Roger Goodell defends COs investigation, but not Snyder

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell backed the league’s investigation into allegations of workplace misconduct at the Washington Commanding O...

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell backed the league’s investigation into allegations of workplace misconduct at the Washington Commanding Officers organization during a congressional hearing on Wednesday, though it was contested by House members over the NFL’s decision not to require a written report of the findings or come down harder on Commanders owner Daniel Snyder.

Hours after the House Committee on Oversight and Reform released a memo saying Snyder had interfered with the investigation, Goodell said he believed Snyder had been held accountable by the league’s assessment of a $10 million fine in the team and that Snyder is stepping away from day-to-day team operations over the past year.

While Goodell praised the commanders for transforming their organization’s culture as a result of the investigation, including an overhaul of their human resources practices, he also said he hadn’t seen another workplace in the NFL “close” to what former employees claimed to have experienced with commanders over a period from 2006 to 2019.

Snyder did not appear at Wednesday’s hearing. Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, Democrat of New York and chair of the committee, said she would subpoena Snyder for deposition next week.

Goodell testified under oath for more than two hours before the committee, which conducted an eight-month investigation into how commanders and the NFL handled allegations of rampant sexual harassment by female team employees. In a memo released Wednesday morning, Maloney detailed the committee’s findings, including that Snyder sought to interfere with the league’s investigation of his organization by ordering the intimidation of witnesses and launching a “parallel investigation” that produced a 100-page dossier of those who had shared allegations of harassment against commanders.

Goodell said the league would find unacceptable and “not allow” any action that would discourage people with knowledge of violations from coming forward. He added that in August 2020, as the NFL resumed the investigation that had begun under the supervision of commanders, the league told the team not to conduct its own investigation.

Throughout his testimony, Goodell reiterated his defense of the league’s approach, even in the face of questions from members of Congress who buried themselves in the NFL’s handling of serious allegations of workplace violations, particularly its decision to keep the findings of the investigation confidential.

Rep. Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland, pushed back against Goodell’s claim that a written report could not be prepared and released for this investigation out of concern for the confidentiality of some of those interviewed. Raskin referenced the NFL 148-page report released in 2014 regarding the Miami Dolphins bullying scandal in which the names and identifying information of participating witnesses were redacted, and asked the commissioner why the same was not done with the league report led by attorney Beth Wilkinson.

“Copywriting doesn’t always work in my world,” Goodell said.

Later, Rep. Jackie Speier, Democrat of California, read a September 2020 engagement letter in which the NFL appeared to commit to having Wilkinson produce a written report on the findings of the investigation. Goodell said the league decided a month later that the report would only be delivered orally, an approach that was criticized by many interviewees in the league’s investigation.

Goodell hasn’t gone out of his way to defend Snyder, who declined two requests to appear at Wednesday’s hearing, citing a long-standing “Commanders-related business dispute.” The commissioner claimed that as team owner, Snyder was responsible for his club’s work environment and said he did not believe Snyder told the league office that an employee of the team had accused Snyder of harassing and sexually assaulting her in 2009 before she hit $1.6 million. confidential settlement, as reported by the Washington Post.

At one point, when Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Democrat of Michigan, asked Goodell if he wanted to remove Snyder as team owner, he was initially hesitant, but then responded when she repeated her question: “I don’t have the power to withdraw it. “, Goodell said.

While Goodell can’t unilaterally remove Snyder, he could recommend that other league owners do so. Such a move would require a vote from at least 24 of the league’s 32 member clubs, and Snyder is expected to vigorously fight such an effort.

But two senior executives from other teams said Snyder’s co-owners and other top executives had grown impatient to respond to a constant barrage of unflattering news about commanders. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity as the matters are still under investigation. One of the team’s officials said the NFL team owners plan to discuss the Second League investigation – which is examining a new sexual harassment allegation against Snyder as good as financial malfeasance claims by the organization – once it is completed.

Several Republican members of Congress disagreed with the committee’s decision to focus on the work culture of an NFL team. Maloney responded that a primary goal of holding the hearing was to strengthen workplace protections for all employees and proposed two new pieces of legislation, one that would prohibit the use of non-disclosure agreements, or NDAs, to cover up malpractice and would require employers conducting investigations to share the outcome with victims.

Goodell said the NFL would work with lawmakers on such legislation, although the league has not ordered teams not to use such agreements, but instead said NDAs cannot be used to prevent employees to participate in a league survey.

Ken Belson contributed report.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Roger Goodell defends COs investigation, but not Snyder
Roger Goodell defends COs investigation, but not Snyder
Newsrust - US Top News
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