The New York Democrat said Snyder sent private investigators to the homes of former cheerleaders, “offered hush money to buy their silence,” prepared a “dossier” with releases from journalists, attorneys and former employees who accused and attempted harassment of the team to blame former team president Bruce Allen for the team’s troubles.
“The NFL was aware of his actions but couldn’t stop him,” Maloney said.
Snyder declined to testify at the hearing, but Maloney announced that she intended to issue a subpoena next week to compel his testimony. A Snyder spokesman said the hearing was “little more than a politically charged show trial, not about uncovering the truth.”
“It is clear that the outcome of the House Oversight Committee’s investigation into the Washington Commanders was predetermined from the outset,” Snyder’s spokesman said.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell testified before the panel Wednesday, saying the commanders’ culture was “not only unprofessional, it’s been toxic for far too long.”
“I realize that the Washington workplace was unprofessional and unacceptable on a number of levels: bullying, widespread disrespect towards colleagues, use of demeaning language, public embarrassment and harassment,” Goodell said. “Also, for an extended period of time, the commanders had a woefully deficient personnel function, particularly in relation to reporting practices and record-keeping.”
But Goodell claimed that the commanders’ workplace had changed for the better and that Snyder was “subjecting to unprecedented discipline,” including the fine. He said that Snyder had not attended league or committee meetings for the past year, and he noted that the Commanders “established an entirely new, highly qualified and diverse management team and combined their cheerleading program and leadership with a coed dance team” revised”. In 2020, the Commanders hired Ron Rivera as their head football coach and Jason Wright as their team president.
Goodell also said the team did not receive a written report from Wilkinson to protect the confidentiality of those who participated in the internal investigation, but could release a “summary of key findings” in the future “if appropriate.” Illinois Democratic Assemblyman Raja Krishnamoorthi suggested the NFL could release a detailed report with redacted names if necessary.
Republicans said Wednesday the House Oversight Committee should have instead focused its time on more important national issues — like rising consumer prices, the baby formula shortage, record illegal border crossings, fentanyl overdoses or the tanking stock market — and focused on the Investigation of the federal government and not the private sector. Maloney said the committee had the power to investigate “anything and everything,” which prompted at least one Republican member to say they would remember next year if the GOP is given preference to retake the House.
“This committee is failing the American people,” said Kentucky Rep. Jim Comer, the top Republican on the panel.
Maloney disagreed, noting that attorneys general in six states had communicated to the NFL in April their “serious concerns” about allegations of workplace harassment against women and minorities and that the NFL had opened a new investigation based on the committee’s work .
The NFL hired former Securities and Exchange Commission Chairwoman Mary Jo White to investigate an allegation of sexual harassment against Snyder by former employee Tiffani Johnston, a former cheerleader and marketing manager for the team. Johnston told the congressional committee that at a working lunch, the Commanders owner put his hand on her leg under the table and tried to persuade her to get into his limousine. Snyder has denied Johnston’s allegations.
“Some have argued that protecting women is not worth this committee’s time. I strongly disagree,” Maloney said. “For more than two decades, Dan Snyder refused to protect the women who worked for him from the toxic culture he created. The NFL has also failed to protect these women. Now I believe it’s up to Congress to protect her and millions more like her.”
Maloney said she introduced two bills to “ensure employers like Dan Snyder can’t abuse non-disclosure agreements to silence employees — and can’t film their employees” and use the footage without her consent. Goodell said he supports the bills’ intent.
“We certainly support it conceptually and would love to work with your staff,” Goodell said.
Snyder had been invited to appear before the panel on Wednesday but was out of the country, according to Maloney.
“We also invited Daniel Snyder to testify today. But instead of showing up and taking responsibility for his actions, he chose to leave town,” Maloney said. “Apparently Mr. Snyder is in France, where he has docked his luxury yacht near a holiday resort. That should show you how much respect he has for women in the workplace.”
Snyder’s attorney, Karen Patton Seymour, said the commanders’ owner was willing to cooperate, but the committee was not “willing to consider changing the hearing date,” according to the four-page letter seen by CNN.
“The committee also stated that it is not prepared to consider changing the hearing date, even though Mr. Snyder has a long-standing business dispute involving Commanders and is out of the country on the first and only date the committee has proposed for.” the hearing,” the letter said. “The committee instead insisted on a yes-or-no answer from Mr. Snyder as to whether he would appear at the hearing at the appointed time.”
When asked by Maloney what “specific steps” the NFL would take to hold Snyder responsible for his failure to testify, Goodell said, “I am not responsible for his appearing before Congress. That’s not my choice. That is his choice.”
Correction: An earlier version of this story gave the wrong day for remarks by House Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney. It was Wednesday.