Roger Goodell, NFL commissioner, claims he does not have the authority or the authority to remove Daniel Snyder owner of the Washington Commanders. The ongoing scrutiny of the organization’s workplace culture and allegations from female employees of sexual harassment by team executives has led to Roger Goodell denying any authority to remove Snyder.
Wednesday’s hearing was held by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. Goodell testified before Congressmen. Goodell was interrogated by Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D–Michigan) at one point in the middle of the more than two hours’ testimony. She asked if Goodell and the league were being held responsible. “willing to do more”Snyder will be punished
Tlaib first asked Snyder if he would recommend Snyder be removed as Commanders’ owner. Tlaib continued by asking Goodell. “Will you remove him?”
“I don’t have the authority to remove him, Congresswoman,”Goodell replied.
A three-quarters majority vote of NFL owners is required to remove an NFL owner. However, Goodell can officially recommend such a vote.
Snyder was invited by the committee to testify but declined due to commitments from overseas businesses and concerns about due procedure. Carolyn Maloney (D. New York), the chair of the committee, stated during the hearing she plans to issue an subpoena to force Snyder to testify.
“The NFL is unwilling or unable to hold Mr. Snyder accountable,”Maloney stated. “That is why I am announcing now my intent to issue a subpoena for Mr. Snyder for a deposition next week. The committee will not be deterred in its investigation into the Washington Commanders.”
Goodell stated to the committee that the team’s cultural transformation was due to an investigation by Beth Wilkinson (and that Snyder). “has been held accountable.”
The NFL fined Snyder $10 million last year after Wilkinson presented her findings. Snyder was then forced to resign from the NFL’s day-to-day operations. Goodell explained that the league didn’t release a written report on Wilkinson’s findings because it wanted to protect the privacy rights of former employees who spoke to investigators.
The Commanders sent a note to team employees following Wednesday’s hearing. ESPN obtained a copy of the letter. It stated, in part: “We believe the statements that have been made in the media critical of our organization do not accurately reflect our positive transformation and the current reality of the Washington Commanders organization that exists today.”
The eight-month-long investigation was completed by the committee before Wednesday’s hearing began. Snyder was accused by the committee of conducting his own investigation. “shadow investigation”This was done to discredit former employees by hiring private detectives to intimidate witnesses and using an overseas lawsuit to obtain phone records.
The 29-page memo alleges Snyder tried discrediting the people accusing him of misconduct, as well as trying to influence an NFL investigation by Wilkinson’s company into the team.
Snyder’s lawyers presented the NFL with a PowerPoint presentation of 100 slides that included “private text messages, emails, phone logs and call transcripts, and social media posts from nearly 50 individuals who Mr. Snyder apparently believed were involved in a conspiracy to disparage him,”According to the committee.
When asked about the alleged “shadow”Goodell stated that he was investigating the matter: “Any action that would discourage people from coming forward would be inappropriate.”
Snyder’s spokesperson stated that the hearing and the report were “innocuous”. “a politically charged show trial”According to them, Congress should not be investigating “an issue a football team addressed years ago.”
Debra Katz and Lisa Banks, attorneys representing more than 40 former team members, called for Goodell to release a report on the Wilkinson probe. “stunning and disheartening”He said that Snyder was held responsible.
“Today, the committee released a damning report demonstrating that Snyder and his lawyers also surveilled and investigated complainants, their lawyers, witnesses and journalists, which Goodell knew about and did nothing to address,”Banks and Katz stated this in a statement.
Maloney introduced legislation to stop the use of workplace confidentiality agreements and to provide protections for employees whose professional photos are inappropriately used. One of the allegations against the Commanders is that team members produced a video showing lewd outtakes taken from a photo shoot with the cheerleading squad.
Republicans on the committee accused Democrats, among other things, of going after the NFL team to distract them from more pressing issues and exceed the scope of their mission.
“A core responsibility of this committee is to conduct oversight of the executive branch, but this entire Congress, Democrats have turned a blind eye to the Biden administration,”James Comer (Kentucky GOP Rep.), is the committee’s top member. “Instead, the Oversight committee is investigating a single private organization for workplace misconduct that occurred years ago.”
Ron Rivera, Commanders coach, issued a statement Wednesday night distancing him from the team’s history.
“These investigations into inappropriate workplace issues pre-dates my employment,”Rivera, who was employed in 2020, said: “I cannot change the past, but I would hope that our fans, the NFL and Congress can see that we are doing everything in our power to never repeat those workplace issues. And know that our employees are respected, valued and can be heard.”
This report was contributed by Tisha Thompson from ESPN and The Associated Press.