The investigation into the Washington Football Team’s toxic workplace was supposed to turn out a lot different. Dozens of women told their stories, the cheerleader story came out, the minority owners were pushing to get Snyder to sell, and the public was once again getting a look inside one of the worst organizations in the NFL. Dan Snyder, who bought the franchise in 1999, was once again under the microscope.
Beth Wilkinson was hired by Snyder to look into the accusations against the organization. This was immediately called out as a terrible idea at best, and the NFL took over the investigation. Once Wilkinson was no longer his personal attorney, Snyder started suing to impede the process and hired private investigators to “interview” the accusers. When she was hired, the company line was complete transparency, but that went out the window when the deck wasn’t completely stacked. With the NFL in charge it was only 99% stacked.
Wilkerson finally completed her investigation into the workplace violations that have been happening for over two decades, but the league didn’t want a written report that would contain potentially sensitive information. Instead they opted for an oral report, and based their decision on that. The Washington Football Team was fined $10 million and Dan Snyder was “suspended”. Tanya Snyder was named co-CEO of the franchise and would run the day-to-day operations while Dan focused on the new stadium and “other matters”.
This was viewed as a kill shot to fans’ hopes of ever getting rid of the owner who has taken the franchise from champion to laughingstock. The NFL was obviously protecting one of their own and burying anything that could be used against Snyder, or other owners, to force a sale. The NFL has very specific rules for their exclusive club, and they don’t want to start a precedent of bad behavior being a reason to lose their membership.
This seemed like it was just going to be another storm that Dan Snyder weathered until emails started leaking out from the account of former Team President Bruce Allen. These emails were originally involved in the lawsuit Snyder had against Allen alleging that he was helping the former minority owners of the team run a smear campaign alleging Snyder’s connections to disgraced pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, among other things.
Raiders Head Coach Jon Gruden was forced to resign after multiple emails came out from when he was an ESPN personality communicating with Bruce Allen. He railed against NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith during the 2011 lockout, using an offensive description. More emails came out with Gruden hating the NFL forcing the Rams to draft a gay player, hiring female referees, social justice issues players were involved in, and Roger Goodell.
Then there was a troubling email exchange between ESPN reporter Adam Schefter and Bruce Allen, referring to him as Mr. Editor. Another exchange was released between Bruce Allen and NFL general council Jeff Pash. They made derogatory comments and talked about players salaries, and trading NFLPA reps after the lockout. These emails were part of the reported 650,000 that came exclusively from Allen’s account.
The question that remains is who “leaked” the emails, and what were they hoping to gain from it? Former employee Melanie Coburn has accused Dan Snyder of being behind the leak, saying he is trying to put the blame for the horrible workplace conditions entirely on Bruce Allen. There is no proof that Snyder is leaking them to the media, but he definitely had access to them, and attempted to use them against Allen in court.
There are numerous theories about who is pushing these emails out into the public, including the NFL itself. The problem with these theories is they are only drawing more attention to a case that was viewed by many as closed. These leaks have put a blazing hot spotlight back on Washington and Dan Snyder. People on both sides of the cancel culture debate have jumped into Jon Gruden’s downfall over 10-year old emails. Others are demanding a full report from the investigation into the Washington Football Team that was “never written”.
This kind of attention hasn’t gone unnoticed by a group of people that loves an easy headline and any investigation that will get media attention.
Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.), chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) sent a five-page letter asking Goodell to produce by Nov. 4 “all documents and communications obtained in connection with the investigation into the WFT, its management, its owners, and any other matter relating to or resulting from the WFT investigation.”
“Communications between league management and WFT leadership also raise questions about the league’s asserted impartiality in these investigations,” they wrote. “The NFL’s lack of transparency about the problems it recently uncovered raises questions about the seriousness with which it has addressed bigotry, racism, sexism, and homophobia — setting troubling precedent for other workplaces.”
More attention to the investigation is a good thing, but this doesn’t mean anything else will happen to Dan Snyder. The NFL is an insulated entity that protects it’s interests at all costs. When the Jerry Richardson scandal hit the Carolina Panthers, he chose to sell the team before the NFL finished their investigation. Richardson chose to pull the cord before things got messier in the public, Dan Snyder doesn’t plan on selling his team(he plans on passing it to his children) and has no problem playing dirty to win. We will see if the NFL cooperates with Congress here, or if this is just another ripple in the ocean the doesn’t move Snyder’s superyacht.
Dan Snyder has overseen a toxic culture driven by a maximum profit mentality above all else. This rampant conduct, which includes exploiting women, cannot be tolerated.— Rep. Gerry Connolly (@GerryConnolly) October 22, 2021
There can be no more free passes for Dan Snyder. The NFL must be transparent and cooperate with this inquiry. https://t.co/jbVMxICP40