More than a year after Commanders' workplace culture, and the NFL's own handling of it, the U.S. House of Representatives' Oversight Committee has released a 79-page final report with its findings. Concluding that team owner Daniel Snyder "permitted and participated in" the "troubling conduct" that's since resulted in fines, lawsuits and other league discipline, the report also features testimony from Snyder and former Washington president Bruce Allen, who alleges the Commanders were behind the leaked emails that led to ex-Raiders coach Jon Gruden's resignation.into the
The Oversight Committee, the House's top investigative arm, began looking into Washington's conduct in the wake of the Gruden email scandal.after The New York Times published emails in which Gruden repeatedly used profane, misogynistic language, the coach often had correspondence with Allen, who worked in Washington's front office from 2010-2019. In deposition with the Committee, Allen testified that a top NFL official told him the Commanders leaked said emails, apparently to fault him -- and not Snyder, the owner -- for their own franchise's hostile workplace environment.
Allen testified that Snyder indirectly warned him not to expose Snyder for his own wrongdoing, both in direct communications and by sending private investigators to his home in early 2021. Snyder also entertained the idea of using private investigators to gather information on NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, Allen told the Oversight Committee. This echoes ESPN reporting from this fall, which suggested Snyder, fearing further punishment, has privately claimed to have "dirt" on his colleagues.
Snyder, meanwhile, also testified to the Committee, providing sworn deposition for more than 10 hours, but only after refusing invitations to join Goodell at a public hearing this June. His eventual testimony was "often evasive or misleading," per the report, championing Washington's reformed culture and downplaying his role in alleged workplace misdoings, including sexual harassment.
The Commanders refuted the report's claims in a statement to CBS Sports on Thursday:
These Congressional investigators demonstrated, almost immediately, that they were not interested in the truth, and were only interested in chasing headlines by pursuing one side of the story. Today's report is the predictable culmination of that one-sided approach. ... As is typical of the Committee, they have refused, despite our repeated requests, to release the full transcript of Mr. Snyder's deposition. ... And, ironically for an "investigative" body supposedly engaged in an "investigation," the investigators actually criticize the team and Mr. Snyder for providing evidence to the Committee -- such as e-mails former team employees sent from their workplace accounts -- that reveal the actual causes of the formerly dysfunctional workplace environment at the team.
Today's report does not advance public knowledge of the Washington Commanders workplace in any way. The team is proud of the progress it has made in recent years in establishing a welcoming and inclusive workplace, and it looks forward to future success, both on and off the field.
The NFL also issued a response to the report.
"The NFL is committed to ensuring that all employees of the NFL and the 32 clubs work in a professional and supportive environment that is free from discrimination, harassment, or other forms of illegal or unprofessional conduct," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said. "The NFL and the 32 clubs have implemented substantial and effective programs to advance this commitment at all of our facilities.
"The investigation into the Commanders' workplace that was conducted by Beth Wilkinson's firm was independent and thorough. No individual who wished to speak to the Wilkinson firm was prevented from doing so by non-disclosure agreements. And many of the more than 150 witnesses who participated in the Wilkinson investigation did so on the condition that their identities would be kept confidential. Far from impeding the investigation, the common interest agreement enabled the NFL efficiently to assume oversight of the matter and avoided the potential for substantial delay and inconvenience to witnesses.
"Following the completion of Ms. Wilkinson's investigation, the NFL issued a public release and imposed a record-setting fine on the club and its ownership. The club also implemented a series of recommendations by the Wilkinson firm and an independent firm has monitored the implementation of those recommendations through regular reviews of the Commanders' workplace. All of these reviews, which were shared with the Committee, have concluded that the Commanders have made significant improvements in workplace culture and policies.
"Over the past 13 months, the NFL has cooperated extensively with the Committee's investigation, producing nearly a half million pages of documents, responding to dozens of written inquiries, and voluntarily participating in a two-and-a-half hour public hearing during which Commissioner Goodell answered 128 questions."
Snyder and his wife, Tanya, the Commanders' technical day-to-day CEO, have previously denied allegations and characterizations made by the Committee's lead investigators, who are House Democrats. Committee Republicans, meanwhile, have generally dismissed the investigation into Washington as a pointless endeavor, and did so again Thursday in the wake of the final report, arguing Democrats have "chosen to weaponize the power of Congress against a single private workplace." They added, per The Washington Post, that the Committee has only conducted the investigation to force a sale of the team, potentially to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who happens to own the Post.
The Snyders announced in November, through a team statement, they are indeed, though they didn't make it clear if they'd sell a portion or the entire stake of the team. The Commanders remain the subject of a second NFL investigation into their conduct, this time conducted by attorney Mary Jo White.