Sports

Congress seeking info from WFT investigation

Two House Democrats sent a letter Thursday to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, demanding the league provide Congress with the results of the investigation into the Washington Football Team‘s workplace culture.

The five-page letter was written nearly two weeks after leaked emails led to Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden’s resignation. His emails over a seven-year span, sent to then-WFT president Bruce Allen, included racist, anti-gay and misogynistic language.

It also led to renewed calls for the NFL to release the findings of an independent investigation, led by attorney Beth Wilkinson, into Washington’s workplace.

There was no written report after the nearly year-long investigation, and the league has not released all the findings. According to an NFL spokesman, the league is not going to re-open the investigation or release the 650,000 emails it collected.

The letter, sent by Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-New York), who is the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Illinois) asked the league to turn over a number of documents and answer numerous questions involving the investigation by Nov. 4.

They want the NFL to produce “all documents and communications obtained in connection with the investigation into the WFT, its management, its owners, and any other matter relating to or resulting from the WFT investigation.”

They also want the NFL to detail its role in Wilkinson’s investigation and why there was no written report after 150 people had been interviewed. It also raised concerns about non-disclosure agreements that former employees had signed. And it wanted to know the role of the NFL’s general counsel, Jeff Pash, in the investigation. Pash’s close relationship with Allen was revealed in some of the leaked emails on topics that ranged from jokes on the league’s diversity initiatives and rescinding an NFL fine. Allen was fired at the end of the 2019 season.

The two democrats wrote, “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. Communications between league management and WFT leadership also raises questions about the leagues asserted impartiality in these investigations.”

Washington was fined $10 million after the investigation concluded. At that time, owner Dan Snyder’s wife, Tanya, became a co-CEO of the franchise. While Dan Snyder focused on securing a new stadium, Tanya Snyder took over daily operations. Last week, 10 former Washington employees sent a letter to multiple sponsors, including Nike and Amazon, wanting them to press the NFL for detailed findings of the investigation.

The emails from Gruden, when he was employed by ESPN as the lead analyst for Monday Night Football, were sent to Allen’s team account, which is why they were uncovered as part of this investigation — and some were included in court filings in which Snyder wanted to show that Allen was a source of leaking negative information about the team.

The letter states, “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.”

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said via email, “We have received the Chairwoman’s letter and share her concern that all workplaces should be free from any form of harassment and discrimination. We look forward to speaking to her office soon.”

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