The attorneys for 12 former Washington Football Team employees are demanding that the NFL launch its own independent investigation of misconduct claims within the team.
In a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell — who on Wednesday issued a statement “strongly condemning the unprofessional, disturbing and abhorrent behavior and workplace environment” alleged in a recent Washington Post report — the lawyers called the NFL’s action to monitor the progress of the team’s investigation “too little and too late.”
The investigation, according to law firm Katz, Marshall & Banks, is being conducted by a law firm that was “hand-picked” by the Washington Football Team and not the NFL.
The lawyers for the former employees said that their clients would gladly participate in an NFL investigation, but they do not feel safe speaking to investigators hired by team owner Dan Snyder, and do not trust the investigation that is currently underway.
“Indeed, our clients live in fear of further retaliation by Mr. Snyder, as he has repeatedly demonstrated his propensity to weaponize the legal system to punish accusers and intimidate others from coming forward,” the letter said.
They also want the NFL to take action toward removing Snyder as the majority owner if its investigation finds that what was reported by The Washington Post is substantiated.
Snyder, in a statement Wednesday, called the most recent story a “hit job,” and while admitting that he had been “hands-off as an owner,” he denied the allegations made in the story.
Under 8.13 of the NFL bylaws, the league and team owners can attempt to force the sale of a franchise “if an owner is deemed to have engaged in conduct detrimental to the welfare of the league,” The Washington Post reported.
The team addressed the allegations in a statement Wednesday night.
“We are deeply distressed by these terrible allegations and are committed to investigating them fully,” the team said. “Our priority is creating a culture where our employees — on and off the field — are respected and empowered.”
Another thing the lawyers demanded was for the NFL to require the Washington Football Team to release employees from nondisclosure agreements.
“The NFL should not abide practices that allow employees to be muzzled, unable to detail the long-standing abuse by this organization. Without full transparency there cannot be accountability,” the letter said.