NFL Commissioner Rodger Goodell will be virtually present at the House Committee on Oversight & Reform hearing today. His appearance will be available live on YouTube.
The Commissioner’s office has already released his lengthy statement, which he will apparently read to the committee at the start of his appearance.
Washington Commanders owner, Dan Snyder, as has been widely reported, did not accept the Committee’s invitation to attend the hearing and answer questions, either in person or via video link. Snyder’s lawyer cited a previous international commitment that interfered with the 22 June hearing date.
The Washington Post, which has kept up steady pressure on Dan Snyder for years with a series of articles about the ‘toxic workplace’ in Ashburn under Snyder’s leadership, has continued to publish damning articles in recent days.
New: Daniel Snyder and his representatives conducted a "shadow investigation," created a dossier and tried to blame workplace issues on Bruce Allen, according to the House Oversight Committee's investigation. From @lizclarketweet, @NickiJhabvala and me.... https://t.co/cNdi6KMTP3— MarkMaske (@MarkMaske) June 22, 2022
NEW from @TheWillHobson: A former Washington NFL employee accused Daniel Snyder in April 2009 of asking her for sex, groping her and attempting to remove her clothes, according to a letter sent by an attorney for the team to the woman’s lawyer that year.https://t.co/EBmgtD7mwc— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) June 21, 2022
The investigation was overseen by the team's former counsel, David Donovan, and not the NFL, whose 2009 personal conduct policy stipulated it must oversee probes into sexual assault allegations.— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) June 21, 2022
Snyder and the Commanders are currently the subjects of an NFL investigation headed by Mary Jo White, who, among other things, led the league’s investigation into then-Panthers owner Jerry Richardson in 2018.
Of course, the league wrapped up an earlier investigation into the Commanders just last year — one that was headed by attorney Beth Wilkinson — that resulted a $10m fine levied against the franchise. The league was roundly criticized for not releasing the Wilkinson report, though Commissioner Goodell said that, in order to protect the confidentiality of the victims, the league neither requested nor received a report. Instead, a relatively short summary of the investigation’s findings was released.
The current congressional oversight committee investigation was largely triggered by dissatisfaction with the transparency and outcome of that league investigation.
The situation for the Commanders and for Dan Snyder is complicated by the impending end to its 30-year lease of FedEx Field in Landover Maryland. Snyder actually owns the stadium, so there are no effective barriers to stop the team from continuing to use the stadium beyond the expiration of the lease in 2027, but it is an aging structure that is far out of step with the modern NFL. The franchise and its owner have been working for many years to secure land and funding for a new stadium, but the string of negative news, falling attendance numbers and a deteriorating fan base have combined to undermine political support for public funding.
Dan Snyder has become increasingly unpopular over the past two decades among the team’s fans, many of which are openly agitating for him to sell the team, either voluntarily (which is terribly unlikely) or by being forced to do so by the other 31 owners (only slightly less unlikely). The current congressional investigation seems to be putting Dan Snyder in a very public and uncomfortable space, but it will probably take massive financial leverage similar to that used to force the name change announced in July 2020 to force Snyder to sell the team.
It will be interesting to see what the next move is in the ongoing pressure politics being practiced in relation to the Commanders and the NFL following today’s appearance by the Commissioner.
Dan Snyder’s spokesperson issues a statement slamming the committee and their investigation: