Following Congress hearing, Ron Rivera defends Commanders’ culture changes

Following hearing, Rivera defends Commanders’ culture changes originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Ron Rivera commended the Commanders’ efforts to change their culture since the start of his tenure as head coach, releasing a statement Wednesday after the House of Representative’s Committee on Oversight and Reform held a hearing to share the results of its investigation into the team’s alleged toxic workplace environment under owner Dan Snyder.

“With all due respect to the proceedings, I want to clarify a few things,” Rivera said in a statement attached to a tweet.

“When Dan & Tanya Snyder were in the process of hiring me they asked me to do two things. WIN! And help us change our Culture. So to be clear, on January 2, 2020, the day I was hired, we started putting into place tangible protocols in our efforts to correct any inappropriate workplace issues and improve our workplace environment.”

The Oversight Committee released a 29-page memo that detailed accusations of Dan Snyder “creating a hostile work environment at the Commanders” and conducting a “shadow investigation” aimed at manipulating the NFL’s investigation into the alleged misconduct. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) announced intent to subpoena the absent Snyder for a deposition next week.

Rivera went on to defend the hiring of Jason Wright as team president, adding that team didn’t hire the first African-American team president in NFL history “because he checked off a box as a minority” but rather due to his experience as a former player, education background and work with the global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company.

The NFL’s 10-month investigation headed by attorney Beth Wilkinson resulted in both a $10 million fine for the franchise and the removal of Dan Snyder from day-to-day operations. Wilkinson’s probe determined that female employees were sexually harassed while bullying and intimidation were rampant. No written report was ever released by the NFL on its findings, an issue the Oversight Committee pressed Commissioner Roger Goodell on in the hearing.

Nearly a year after the punishments were handed down, Rivera stressed that the team had been working to eliminate the once-prevalent inappropriate conduct since his hiring.

“When the Wilkinson report was completed in the spring of 2021 on behalf of the NFL, our organization had already put into place or was in the process of implementing the suggestions mentioned in the report,” Rivera said.

“These investigations into inappropriate workplace issues pre-dates my employment. I can not change the past, but I would hope that our fans, the NFL and Congress can see that we are doing everything in our power to never repeat those workplace issues.  And know that our employees are respected, valued and can be heard.”

This article was written by WTOP’s news partner, NBC Sports Washington. Sign up for NBC Sports Washington’s free email subscription today.

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