D.C. plaintiff Dan Snyder, the Commanders, the NFL and Roger Goodell

The District of Columbia filed a lawsuit against Dan Snyder, the Washington Commanders, the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell, DC Attorney General Karl Racine announced at a press conference Thursday.

“We are here today to talk about Washington commanders,” Racine said in her keynote address. “For years, the team and its owner have caused very real and very serious damage and then lied about it to evade liability and continue to take profits.”

“So far, it looks like they’ve gotten away with it, but that stops today,” Racine said. “Today we are filing a consumer protection lawsuit, a civil lawsuit, against Dan Snyder, the Washington Commanders, the National Football League and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for collusion to deceive District of Columbia residents about their investigation. in a toxic workplace culture that has impacted employees, particularly women.

“All this deception was done to protect their profits and their image. With this lawsuit, we defend Washington residents who have been repeatedly lied to and deceived. They have the right to know the truth about the companies they support with their earned dollars. The commanders, Mr. Snyder, the National Football League and Roger Goodell have deprived them of this right. “

Racine said her office has “carefully and thoroughly investigated” Washington commanders and Snyder since the fall of 2021 for allegations of “sexual harassment and misconduct in the workplace and the circumstances surrounding the so-called” investigation. independent “of the NFL on these allegations.”

“We interviewed numerous witnesses, including former team employees who witnessed and experienced the conduct in question,” Racine said. “We have reviewed thousands of internal documents produced by commanders and the National Football League, including emails. What we have found, what the evidence has overwhelmingly established, what we will prove in court, are obvious wrongdoing and violations of rights. of consumers of DC residents. They the defendants lied about what they knew and then lied about what they would do about it, all in the service of image protection and profit. “

“First, we argue that Mr. Snyder lied to DC consumers when he denied knowing anything, nothing about allegations of a hostile workplace and sexual harassment culture,” Racine said. “Indeed, the evidence shows that Mr. Snyder was not only aware of the toxic culture within his organization, but he encouraged and participated in it. Mr. Snyder exercised a high level of personal control over everything the commanders did. and his misconduct has given others permission to treat women in the same humiliating way. “

Racine has repeatedly accused Snyder of misleading the public about Beth Wilkinson’s investigation into commanders’ workplace culture, which led the NFL to publish an oral report on Wilkinson’s findings. Racine also accused the league of colluding with Snyder to keep those results under wraps.

“Mr. Snyder dictated everything from where the photos of the cheerleaders were used in an annual swimwear calendar to how revealing the uniforms would be,” Racine said. “He ordered his employees to create voyeuristic videos of cheerleaders partially dressed from the calendar shoot, from footage the cheerleaders had no idea even existed. When Mr. Snyder was told of allegations of male executives and employees making comments and Unwanted sexual advances towards other employees, he was often contemptuous. And you know the trick: he repeatedly blamed the victims. “

“For example,” continued Racine, “when a longtime commanders TV station was caught making inappropriate sexual comments, that’s Mr. [Larry] Michael, about a commanders intern, Mr. Snyder shrugged. off him, calling man a ‘treasure who would’ do no harm to anyone. ‘

“In another incident, Mr. Snyder directed the firing of a cheerleader who reported sexual misconduct by a player in order to minimize player distractions. There were no consequences of any kind for the player. that he would have acted inappropriately. Despite all the evidence in Mr. Snyder’s Knowledge and Participation in Hostile Culture in the Workplace, when news broke, Mr. Snyder falsely claimed that he knew nothing. He did so to isolate himself from consequences, protect its image and protect its profit “.

“Mr. Snyder has made public statements saying he is unaware of these allegations until they surfaced in the media,” Racine said. “He also claimed he was ‘too unmoved’ as an owner and allowed others to have day-to-day control of the team.

“These attempts to divert attention from himself and blame others do not stand the test of control. They are false claims designed to mislead fans that Mr. Snyder needs to continue making profits and continue to burn and imagine that he was not. balanced by the facts “.

“Second, we argue that the National Football League and its commissioner, Roger Goodell, Mr. Snyder, and the commanders misled the public as to what was being done to address the harassment allegations and the toxic culture the commanders maintained.” he said . “They did all of this to hide the truth, protect their images and let the profits keep rolling.”

Racine said that while Snyder and the commanders publicly denied their involvement, Goodell and the league were working to hide the allegations under the carpet in the interest of keeping profits.

“In fact, the commanders and the National Football League secretly entered into an investigation deal that the public was unaware of,” Racine said. “The public was unaware of the deal that the National Football League and Dan Snyder made on the so-called ‘independent investigation.’ This deal allowed them to share information about the investigation with Mr. Snyder and gave him the keys to determine what he could do. and what could not be shared with the public “.

“Also,” he added, “the National Football League turned a blind eye to the investigation into Mr. Snyder’s attempts to prevent victims and witnesses from speaking to investigators. The NFL even ignored Mr. Snyder’s attempts to buy the silence from victims and witnesses. through additional agreements and, of course, nondisclosure agreements. When the 10-month investigation was completed, the National Football League effectively buried the findings. Fans received a whopping seven convictions, mostly reiterating what they already knew “.

Racine said the public was led to believe Snyder would not interfere with the investigation. “He did,” Racine said.

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