The U.S. House Oversight Committee has set a deadline of next Thursday for the National Football League to hand over records about the Washington Football Team as the congressional committee investigates how the league handled allegations of the team’s “hostile workplace culture.”
The Washington Football Team hired lawyer Beth Wilkinson in the summer of 2020 to look into allegations of verbal abuse, sexual harassment and reports that the team tried to silence female employees. The league later took over that investigation and fined the team $10 million in July and said the culture at the club was “toxic” and ownership and senior officials paid little attention to sexual harassment and other workplace issues.
Democrats on the House Oversight Committee said the league has been “vague” about its findings, did not issue a and that it took no further action against owner Dan Snyder beyond the fine. Snyder has stepped away from day-to-day operations.
“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," the letter from the congressional committee said.
In its letter to the NFL, the committee said it expects a series of records from the NFL, including “documents and communications obtained in connection with the investigation,” by Nov. 4.
“We have serious concerns about what appears to be widespread abusive workplace conduct at the Washington Football Team and about the NFL’s handling of this matter. Communications between league management and WFT leadership also raise questions about the league’s asserted impartiality in these investigations,” the letter reads.
One of the democrats on the committee, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, said he hopes the team cooperates voluntarily.
“We do have tools at our disposal to compel the production of documents as well as live testimony. And in this particular situation, which is a very serious one, involving potentially sexual harassment against dozens of former females employees of the Washington Football Team, we need to get to the bottom of what happened,” Krishnamoorthi said.
The team declined News4’s request for comment Monday.
An NFL spokesman said the league “received [U.S. House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney’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 their office soon.”