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Congressional Panel Asks NFL Officials to Testify About Washington Commanders

June 1, 2022 by Tom Ramstack
Congressional Panel Asks NFL Officials to Testify About Washington Commanders
Dan Snyder, co-owner and co-CEO of the Washington Commanders, poses for photos during an event to unveil the NFL football team's new identity, Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

WASHINGTON — A congressional committee wants Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder and National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell to testify about allegations of impropriety against the team.

An Oversight and Reform subcommittee is investigating reports of a hostile work environment and financial misdeeds.

Lawmakers who scheduled the hearing for June 22 announced Wednesday they sent letters to Snyder and Goodell requesting their testimony.

They said they want to ask the men about “the NFL’s role in setting and enforcing standards across the league, and legislative reforms needed to address these issues across the NFL and other workplaces.”

The Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy started investigating the Washington football team in October after news reports revealed allegations of widespread sexual harassment, threats and financial improprieties.

The inclusion of Goodell in the ongoing inquiry indicates lawmakers are expanding their investigation beyond the Commanders to include the entire football league. The NFL commissioner gave no indication he would try to avoid testifying.

Goodell oversaw a $10 million fine the NFL imposed on the Commanders last June after its own investigation.

As part of the congressional investigation, former team marketing and events coordinator Tiffani Johnston told lawmakers during a roundtable discussion that Snyder touched her without her consent 13 years ago during a work-related dinner.

A separate sexual misconduct allegation against Snyder led to a $1.6 million settlement for the woman who accused him.

In addition, a former bookkeeper for the team said the Commanders failed to refund security deposits to fans who bought season tickets, concealed revenue from the NFL that it was supposed to share with other teams and kept two sets of financial books to hide some transactions.

The team and Snyder deny allegations of sexual harassment and financial wrongdoing. Snyder has owned the franchise since 1999.

A statement Wednesday from Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., chairwoman of the Oversight and Reform Committee, implied Congress is taking its review far beyond the Commanders.

“Since we launched our investigation in October, the committee’s goal has been to uncover the truth about the culture of harassment and abuse at the Washington Commanders, to hold accountable those responsible, and to better protect workers across the country,” Maloney said.

So far, their efforts have been “met with obstruction from the Commanders and the NFL at every turn,” Maloney said.

She added, “The hearing will explore how Congress can act to prevent employers from silencing victims of workplace misconduct and ensure that what happened at the Commanders organization does not happen again.”

If Snyder or Goodell refuse to comply with the request for the testimony on June 22, the committee still could use subpoenas to compel their response.

Tom can be reached at tom@thewellnews.com and @TomRamstack

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