Nasty Stuff Today …

The toxic workplace scandal involving the Washington Commanders achieved a new level of smarminess yesterday.  With the Congressional Oversight and Reform Committee ready to question Roger Goodell under oath later in the day, the Washington Post dropped another extensive report on the activities taken on behalf of Daniel Snyder to intimidate witnesses and to silence them.  This is a lengthy report, and it contains within it a 29-page memorandum prepared by the Congressional Committee outlining many of its findings to date.  The Post’s reporting is an ugly story – – but it has plenty of underlying support.  If you have the time, you can read it here.

The NFL comes off looking less than honorable in the Wilkinson investigation because its behavior(s) clearly fall on the side of keeping this mess quiet as opposed to finding out what really happened and trying to make sure it does not happen again.  As the NFL was nominally in charge of the Wilkinson investigation, there is evidence that Snyder and lawyers representing him conducted a “shadow investigation” with the intent of either discrediting possible inimical  witnesses and/or intimidating them.  Moreover, there is an assertion by the Committee that Snyder sought to place the blame for everything that took place in the “toxic  workplace” on former team President, Bruce Allen.

Recall that it was a series of email exchanges between Allen and Jon Gruden – then with ESPN – that got Gruden fired as coach of the Raiders.  It seems from the Committee report that Snyder’s lawyers obtained emails from and to Bruce Allen based on subpoenas granted to support Snyder’s lawsuit against a media company in India.  Juxtaposing the attempt to place the blame on Allen for the toxic workplace environment and the mysterious release of the Allen/Gruden email exchanges makes one wonder.

Oh, but it does not end there…  In addition to the article linked above, the Post published a second report yesterday with details on an allegation of sexual assault made against Dan Snyder in 2009 where the accuser received a “seven figure settlement” accompanied by a non-disclosure agreement.

Here is the essence of the accusation according to the Post reporting:

“The woman accused Snyder of asking her for sex, groping her and attempting to remove her clothes, according to a letter sent by an attorney for the team to the woman’s lawyer in 2009. The woman alleged the assault occurred in a private, partitioned area at the back of one of the team’s private planes during a return flight from a work trip to Las Vegas.”

You can read the entirety of this report here.  It is not nearly as lengthy as the one above, but it is not flattering at all to Snyder or the team environment.  Tactics of discreditation and intimidation seem to have been in play when lawyers investigated these charges from 2009.  I am not an expert in these sorts of things, but there do seem to be parallel behaviors at play here as compared to the “shadow investigation” referred to regarding the toxic workplace mess.

Daniel Snyder did not testify yesterday.  He is out of the country and both he and his lawyer(s) say that whatever Snyder was doing yesterday was a “longstanding commitment.”  And the lawyer said that he was also committed to some other matter yesterday.  If that is the case – – at this point, I am not spring loaded to take any statement by Snyder as impeccably true – – it should not be a Herculean task for the Committee and the lawyer and Snyder to find a mutually agreeable date such that the committee can take his testimony.  This “scheduling issue” could become interesting over the next several weeks.  After the hearing concluded yesterday, the Committee said that Daniel Snyder would be served with a subpoena.  The fun never stops…

Meanwhile, in another NFL/sexual assault arena, Deshaun Watson reportedly has settled twenty of the twenty-four existing lawsuits against him.  The attorney who represented the twenty-four women says that he “looks forward to trying these cases in due course consistent with other docket obligations and the court’s schedule.”  Coming up soon on Commissioner Goodell’s calendar is a decision regarding any sort of penalty for Watson for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.  Here is a serious question:

  • If the Commissioner is nominally committed to a non-toxic workplace where women are not objectified or harassed as he certainly sought to be seen by the Committee yesterday, how can he let Watson off with a slap on the wrist here particularly in light of the fact that there are still 4 civil lawsuits out against him and 2 other women who have made accusations of sexual improprieties by Watson – – but those two other women have not filed any legal action to date?

People are appalled to read that Roger Goodell makes something north of $60M per year as the NFL Commissioner.  All I can say is that he will earn a large portion of that compensation dealing with the Daniel Snyder fallout and the Deshaun Watson ongoing saga.  This is a holy mess.

Finally, since today has been about instances where women in the workplace were allegedly not treated properly, let me close with this observation:

“Anyone who believes that men are the equal of women has never seen a man trying to wrap a Christmas present.”

[Guilty as charged…]

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………



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