The NFL announced it has concluded its investigation into the Washington Football Team for issues with its workplace culture, including sexual harassment, and will be fining the team $10 million.
Team owner Dan Snyder will not be suspended and the team will not lose any draft picks, as the league was satisfied with Snyder’s response when the issues came to light.
In a statement, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said: “I want to thank Beth Wilkinson and her team for conducting a thorough and independent review of the Washington club’s workplace culture and conduct and providing both the club and me with a series of thoughtful recommendations based on her findings. Beth and her team performed their work in a highly professional and ethical manner. Most importantly, I want to thank the current and former employees who spoke to Beth and her team; they provided vital information that will help ensure that the workplace environment at the club continues to improve. It is incredibly difficult to relive painful memories. I am grateful to everyone who courageously came forward.”
Snyder also released a statement.
— Washington Football Team (@WashingtonNFL) July 1, 2021
The $10 million fine is the largest in NFL history and blows away the previous high of $1 million levied on the Patriots for Deflategate. The money will be donated to charity.
The Washington Post previously reported that fifteen women who worked for the franchise allege sexual harassment by former scouts and members of Snyder’s inner circle.
The NFL took over the investigation after the franchise commissioned an investigation led by Wilkinson.
She interviewed over 150 people and found, “the workplace environment at the Washington Football Team, both generally and particularly for women, was highly unprofessional. Bullying and intimidation frequently took place and many described the culture as one of fear, and numerous female employees reported having experienced sexual harassment and a general lack of respect in the workplace.”
A number of women were unable to speak with The Post due to non-disclosure agreements. Former marketing coordinator Emily Applegate was, however, able to speak on the record and the NFL says Snyder released others from their NDAs and promised no retaliation.
The allegations against members of the organization date as far back as 2006 and as recently as 2019 and include “unwelcome overtures or comments of a sexual nature, and exhortations to wear revealing clothing and flirt with clients to close sales deals.”
The report identified former president of business operations Dennis Greene and former COO Mitch Gershman as being among the harassers.
None of the women accused Snyder or former team president Bruce Allen of harassment. However, the women did express skepticism that they were unaware of the behavior.
The team has fired or moved on from prominent team employees like Richard Mann, Alex Santos and radio play-by-play announcer Larry Michael. All three are among the employees accused in the report.
The NFL says no one accused of inappropriate behavior is still employed by the team. Washington has made a number of hires cited by the NFL in an effort to improve their culture, including HC Ron Rivera, team president Jason Wright and co-CEO Tanya Snyder.
The league released a list of 10 conditions for Washington to continue to fulfill to further resolve the situation. The team will be required to fund those as well as pay for the expenses of the investigation.
The NFL also added Snyder won’t be involved in football operations for a time: “As co-CEO, Tanya Snyder will assume responsibilities for all day-to-day team operations and represent the club at all league meetings and other league activities for at least the next several months. Dan Snyder will concentrate on a new stadium plan and other matters.”