Roger Goodell says he has no authority to remove Daniel Snyder as owner of Washington Commanders


Roger Goodell says he has no authority to remove Daniel Snyder as owner of Washington Commanders

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says he has no authority to remove Daniel Snyder as owner of the Washington Commanders amid ongoing scrutiny of the organization’s workplace culture and allegations of pervasive sexual harassment by team leaders by female employees.

Goodell testified before members of Congress Wednesday at a hearing of the House Oversight and Reform Committee. Sometime near the end of the more than two-hour testimony, Goodell was questioned by Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan), who asked if Goodell and the league were “willing to do more” to punish Snyder.

After initially asking if he would recommend Snyder’s removal as the Commanders’ owner, Tlaib then asked Goodell, “Are you going to remove him?”

“I don’t have the authority to remove him, Congressman,” Goodell replied.

An NFL owner can only be removed by a three-quarters (24 out of 32) majority of co-owners, although Goodell has the ability to officially recommend such a vote.

Snyder was invited to testify but declined, citing overseas business obligations and due process concerns. Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-New York) announced during the hearing that she plans to issue a subpoena to compel him to testify.

“The NFL is unwilling or unable to hold Mr. Snyder accountable,” Maloney said. “Therefore, I am now announcing my intention to serve a subpoena for Mr. Snyder for testimony next week.

Goodell told the committee that the team’s culture had changed as a result of an investigation led by attorney Beth Wilkinson and that Snyder “was held accountable.”

After Wilkinson Goodell presented her findings last year, the NFL fined the team $10 million and Snyder retired. However, the league did not release a written report of Wilkinson’s findings, a decision Goodell said was intended to protect the privacy of former employees who spoke to investigators.

After Wednesday’s hearing, commanders sent a letter to team staff — a copy of which was obtained by ESPN — which said, in part, “We believe statements made in the media critical of our organization are not accurately reflected our positive transformation and the current reality of the Washington Commanders organization that exists today.”

The committee released the findings of its eight-month investigation before the hearing began Wednesday, and accused Snyder of conducting its own “shadow investigation” aimed at discrediting former employees, hiring private investigators to intimidate witnesses, and a foreign lawsuit to use as an excuse to obtain phone records and emails.

The 29-page memo alleges Snyder tried to discredit people who accused him and other team leaders of misconduct and also tried to influence an investigation into the team conducted by Wilkinson’s company for the NFL.

Snyder’s attorneys presented the NFL with a 100-slide PowerPoint presentation that “contained private text messages, emails, phone logs and call logs, and social media posts from nearly 50 people who Mr. Snyder appears to believe may be involved in a conspiracy.” were to disparage him. ‘ the committee said.

When asked about the alleged “shadow” investigation, Goodell said, “Any action that would discourage people from coming forward would be inappropriate.”

In a statement, a spokesman for Snyder called the report and hearing “a politically charged show trial” and said Congress should not “investigate an issue raised by a football team years ago.”

Attorneys Lisa Banks and Debra Katz, who represent more than 40 former team members, again urged Goodell to release a report on the Wilkinson investigation, calling it “amazing and disheartening” to hear him say that Snyder was held accountable became.

“Today the committee released a damning report showing that Snyder and his attorneys also monitored and investigated complainants, their attorneys, witnesses and journalists, which Goodell knew about and did nothing about,” Banks and Katz said in a statement.

Maloney has introduced legislation to curb the use of non-disclosure agreements in the workplace and to provide protections for employees whose professional images are being used inappropriately. Among the allegations against the commanders is that team members produced a video containing salacious outtakes from a photo shoot with the cheerleading squad.

Republicans on the committee accused Democrats of pursuing an NFL team to distract from more pressing issues and to exceed the scope of the committee’s mission.

“A core function of this committee is to oversee the executive branch, but throughout this congress, Democrats have turned a blind eye to the Biden administration,” said Kentucky GOP Rep. James Comer, the committee’s senior member. “Instead, the oversight committee is investigating a single private organization for workplace misconduct committed years ago.”

Commanders coach Ron Rivera issued a statement late Wednesday night distancing himself from the team’s past.

“This investigation into inappropriate workplace issues predates my employment,” said Rivera, who was hired in 2020. “I can’t change the past, but I hope our fans, the NFL, and Congress can see that we’re doing all our strength to never repeat these problems in the workplace.” And knowing that our people are respected and valued and can be heard.”

ESPN’s Tisha Thompson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

You May Also Like