The Washington Football Team has entered it’s last week as the team prepares for a full rebrand that includes a new name, logo, and uniforms. They set their big reveal for next Wednesday 2/2/22 and the world will officially find out the 2 year old secret on the Today show. This represents a fresh start for a franchise that has been wallowing in mediocrity since current owner Dan Snyder bought the team in 1999. The team’s name, and its owner, have been associated with controversy for decades, but only one of them gets a permanent replacement next week.
Dan Snyder and the Washington franchise want next week to be all about turning the page and looking towards the future. The problem with that is there are still a lot of lingering, festering issues that have been glossed over and minimized for years by the organization, the NFL, and Commissioner Roger Goodell. There was an investigation into Washington’s toxic culture that was taken over by the NFL and led by attorney Beth Wilkinson. When it was taken out of Snyder’s control he reportedly started smear, interference, and intimidation campaigns for everyone involved.
The investigation ended with Wilkinson not producing a written report and Washington being hit with a $10 million fine, while Dan Snyder “stepped back” and let newly minted co-CEO Tanya Snyder take over day-to-day operations. This was a joke of punishment then, and it continues to be a slap in the face to the victims and everyone who has been affected over the last two decades. Emails between former GM/Team President Bruce Allen and former Las Vegas Raiders Head Coach Jon Gruden were leaked and led to the latter’s resignation. Gruden has sued the NFL, and other emails have been leaked leading to a call to #ReleaseTheReport.
Congress, and more specifically, the House Oversight Committee smelled blood in the water and headlines to be had with a story involving a cabal of billionaires who are seemingly unregulated, unrepentant, and unethical — a group of 32 owners who employ a commissioner who has their interests at heart and will protect them at all costs, a cartel that makes their own rules, colludes with each other to limit competition, dissension, distraction, and anything else that will affect their bottom line from a seemingly captive audience of fans that have ingrained football as their national sport. The NFL seems to be a pastime that can survive any controversy, or any superstar who gets arrested, as long as there is a more spectacular one in the pipeline, or an amazing playoff weekend that washes away all the dirt.
Back to Congress — another seemingly untouchable organization that survives all criticism, but loves easy wins — they announced their intention to get involved in Washington’s toxic workplace issues last October. Nothing happened. Then they announced that they were demanding the NFL turn over all of their evidence last December. Goodell and the NFL have shown no sign that they are willing to go that far, despite saying they would cooperate.
That brings us to today’s announcement that the House Oversight Committee will be holding a roundtable on February 3rd, 2022, which also happens to be the day after Washington’s big announcement. It is not an official hearing, and no one will be sworn in before speaking to the committee. Committee members will be listening to the stories of former employees of the Washington franchise, and that will (maybe) lead to something down the line. If they do not actually force the NFL to turn over documents and findings from the report that has already been buried, this will just be another headline-grabbing move that does nothing for the alleged victims and fans of a franchise that has been destroyed by an owner who simply does not care. Do better.
The House Oversight Committee continues to keep the bipartisan pressure on the @NFL to #ReleaseTheReport & get to the bottom of Dan Snyder's toxic workplace culture. Roundtable is next Thursday at 10 am the day after the team announces the new name. @OversightDems @GOPoversight pic.twitter.com/z3oHec4KgE— Tom Manatos (@TomManatos) January 27, 2022
Here's what I know about this: Several former employees have been invited to speak about their experience working for the team. It's technically not a hearing as no one will be sworn in, but it moves the ball forward in the House's investigation of the NFL. https://t.co/dKZSHxxXlq— Matthew Paras (@Matthew_Paras) January 27, 2022
The House Oversight Committee announced that next Thu., one day after the Washington Football Team announces its new name, it'll host a roundtable called "Examining the Washington Football Team’s Toxic Workplace Culture."— Sam Fortier (@Sam4TR) January 27, 2022
Roundtable will be live-streamed: https://t.co/MnyLNUOya1
Rep. Krishnamoorthi: “Our investigation will continue until the perpetrators of sexual harassment are held accountable. No person deserves to be harassed or abused at work, and this Committee will do everything in its power to protect employees at the WFT and beyond.”— Matthew Paras (@Matthew_Paras) January 27, 2022