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House committee to hear from former Washington Football Team employees on misconduct claims

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The House Committee on Oversight and Reform plans to hear from former Washington Football Team (WFT) employees on their misconduct claims against the team. 

In a statement released Thursday, the committee said its chairs Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) will hold a hybrid roundtable with the former employees to discuss their workplace misconduct claims and the NFL’s failure to take steps to prevent sexual harassment and verbal abuse within the WFT organization under the leadership of owner Dan Snyder. 

Ex-WFT employees set to participate in the roundtable include former marketing coordinator and ticket sales representative Emily Applegate; former cheerleader and former director of marketing Melanie Coburn; former director of marketing and client relations Rachel Engleson; former coordinator of business development and client service and former account executive Ana Nunez; and former video production manager and producer Brad Baker. 

“For more than twenty years, employees of the Washington Football Team were subjected to sexual harassment, verbal abuse, and other misconduct,” Maloney said in the statement.  

“It is becoming increasingly clear that not only did the team fail to protect employees, but the NFL went to great lengths to prevent the truth about this toxic work environment from coming to light.  The NFL’s decision to cover up these abuses raises serious questions about its commitment to setting workplace standards that keep employees safe. I commend these victims for their bravery in coming forward to share their stories.  No organization is above the law, I am committed to getting to the bottom of these abuses and ensuring that every American—no matter where they work—is safe from workplace harassment and discrimination,” Maloney concluded. 

“These victims are bravely coming forward with their stories, sharing details of despicable abuse in their workplace.  The WFT and NFL had a responsibility to protect these employees, and they failed,” Krishnamoorthi said in a statement. 

“Our investigation will continue until the perpetrators of sexual harassment are held accountable.  No person deserves to be harassed or abused at work, and this Committee will do everything in its power to protect employees at the WFT and beyond,” she added.

The hybrid roundtable is scheduled to take place just one day after the WFT will unveil its new team moniker, after dropping its previous name, the Washington Redskins, amid allegations of racism against Native Americans.

The committee initially asked the WFT and NFL to provide documents from its investigation stemming from a leaked email chain tied to allegations of WFT workplace misconduct. 

The email chain, which spans from 2011 to 2018, involved then-WFT president Bruce Allen and Jon Gruden, who was employed by ESPN as a lead broadcaster for Monday Night Football. 

The email chain contained racist, homophobic and misogynistic language, which led to Gruden resigning from his post as Raiders head coach after the emails surfaced to the public. 

The league fined the Washington Football Team $10 million in July following its investigation, requiring team executives to be trained in topics such as bullying and unconscious bias.

The hybrid roundtable is scheduled to take place on Feb. 3. 

“We continue to cooperate with the committee,” NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy said in a statement to The Hill. “Out of respect for the ongoing process and the committee, we will decline further comment.” 

Updated at 4:39 p.m.

Tags Carolyn Maloney NFL Raja Krishnamoorthi Washignton D.C. Washington Football Team Washington football team

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