NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell supported the league’s investigation into allegations of workplace misconduct at the Washington Commanders at a congressional hearing on Wednesday, despite members of the House of Representatives challenging his NFL decision not to require a written report of the results or not to come again. tough on Commanders owner Daniel Snyder.
Hours after the House Oversight and Reform Committee released a memorandum suggesting that Snyder interfered with the investigation, Goodell testified that he believed Snyder was held accountable due to the league’s $10 fine. million dollars for the team and that Snyder has moved away from the team’s day-to-day operations over the past year.
While Goodell praised commanders for transforming his organization’s culture after the investigation, including rethinking their HR practices, he also said he hasn’t seen another job in the NFL “even close” to what it claims to be. former employees, they encountered. Commanders for the period from 2006 to 2019.
Snyder did not appear at the hearing on Wednesday. Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, Democrat of New York and chair of the committee, said she would subpoena Snyder to testify next week.
Goodell testified under oath for more than two hours before a committee that spent eight months investigating how commanders and the NFL dealt with allegations of rampant sexual harassment of female team members. In a memo released Wednesday morning, Maloney detailed the committee’s findings, including that Snyder attempted to interfere with the league’s investigation into his organization by intimidating witnesses and launching a “shadow investigation” that resulted in a 100-page dossier on those who shared allegations of persecution of commanders.
Goodell said the league would find it unacceptable and “will not tolerate” any action that would discourage people with knowledge of violations from reporting violations. He added that in August 2020, when the NFL took over the investigation launched under the supervision of the commanders, the league told the team not to conduct its own investigation.
Throughout his testimony, Goodell reaffirmed his defense of the league’s approach, even in the face of questions from members of Congress regarding the NFL’s handling of serious allegations of workplace abuse, especially his decision to keep the results of the investigation confidential.
Representative Jamie Ruskin, Democrat of Maryland, rejected Goodell’s assertion that a written report could not be produced and released for this investigation due to privacy concerns of some of the people interviewed. Ruskin referred to the NFL A 148-page report published in 2014 about the Miami Dolphins bullying scandal. in which the names and identifying information of the participating witnesses were redacted, and asked the commissioner why the same was not done with the league report under the direction of attorney Beth Wilkinson.
“Editing doesn’t always work in my world,” said Goodell.
Later, Representative Jackie Speyer, D-California, read out a September 2020 letter of commitment in which the NFL appears to have committed to providing Wilkinson with a written report on the findings of the investigation. Goodell said that a month later, the league decided that the report would only be presented orally, an approach that was criticized by many people interviewed as part of the league’s investigation.
Goodell didn’t go out of his way to defend Snyder, who declined two requests to appear at Wednesday’s hearing, citing a long-standing “business conflict with commanders.” The commissioner claimed that, as team owner, Snyder was responsible for his club’s work environment and said he did not believe Snyder simultaneously reported to the league office that a team employee accused Snyder of sexually harassing and assaulting her in 2009 before he reached $1.6 million. a confidential settlement, according to the Washington Post.
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At one point, when Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a Michigan Democrat, pushed for Goodell to remove Snyder as team owner, he initially objected, but then responded when she repeated her question: “I don’t have the power to remove his”. Goodell said.
While Goodell cannot unilaterally remove Snyder, he can recommend that the rest of the league’s owners do so. Such a measure would require a vote by at least 24 of the league’s 32 member clubs, and Snyder is expected to fight resolutely against any such attempt.
But two senior officials from other teams said Snyder’s co-owners and other top executives had grown impatient with the constant barrage of unflattering news about the commanders. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity as matters are still being investigated. One team official said NFL team owners planned to discuss the league’s second investigation, which looks at a new sexual misconduct allegation against Snyder, as well as the organization’s allegations of financial misconduct, once it’s completed.
Several Republican members of Congress disagreed with the committee’s decision to focus on workplace culture on the NFL team. Maloney responded that the main purpose of the hearing was to increase workplace protection for all employees and proposed two new pieces of legislation, one of which would prohibit the use of non-disclosure agreements or NDAs to cover up workplace misconduct and require employers conducting investigations to share the outcome with victims.
Goodell said the NFL would work with lawmakers on such legislation, although the league did not instruct teams not to use such agreements, but rather stated that non-disclosure agreements could not be used to prevent employees from participating in the league’s investigation.
Ken Belson made a report.