letter written and posted on October 13, 2021 by former Washington Football Team Female Employees, directed to NFL Sponsors and demanding the release of the report detailing the results of the investigation of team owner Dan Snyder and the organization’s workplace environment.
The letter comes in the wake of emails involving now former Washington Football Team President Bruce Allen and that were leaked to the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, but were only focused on one person: now former Las Vegas Raiders Head Coach Jon Gruden. The rest of the text of this post is the letter, followed by a downloadable file version of the document.
By Electronic and First-Class Mail
October 13, 2021
Chairman and CEO
One Verizon Way
Basking Ridge, NJ 07920
Anheuser-Busch Companies, LLC
One Busch Place
St. Louis, MO 63118
President and CEO
410 Terry Ave North
Seattle, WA 98109
Chairman and CEO
700 Anderson Hill Road
Purchase, NY 10577
President and CEO
One Bowerman Drive
Beaverton, OR 97005
David S. Taylor
Chairman, President and CEO
Procter & Gamble
1 Procter & Gamble Plaza
Cincinnati, OH 45202
We write to you as leaders of some of the largest corporate sponsors of the National Football League (“NFL”) to ask that, on behalf of women and sexual assault survivors everywhere, you demand transparency from the League related to its investigation of the Washington Football Team (“WFT”). We are former employees of the WFT, who, along with over a hundred others, came forward during the investigation to share our experiences of harassment, misogyny, and abuse at the hands of various corporate executives of the team, including owner Daniel Snyder. What has been revealed about the longtime culture of the WFT is one of the biggest scandals of the #MeToo era.
Last year, the NFL oversaw a 10-month-long investigation of the WFT, led by attorney Beth Wilkinson, and encouraged women and men like us to come forward at great personal and professional risk to assist the investigators and the NFL in understanding what happened. One of our goals in participating in this investigation was to reveal the truth and force meaningful change so that other women would not have to endure what we and hundreds of others did. We have every reason to believe that Ms. Wilkinson and her team did an exhaustive, competent investigation, and that she had every intention of issuing a written report of her findings. Despite Mr. Snyder’s effort to distance himself from the toxic culture, we know personally that those findings included acts of harassment committed by Snyder himself, including but not limited to those reported by The Washington Post.
Many entities including The Washington Post, the ACLU, the National Women’s Law Center, and our attorneys Lisa Banks and Debra Katz (who represented over 40 former employees) publicly demanded that the NFL release the findings of the investigation, a practice it had adhered to for most other investigations. The many survivors who had come forward in good faith to share their experiences deserved to understand the truth, and to know that their participation was meaningful and reflected in the findings. Rather than receive a report that would reveal the unpleasant facts about the WFT and Mr. Snyder, and force the NFL to respond to requests to make it public, Commissioner Roger Goodell directed Beth Wilkinson to transmit her findings to him Ms. Wilkinson’s findings, conclusions, or recommendations.
After deliberately burying the findings of the investigation, Roger Goodell then fined Mr. Snyder and the WFT $10 million, which amounts to pocket change for a man supposedly worth billions. It was also announced by the team that Mr. Snyder’s wife, Tanya, would take over dayto-day operations for a period of time, an absurd move that effectively allowed Mr. Snyder to retain full control over the organization. Around this time, the League also made it possible for him to borrow additional funds to purchase his team outright, allowing him to emerge from this scandal stronger than before. The consequence of Mr. Goodell’s decisions around this investigation, and the lack of any meaningful action against Dan Snyder, is to tell women and survivors everywhere: “You and your experiences do not matter to the NFL” especially if those experiences potentially expose the misdeeds of a very wealthy owner. The NFL has perhaps lost sight of the fact that women make up almost half of its fan base.
We call on you as corporate citizens and sponsors of the NFL, who ostensibly care about ensuring a workplace for women that is free from harassment and abuse, to demand transparency from the League related to this scandal. Until a written report is conveyed to the NFL and made public, we will not know the extent of the harm that occurred, or the reasons this culture was allowed to fester for so long. Most importantly, we will not know whether the actions taken b3 the WFT are appropriate to address the underlying problems that we, and others like us, reported to Ms. Wilkinson. As corporations that care about women and equity, both inside and outside the workplace, and with consumers and shareholders who expect you to uphold these values, you should not be a party to the efforts of the NFL to obfuscate the truth and to deny validation to so many brave women and men who came forward in the hope that the NFL would take action to right a clear wrong.
More recently, the utter failure of the NFL investigation and its actions against the WFT was laid bare by the infuriating interview given by newly installed co-CEO Tanya Snyder, when she spoke only of herself and of her family’s “pain” and characterized the hundreds of women who came forward with story after story of abuse as “ridiculous.” No one of good conscience could possibly describe these employees or their claims as ridiculous if they actually knew the content of the allegations. The NFL, however, has tried to make sure that will never happen.
Indeed, just this week, the NFL felt it appropriate to release offensive emails from Las Vegas Raiders Coach Jon Gruden, which it obtained during its investigation into the WFT, but it continues to refuse to release any information or findings related to the actual target of that investigation. We do not understand why the NFL seems intent on protecting Dan Snyder and the WFT at all costs. That is why we call on you. While the NFL has refused to heed the calls for transparency and accountability from former WFT employees, advocacy groups, lawyers, or the media, it will have to heed such a call from its corporate sponsors. If the League has shown us anything, it is that money, and only money, talks. We therefore ask that you join us in insisting on transparency and accountability, and in demanding that the NFL make the findings of this investigation public.
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