District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine filed a consumer protection lawsuit against the Washington Commanders, the NFL, team owner Daniel Snyder, and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for their roles in allegedly covering up the workplace and sexual misconduct allegations against the organization.
"For years the team and its owner have caused very real and very serious harm, and then lied about it to dodge accountability and continue to rake in profits," Racine said in a Thursday news conference. "So far, they seem to have gotten away with it."
Racine claims in the lawsuit that Snyder not only lied about the hostile work environment issues but that he participated in it as well. Racine also called out the NFL's internal investigation into the Commanders, and said the organization and the NFL entered into some sort of agreement that concluded without much punishment for Snyder or the team.
With today’s lawsuit, we’re standing up for DC residents who were lied to and deceived.
And we’re standing with the brave victims and employees of the team who told us the truth during our investigation and came forward about what they suffered and witnessed while working.
— AG Karl A. Racine (@AGKarlRacine) November 10, 2022
The lawsuit claims Snyder, Goodell, the Commanders and the NFL violated the District of Columbia’s Consumer Protection Procedures Act, which "prohibits a wide variety of deceptive and unconscionable business practices," according to the attorney general's office website.
In the case of the Commanders, Racine noted “public misrepresentations, omissions, and ambiguities of material fact" around how the organization and the NFL investigated claims of misconduct. The attorney general's office seeks “financial penalties under the CPPA for every incident in which the Commanders, Mr. Snyder, the NFL, and Commissioner Goodell lied to District residents dating back to July 2020." The maximum fine for every violation, per Racine, is $5,000.
Racine noted that his office couldn't file a civil rights lawsuit with regard to crimes against alleged victims because the actions allegedly occurred outside of the District of Columbia.
The attorneys for the more than 40 former Commanders employees who levied allegations of sexual misconduct against the organization released a statement soon after in which they say that Racine's lawsuit "is further evidence of what we've long known: that both the Commanders and the NFL have engaged in deception and lies designed to conceal the team's decades of sexual harassment and abuse ..."
— Ralph Vacchiano (@RalphVacchiano) November 10, 2022
Megan Imbert, an ex-employee of Washington's in-house broadcast department who's spoken up about the allegedly toxic workplace culture, also issued a statement: