Oversight Committee Concerns NFL Inquiry into Workplace Culture a Day After Hearing New Allegations Against Team Owner Dan Snyder

Oversight Committee Concerns NFL Inquiry into Workplace Culture a Day After Hearing New Allegations Against Team Owner Dan Snyder

(CNN) Former employees of the NFL’s Washington command and cheerleaders on Capitol Hill detailed their allegations against owner Dan Snyder on Thursday, including asking the staff to make lewd video clips of the cheerleaders without their knowledge or consent, as well as making a new allegation of unwanted sexual touching.

At a House Oversight Committee roundtable, Tiffani Johnston, a former cheerleader and marketing and events coordinator, accused Snyder of placing his hand on her thigh during dinner and later aggressively pushing her toward his limousine with his hands on her lower back when she fended off advances. new statement.

The former video production executive claimed that he was asked to produce a lewd video featuring nude cheerleaders from a photo shoot at Snyder’s request.

Snyder’s attorney, Jordan Siev, said the allegations, first made this week, are “false and have been categorically denied by Mr. Snyder.”

A House committee said Friday it had requested more than 2,000 previously unreleased documents because of “new concerns” about the NFL’s own investigation into Snyder in 2020.

Many of the previous allegations were first detailed in 2020 by The Washington Post, which also reported that the team paid a former employee $1.6 million in 2009 to settle a sexual misconduct lawsuit against Snyder, though neither Snyder nor the team admitted any wrongdoing. to an agreement.

Several former female employees allege that Snyder created a toxic environment of abuse and sexual harassment for years, where female employees were forced to wear skimpy clothing and faced lewd comments and unwanted advances.

“Dan Snyder rules by fear,” former team marketing director Melanie Coburn told the panel.

Snyder responded to the allegations in a statement Thursday.

“While past conduct within the team was unacceptable, the allegations made against me in today’s roundtable – many of which are well over 13 years old – are outright falsehoods. I unequivocally deny that I have engaged in such conduct at any time towards any individual.

“Tanya and I will not be deterred by those with a contrary agenda from continuing the positive personnel and cultural changes that have been made to the team over the past 18 months, and those we will continue to make both on and off the court,” Snyder said, referring to his wife. who was named team co-captain last year.

Lisa Banks and Debra Katz, attorneys who represented the six witnesses and more than 40 former employees, said in a statement Thursday that the testimony is “an important first step in holding the Washington football team and workplaces across the country accountable for mistreatment of female employees.”

NFL’s 2020 investigation under scrutiny

NFL's 2020 investigation under scrutiny

In 2020, the NFL conducted a year-long investigation into the Washington franchise’s work environment and fined Snyder $10 million last July. On the same subject : Lights out for Cowboys cheerleading show after 16 seasons on CMT.

The investigation concluded that Snyder was responsible for the club’s unprofessional and intimidating culture and that he failed to create a respectful work environment. In a statement at the time, Snyder said the work culture was not what it should be and said he felt “deep regret for the people who had difficult, even traumatic, experiences working here.”

But the league never released the full results of the investigation. Several accusers have called for the full report to be made public, calling the lack of transparency a “cover-up”.

In a letter Friday from the House Oversight and Reform Committee to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, it demanded that the league cooperate with the committee’s investigation and release all of the results of its internal investigation.

The move came after documents obtained by the committee raised “new concerns about the independence of the NFL’s investigation,” according to a news release.

The committee is asking for additional documents by Feb. 14 and said if the league doesn’t comply, the committee will consider alternative ways to achieve compliance.

An NFL spokesman confirmed Friday that the league received the letter and is reviewing it. A spokesman said the league has cooperated with the committee, sharing “nearly 80,000 pages of documents” and making others available for review and to answer questions.

“The commission has requested many documents that are clearly protected by attorney-client privilege or are the product of legal work,” the spokesman said. “The league, not the team, owns and determines what information it is capable of producing.”

Siev, Snyder’s attorney, said neither Snyder nor the team had ever done anything to prevent the commission from obtaining documents “not expressly protected by the attorney-client privilege or by law work product.”

In a statement Thursday, attorneys Banks and Katz again urged the league to release the report, saying the staff participated in the investigation “with the belief that the findings will be made public” and “will lead to change.”

“By keeping the investigation under wraps, the NFL and WFT (Washington Football Club) are attempting to silence these witnesses and avoid accountability,” the statement added. “It’s time for Congress to demand transparency and accountability.”

Correction: This story has been updated to correct some of the allegations against Snyder. Ms Johnston accused him of using his hand on her lower back to aggressively push her towards his limousine.

CNN’s David Close contributed to this report.

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