Roger Goodell Defends Commanders Investigation, but Not Snyder

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell stood by the league’s investigation into allegations of office misconduct on the Washington Commanders group at a congressional listening to on Wednesday, regardless of being challenged by House members in regards to the NFL’s choice to not compel a written report of the findings or to return down extra harshly on the Commanders’ proprietor, Daniel Snyder.

Hours after the House Committee on Oversight and Reform launched a memo that mentioned Snyder had interfered within the investigation, Goodell testified that he believed Snyder had been held accountable by means of the league’s evaluation of a $ 10 million wonderful on the workforce and having Snyder step away from the workforce’s day-to-day operations for the previous 12 months.

While Goodell lauded the Commanders for reworking their group’s tradition within the wake of the investigation, together with an overhaul of their human-resources practices, he additionally mentioned he had not seen one other office within the NFL “anyplace close to” what former staff alleged they skilled with the Commanders over a interval that ran from 2006 by means of 2019.

Snyder didn’t seem at Wednesday’s listening to. Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, Democrat of New York and the chairwoman of the committee, mentioned she would subpoena Snyder to look for a deposition subsequent week.

Goodell testified underneath oath for greater than two hours in entrance of the committee, which performed an eight-month inquiry into how the Commanders and the NFL dealt with claims of rampant sexual harassment of the workforce’s feminine staff. In a memo launched on Wednesday morning, Maloney detailed the committee’s findings, together with that Snyder sought to intrude with the league’s investigation of his group by directing intimidation of witnesses and launching a “shadow investigation” that yielded a 100-page file on those that had shared claims of harassment in opposition to the Commanders.

Goodell mentioned the league would discover unacceptable and “not allow” any motion that will discourage folks with data of violations from coming ahead. He added that, in August 2020, because the NFL took over the investigation which had begun underneath the Commanders’ oversight, the league instructed the workforce to not conduct its personal investigation.

Throughout his testimony, Goodell reiterated his protection of the league’s strategy, even within the face of Congress members’ questions that burrowed into the NFL’s dealing with of great claims of office violations, significantly his choice to maintain the investigation’s findings confidential.

Representative Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland, pushed again on Goodell’s assertion {that a} written report couldn’t be ready and launched for this investigation out of concern for the confidentiality of among the folks interviewed. Raskin referred to the NFL’s 148-page report launched in 2014 relating to the Miami Dolphins’ bullying scandal by which names and figuring out data of taking part witnesses had been redacted, and requested the commissioner why the identical was not achieved with the league’s report led by lawyer Beth Wilkinson.

“Redaction doesn’t all the time work in my world,” Goodell mentioned.

Later, Representative Jackie Speier, Democrat of California, learn from a September 2020 engagement letter by which the NFL appeared to decide to Wilkinson producing a written report of the investigation’s findings. Goodell mentioned the league determined a month later that the report could be delivered solely orally, an strategy that has been criticized by lots of the folks interviewed for the league-run investigation.

Goodell didn’t exit of his strategy to defend Snyder, who declined two requests to look at Wednesday’s listening to, citing a longstanding “Commanders-related enterprise battle.” The commissioner asserted that, because the workforce proprietor, Snyder is answerable for his membership’s office surroundings and mentioned he didn’t consider Snyder contemporaneously instructed the league workplace {that a} workforce worker had accused Snyder of sexually harassing and assaulting her in 2009 earlier than reaching a $ 1.6 million confidential settlement, as reported by the Washington Post.

At one level, when Representative Rashida Tlaib, Democrat of Michigan, pressed Goodell on if he would take away Snyder as a workforce proprietor, he at first demurred but then replied when she repeated her query: “I don’t have the authority to take away him , ”Goodell mentioned.

While Goodell cannot unilaterally take away Snyder, he might suggest that the remainder of the league’s house owners achieve this. Such a measure would require a vote by not less than 24 of the league’s 32 member golf equipment, and it’s anticipated that Snyder would vigorously battle in opposition to any such effort.

But two high-ranking officers at different groups mentioned that Snyder’s fellow house owners and different prime executives had grown impatient with answering a relentless barrage of unflattering information in regards to the Commanders. The officers spoke on situation of anonymity as a result of the problems are nonetheless being investigated. One of the workforce officers mentioned the NFL workforce house owners deliberate to debate the second league inquiry – which is wanting into a brand new allegation of sexual harassment in opposition to Snyder in addition to claims of economic malfeasance by the group – as soon as it’s accomplished.

Several Republican members of Congress disagreed with the committee’s choice to concentrate on the office tradition of an NFL workforce. Maloney replied {that a} driving goal in holding the listening to was to strengthen office protections for all staff and proposed two new items of laws, one which might prohibit using nondisclosure agreements, or NDAs, to hide office misconduct and require employers conducting investigations to share the result with victims.

Goodell mentioned the NFL would work with lawmakers on such laws, although the league has not instructed groups to not use such agreements, but somewhat has mentioned that NDAs can’t be used to stop staff from taking part in a league investigation.

Ken Belson contributed reporting.

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