House panel invites Roger Goodell, Dan Snyder to testify on Washington Commanders’ workplace culture
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder have been invited by the House Oversight and Reform Committee to testify on allegations that have been made against Snyder that his franchise has a hostile work environment.
Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), the chairman of the panel’s Economic and Consumer Policy Subcommittee, sent their letter to Snyder and Goodell on Wednesday, asking both to appear at a hearing before the committee on June 22.
The committee launched its investigation into the team in October based on allegations of sexual harassment and workplace misconduct within the Commanders organization and following the resignation of former Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden, whose email chain with then-Commanders President Bruce Allen was leaked to the public.
The email chain, which was a part of the league’s initial investigation of the team, contained racist, homophobic and misogynistic language.
“Since we launched our investigation in October, the Committee’s goal has been to uncover the truth about the culture of harassment and abuse at the Washington Commanders, to hold accountable those responsible, and to better protect workers across the country,” Maloney said in a statement, adding the committee has “worked tirelessly” in an effort to obtain critical and classified information from attorney Beth Wilkinson’s initial investigation of the team.
“We must have transparency and accountability, which is why we are calling on Mr. Goodell and Mr. Snyder to answer the questions they have dodged for the last seven months. The hearing will explore how Congress can act to prevent employers from silencing victims of workplace misconduct and ensure that what happened at the Commanders organization does not happen again,” Maloney added.
“For seven months, the Committee has been stonewalled by NDAs and other tools to evade accountability,” Krishnamoorthi said in a statement. “Mr. Snyder and Mr. Goodell need to appear before the Committee to address these issues and answer our questions about the pervasive workplace misconduct at the Washington Commanders, and how the NFL addressed these issues.”
In a statement to The Hill, NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy said the league has received the committee’s letter and will respond to it “in a timely manner.”
“We received the Committee’s invitation this morning and will respond directly in a timely manner,” McCarthy said on Wednesday. “The NFL has cooperated extensively throughout the Committee’s lengthy investigation of the Washington Commanders, including by producing more than 460,000 pages of documents and responding to numerous questions in writing and in conversations with the Committee’s staff.”
The move comes as the NFL earlier this year launched a second investigation into the team after former cheerleader and marketing manager Tiffani Johnston, while speaking at a House Oversight and Reform Committee roundtable discussion on the matter, accused Snyder of sexually harassing her during a work-related dinner.
The committee also sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission in April detailing evidence that the Commanders and Snyder engaged in a series of financial improprieties.
This led to Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares (R) and District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine (D) launching a separate investigation into the allegations against the team.
Recently, some NFL owners expressed an interest in voting to oust Snyder due to the allegations, according to a USA Today report.
The team, which has been owned by Snyder since 1999, has publicly denied both the allegations of sexual harassment against Snyder and financial improprieties.
In a statement to The Hill, Lisa Banks and Debra Katz, the attorneys representing the former Commanders employees involved in the investigations, applaud the committee’s decision.
“We are pleased the House Oversight Committee has invited Dan Snyder and Roger Goodell to testify in front of the Committee,” the attorneys said in a statement. “We hope they will demonstrate the same courage as our clients and agree to testify. Dan Snyder and Roger Goodell have a lot to answer for.”
A Washington Commanders spokesperson told The Hill on Wednesday that the team has received the committee’s invitation and will respond in a timely manner.
“The Commanders have assisted the NFL in cooperating with all prior requests from the House Oversight and Reform Committee. We look forward to responding directly to the Committee’s invitation in a timely manner,” the spokesperson said.
Updated at 5:27 p.m.