NFL tells House panel Washington Commanders blocking documents in misconduct probe

Associated Press/Patrick Semansky

The NFL has told the House Oversight and Reform Committee that the Washington Commanders football team is blocking documents in its workplace misconduct investigation, according to a letter by the league’s lawyers.

The league told lawmakers it sought approximately 109,000 team documents from the investigation that have not been shared with the NFL or a law firm working on the case, Wilkinson Stekloff and attorney Beth Wilkinson.

“That vendor refused to provide the NFL or even Wilkinson Stekloff with access to the documents unless the team consented because of its concern that it could be sued by the team or its owner,” the league’s attorneys wrote in the letter. “The NFL promptly directed the team to provide its consent to the vendor, but the team repeatedly has refused to do so.”

The league said Washington’s approach is “unacceptable,” saying “it would prevent the NFL from ensuring that it can produce all responsive, non-privileged documents to the Committee and would delay our production decisions.”

Former employees of the Washington Football Team criticized a culture of sexual harassment, misogyny and racism they said pervaded the organization during a Thursday “roundtable” held by the House Oversight Committee.

Numerous employees, including former marketing staffers, cheerleaders and video production team members detailed how women were mistreated and discriminated against by higher-ups in the team and how powerless they felt in the face of misconduct. Team owner Dan Snyder was repeatedly singled out for criticism.

Snyder, who has owned the team for 22 years, is planning to conduct his own investigation into Tiffani Johnston’s allegations of sexual harassment, saying in a previous statement that her claim’s against him are “outright lies.”

In a statement to The Washington Post, the team denied the NFL’s accusations about not handing over documents. 

“The Committee received the NFL’s letter, but as the documents released last week show, the NFL and the Washington Commanders clearly entered into an agreement to pursue a ‘joint legal strategy’ regarding the Wilkinson investigation,” the House Oversight and Reform Committee said in a statement. “While the NFL and the Commanders continue to point fingers at each other, the fact remains that the NFL still has not turned over the findings of the Wilkinson investigation or the underlying documents to the Committee.”

“Until the NFL holds Mr. Snyder accountable and stops hiding the truth about the outrageous workplace conduct under his watch, the League’s claims about transparency and accountability will continue to ring hollow,” the statement continued.

The Hill has reached out to the NFL for comment.

— Updated at 10:18 p.m.

Tags Dan Snyder House Committee on Oversight and Reform NFL Raja Krishnamoorthi

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