Congress seeks information from NFL on WFT investigation
By JOSH DUBOW
A Congressional committee is seeking documents and information from the NFL regarding the investigation into the Washington Football Team and how the league handled it.
The House Committee on Oversight and Reform said Thursday it sent a letter to Commissioner Roger Goodell requesting by Nov. 4 all documents and communication about the probe into the workplace culture at the Washington Football Team.
"We have serious concerns about what appears to be widespread abusive workplace conduct at the WFT and about the NFL's handling of this matter," U.S. Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, wrote in the letter to the commissioner.
"Communications between league management and WFT leadership also raise questions about the league's asserted impartiality in these investigations."
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league has received the letter and shares the committee's "concern that all workplaces should be free from any form of harassment and discrimination. We look forward to speaking to her office soon."
The Washington Football Team hired lawyer Beth Wilkinson in the summer of 2020 to look into allegations of sexual harassment and other improper conduct within the organization. The league later took over that investigation and fined the team $10 million in July and said the culture at the club was "toxic" and ownership and senior officials paid little attention to sexual harassment and other workplace issues.
Owner Dan Snyder has stepped away from day-to-day operations, but there was no written report on Wilkinson's inquiry.
"The NFL's lack of transparency about the problems it recently uncovered raise questions about the seriousness with which it has addressed bigotry, racism, sexism, and homophobia - setting troubling precedent for other workplaces," the letter said.
Earlier this month, emails gathered in relation to that investigation revealed racist, homophobic and misogynistic language from former Raiders coach Jon Gruden to Washington team President Bruce Allen when Gruden was an announcer at ESPN.
Gruden resigned as coach of the Raiders on Oct. 11 and lawyers representing 40 former employees of the Washington Football Team urged the league to immediately release the full findings of the investigation.
The NFL has refused but the committee is now asking for that information, as well as any reports about the investigation, details on top league counsel Jeff Pash's role in the investigation, who from the league oversaw Wilkinson's investigation and why there wasn't a written report.
The New York Times reported that Pash and Allen exchanged numerous emails on topics ranging from jokes on the league's diversity initiatives, cutting player salaries and reducing a fine from the NFL.
The league has called those emails "appropriate" as part of conversations between the league and teams.
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Updated October 21, 2021