By Lewis Gould
The NFL today fined the WFT $10 million at the conclusion of an investigation into the allegations of rampant sexual misconduct within the team organization.
The investigation, conducted by independent counsel Beth Wilkinson, spanned roughly a year and included interviews with more than 150 people, many of them current or former employees of the team who received anonymity in exchange for their testimony. Washington owner Daniel Snyder also was interviewed.
“Based on Wilkinson’s review, the Commissioner concluded that for many years the workplace environment at the Washington Football Team, both generally and particularly for women, was highly unprofessional,” the league said in a statement. “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.
“Ownership and senior management paid little or no attention to these issues. In some instances, senior executives engaged in inappropriate conduct themselves, including use of demeaning language and public embarrassment.”
The $10 million will be donated to “organizations committed to character education, anti-bullying, healthy relationships and related topics,” the NFL said, as well as “programs directed more broadly at improving the workplace, particularly for women and other underrepresented groups”
News of the long-running misconduct and harassment allegations first became public following a lengthy investigation by the Post last summer.
Snyder claimed ignorance and blamed himself for being too hands off in his leadership of the team. He initially enlisted the services of Wilkinson to conduct an extensive investigation in July 2020 and then turned the oversight of that investigation over to the NFL.
Earlier this week, Washington announced Snyder had named his wife Tanya Snyder co-CEO. On Thursday, the team and the NFL announced Tanya Snyder would be the face of the organization moving forward.
“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,” the league said in its release.
Daniel Snyder released a subsequent statement saying that he agreed with the decision of the NFL.
“I have learned a lot in the past few months about how my club operated, and the kind of workplace that we had. It is now clear that the culture was not what it should be, but I did not realize the extent of the problems, or my role in allowing that culture to develop and continue. I know that as the owner, I am ultimately responsible for the workplace. I have said that and I say it again.”
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