Shoe number two just dropped. It is not surprising that it dropped; it is a bit surprising what a thud it produced. I refer to the Washington Football Team – the WTFs – and the revelations of the disgusting workplace conditions there for female employees and interns. Let me do a quick reset here:
- About a month ago, the Washington Post exposed a “toxic culture” within the team organization for women. Seventeen former employees told a variety of stories of sexual harassment and sleazy working conditions.
- The team did not deny those reports. Two people in the scouting department were fired; the radio/TV voice of the team “retired” the day before the story broke; the team hired an outside law firm to “investigate” and recommend ways to change the culture.
- Importantly at the time, none of the allegations involved players, coaches or team owner, Daniel Snyder.
Yesterday, new allegations were reported. An additional twenty-five women have come forward with stories of their own. The previous allegations were sleazy and slimy; the current ones are substantially worse. Moreover, the new allegations do involve team owner, Daniel Snyder.
There are two of the new allegations that I find more repugnant that the others:
- Allegedly, Daniel Snyder suggested to one of the team’s former cheerleaders that she should go to a hotel room so that she and the team ophthalmologist – a longtime friend of Snyder’s – could get to know one another better.
- Allegedly, there were “secret videos” taken at a photo shoot for the team’s cheerleader calendar about 10 years ago that focused on naked body parts for the cheerleaders. Then, the team’s senior VP for Communications had a video created that contained all the “good bits”. The allegation goes on to say that the creation of the video was intended to go to Daniel Snyder. [The Washington Post has a copy of that video which the former VP for Communications says does not exist.]
Here is the link to the report in the Washington Post; it will add to the two points above and introduce more slime to the story. I encourage you to take the time to read this reporting; it is impressive reporting; if only half of it is provable, the situation inside team HQs for the past two decades has been outrageous.
After you finish reading that report, get yourself a cup of coffee and follow this link to read what Sally Jenkins wrote in the Post regarding these latest revelations. Here is the opening sentence from her column; it is not a mystery what her vector heading is:
“This is what the NFL gets for not scraping Daniel Snyder off its shoe before now.”
When the first exposé hit the streets, many frustrated Washington fans thought that this would force Snyder to sell the team – – a condition that many fans here have wished for over the last decade and a half. I said then that without any direct link to Snyder, the league would not be likely to force a sale even with the precedent of Jerry Richardson and the Carolina Panthers on the books. Given the second shoe that dropped this week, that dynamic could change dramatically. If it turns out that these new allegations can be proven, the reaction to date from the NFL via Roger Goodell will be insufficient. Here is how Goodell described the new allegations in a statement yesterday:
“… unprofessional, disturbing and abhorrent…”
Ever since these rants have begun to appear on the Internet almost 20 years ago, I have had little good to say about Danny Boy Snyder. However, until now, my “problems” with him have dealt with his hubris related to his knowledge of football and his entitlement and his perception of his exalted social stature. Hubris is an annoying characteristic and it is not difficult to be averse to someone exhibiting hubris. The allegations from earlier this week, however, make hubris look like the perfect way to make friends and influence people. [Hat Tip to Dale Carnegie there.]
I find behavior that nudges up against “pimping out one of your employees to a friend” a lot more revolting than hubris. I find the existence of a video that smacks of “Peeping Tom” a lot more revolting than hubris. If the outside law firm investigating workplace conditions for the team corroborates these allegations, then I think Sally Jenkins is spot on in her description that the NFL will have to scrape Daniel Snyder off its shoe. Stay tuned; this story is not going away quietly…
Lost in the much bigger NBA news related to the player walkout is a tidbit that would normally have sent a lot of reporters scurrying for inside info. After being swept in the opening round of the NBA playoffs, the Indiana Pacers fired coach Nate McMillan. No big deal, you say; that happened to Brett Brown in Philly too. Here is the kicker:
- Two weeks ago, the Indiana Pacers gave McMillan a one-year contract extension.
Nate McMillan has been the head coach in Indiana for four seasons; his teams have made the playoffs in each of those four seasons. His overall record in Indiana is 183 – 136. That is a winning percentage of .574 and all four of his teams had winning records during his regime. Two weeks ago, he was worthy of a contract extension through the end of the 2021/2022 season; and then, earlier this week he was fired. I do not pretend to know how all that squares up, and I have no place to send you for an explanation right now because that story has been buried by the player walkout. C’est la vie…
Finally, the events of the last couple of days – player walkouts, sleazy allegations about the Washington Football Team and the strange firing of a coach – made me stop and think about what might be next. That reminded me of an observation by the French philosopher, Paul Valery, that I came across while fulfilling my foreign language requirement in my sophomore year in college:
“The trouble with our times is that the future is not what it used to be.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………