The investigation into the Washington Football Team and its alleged workplace misconduct has reportedly concluded, and a punishment has been handed down to the franchise and its owner. According to the NFL, Washington will pay $10 million -- which will be given to organizations "committed to character education, anti-bullying, healthy relationships and related topics."
This investigation was launched following a troubling report from the Washington Post published last July, which included 15 former employees claiming they were sexually harassed during their time with the club. The allegations included came from a time frame of 2006-19, and the Post categorized them into two categories: "unwelcome overtures or comments of a sexual nature," and "exhortations to wear revealing clothing and flirt with clients to close sales deals." Then in August, the Post published another report citing interviews of more than 100 employees who claimed Washington owner Dan Snyder "has presided over an organization in which women say they have been marginalized, discriminated against and exploited." While Washington initially launched its own investigation, the NFL eventually took over the proceedings in late August.
Snyder was accused of attempting to use cheerleaders in inappropriate ways and having inappropriate videos of cheerleader photoshoots created for him. He released a statement following the conclusion of the investigation, which said that he agrees with Commissioner Roger Goodell's decision. He also said that he feels "great remorse" for those who had traumatic experiences working for Washington, and that he's dedicated to change.
You can read Snyder's full statement below:
Beth Wilkinson, who led the investigation, handed down 10 specific recommendations that Snyder and his wife Tanya, who was named co-CEO earlier this week, agreed to implement. Among them are new protocols for reporting harassment and the expansion of HR and Legal within the organization.
Some thought Snyder could be forced to sell the team following the conclusion of this investigation, but he will remain in power. It will look a little different for now, however, as the NFL's official release noted that Tanya will assume the day-to-day responsibilities and represent the club at all league meetings for "at least the next several months." As for Dan, he will be focused on creating a plan for the new stadium "and other matters." According to NFL counsel Janet Nova, Tanya taking over the day-to-day operations is "voluntary," so this was not specifically a punishment handed down to Dan.
Many were puzzled by the league's final ruling and others were outraged with how the results of the investigation were communicated to those in charge. Attorneys Lisa Banks and Debra Katz, who represent 40 former Washington employees, released this statement following the NFL's decision, via Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post:
"In response to a year-long investigation in which more than 100 witnesses were interviewed, and which we believe substantiated our clients' allegations of pervasive harassment, misogyny and abuse at the Washington Football Team, the NFL has chosen to protect owner Dan Snyder. Ignoring our requests that it make the report prepared by Beth Wilkinson public, the NFL has chosen instead to receive only an oral report of the findings and to fine Dan Snyder what amounts to pocket change. That is truly outrageous, and is a slap in the face to the hundreds of women and former employees who came forward in good faith and at great personal risk to report a culture of abuse at all levels of the Team, including by Snyder himself. The NFL has effectively told survivors in this country and around the world that it does not care about them or credit their experiences. Female fans, and fans of goodwill everywhere, take note."