Roger Goodell, the NFL Commissioner has announced in a press conference that the allegations against Washington Football Team have been investigated. The team was fined $10 million, and the owner has apparently been held accountable for the horrible working conditions. However, Goodell also said that the league won’t release a report on the WFT incident in order to protect security, privacy, and anonymity.
All the controversies surrounding the team have pushed it down the list of NFL favorites at Sportsbet.io and other bookies. Washington has started the season in a bad way, so all the allegations and current reports obviously have an impact on the team and its players.
The NFL has Given an "Unprecedented" Fine
In mid-2020, over 40 women shared details about sexual harassment and discrimination by Snyder and other male executives in the team since 2006. The information was posted in a series of articles in The Washington Post and raised questions about the workplace culture in the NFL. A few months later, information leaked that Snyder settled a sexual harassment claim with a former employee for $1.6 million.
Two private investigations looked into the matter, but they couldn’t substantiate the woman’s claim. Concerned that the details might go public, Snyder paid the woman to avoid negative publicity.
Lawyer Beth Wilkinson led a year-long investigation into all the claims. It was completed in July 2021, finding several reports of sexual harassment and intimidation. It seems that the former Washington Redskins organization was a really unsafe place to work at, raising eyebrows around the league.
The NFL reacted fast to the news, launching an investigation of its own. The first thing it did was ask Snyder to step down from his position, which he agreed to. Washington was also fined $10 million, which the NFL called an "unprecedented", but fair fine. Daniel Snyder handed the reins to his wife Tanya. After further investigation and the Gruden emails leak, it was clear that the organization tried to cover up the damaging revelations with the jersey retirement of legendary safety Sean Taylor, which is another big disgrace.
Cooperating with Congress
While the NFL won’t release the findings publicly to fans, it has complied with everything Congress asked. The House Committee on Oversight and Reform has already asked for full disclosure of all documentation on the allegations into the workplace culture at the Washington Football Team. Commissioner Goodell stated that the league will comply immediately, sending all the findings to the Congress.
Everyone’s hoping that this will be a learning point for the NFL and other leagues as well. While no workplace is perfect, discrimination, sexual harassment, and a toxic culture have no place in modern sports.
In light of everything that happened, Goodell said that some may have a perception that the league tried to protect an owner from full responsibility. In the latest press release, he stated that nothing like that is happening. As he said, he fully understands that he media wants more transparency. The NFL is all for it, but because of the sensitive material, the findings and report details won’t go public.
He made it clear that they’ve worked together with Beth Wilkinson to trigger changes to the organization that were necessary. The Washington Football Team has shown that it wants change and has already started changing internally starting with the name.
WFT Employees Want the Report to be Public
While the league was clear that the report won’t go live, several WFT employees involved in the investigation and their lawyers want the opposite. They claim that they’ve always wanted for the report to go public. Those who signed anonymously want to remain anonymous, but they want the report to see the light of day.
Rachel Engleson, one of the employees, has even tweeted her frustration. Several former employees delivered a letter to the league asking for the report to be publicly released. Lisa Banks, attorney of around 40 WFT employees involved in the investigation, tweeted her support and claimed Goodell’s reasoning was false.
It is yet unclear if the NFL will change the tune and release the report publicly. One thing is for sure. After the WFT incident, reports of a toxic workplace culture will be taken much more seriously, and that’s for the best.