The NFL has decided to take control of the investigation into sexual misconduct within the Washington Football Team organization. While the team hired D.C. attorney Beth Wilkinson, the league will now oversee the entire process until its completion.
Midway through July, The Washington Post reported that 15 women who previously worked for the Washington Football Team alleged sexual harassment by former executives. The female ex-staffers named several members who were a part of owner Dan Snyder’s “inner circle.”
According to ESPN, the allegations of sexual harassment and toxic workplace culture spanned from 2006 to 2019. Immediately following the allegations, the organization hired outside counsel “to conduct a thorough investigation.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell informed Snyder Monday evening that the league would be taking over the investigation. Snyder said it was his suggestion that the NFL take control.
“Recently, The Washington Football Team launched an independent third-party investigation into allegations about our culture and incidents of harassment. In conversations with Commissioner Goodell, Tanya and I suggested that the NFL assume full oversight of the investigation…,” Snyder said.
On Monday, Lisa Banks and Debra Katz, the attorneys representing at least a dozen former Washington employees, met with Lisa Friel, the NFL’s special counsel for investigations. They demanded that the NFL should conduct its own investigation and that Snyder should be suspended pending the results.
The NFL also convinced Snyder to “release employees or former employees from any non-disclosure agreement.”
“We communicated our strong belief that without this type of transparency, there can be no real accountability,” Banks and Katz said in a statement. “The victims of these stories should be able to tell their stories when and how they wish to do so, without threat of legal action.”
The Washington Post followed up its July report with another story last week with further allegations. The publication said executives asked employees to create a “behind-the-scenes” video for Snyder featuring clips of partially nude cheerleaders. The footage was from a 2008 swimsuit calendar shoot.
Former employee Brad Baker told The Washington Post that former lead broadcaster Larry Michael told members of the staff to make the video for Snyder.
“Larry said something to the effect of, ‘We have a special project that we need to get done for the owner today. He needs us to get the good bits of the behind-the-scenes video from the cheerleader shoot onto a DVD for him,'” Baker told the Post.
Snyder immediately denied the allegations in a statement saying, “I did not request their creation and I never saw them.”
Baker said Tim DeLaney, Washington’s former vice president of production, also played a part. DeLaney, however, denied these allegations as well.
“I was never asked to create an outtakes video. Neither do I have knowledge of anyone creating one or even being asked to create one,” DeLaney said. “I certainly would have remembered that conversation had it happened.”