zach-banner-steelers.jpg
USATSI

On Thursday evening, the Washington Post issued a report about 15 former Washington employees who claim that they were sexually harassed during their time at the club. Washington owner Dan Snyder, in a statement issued shortly after the Post's story went public, said that the report has "strengthened my commitment to setting a new culture and standard for our team, a process that began with the hiring of Coach (Ron) Rivera earlier this year." The team has also hired attorney Beth Wilkinson to conduct a "thorough independent review of this entire matter" and help the team establish "new employee standards for the future." 

Zach Banner, the Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle, recently posted a passionate video on social media vowing to to stand up for women's equality in the workplace. Here's a portion of what Banner said in his video. 

"We need to identify as men within the National Football League, and men in general, to lead by example, as men in the NFL, because we make as much money as we do and because we have such a great platform to be able to share this with women who want to be not only reporters, cheerleaders, coaches as well, other women within the building. We can no longer rely on them going to the HR department … We can no longer expect for them to hold themselves up. So we have to change the environment. 

"Just because a woman gets dressed professionally for work doesn't mean she got dressed for us to look good for us that day. We like jewelry because we've earned it. We like nice clothes because we've earned it with our hard work and money. So have they. That doesn't mean that they need to feel sexually harassed when they come to the workplace ... We need to be accountable as men and make the workplace for women a lot more appropriate, and a lot more safer. Why would they want to come to work if [we're acting inappropriate]?

"So as a man, ladies, I promise you this. If I see it, I'll speak up, and I think I need more men, especially in the NFL Players Association, to show support to this message … and speak up, show solidarity, and let's move forward in a better light, in a better mindset. Because women are coming to work uncomfortable. Black Lives Matter, and so does the comfort of women in their workplace." 

The NFL has released its own statement as it relates the Post's report. 

"These matters as reported are serious, disturbing and contrary to the NFL's values. Everyone in the NFL has the right to work in an environment free from any and all forms of harassment. Washington has engaged outside of counsel to conduct a thorough investigation into these allegations. The club has pledged that it will give its full cooperation to the investigator and we expect the club and all employees to do so.

"We will meet with the attorneys upon the conclusion of their investigation and take any action based on the findings."

It's been a tumultuous several weeks for Snyder and his franchise, who announced earlier this month that they will change their team name and logo