Fritz Pollard Alliance asks NFL to investigate Washington's hires for Rooney Rule compliance

Cassandra Negley
·2-min read

Another investigation into the Washington football team could be underway soon.

The Fritz Pollard Alliance, the independent group that advises the NFL on diversity and inclusion, will formally request the league look into the team’s two recent hires to see if Rooney Rules were followed, The Undefeated reported. The concern is that the franchise did not follow the new changes to the rule.

Washington hired Terry Bateman on Monday as its executive vice president and chief marketing officer. The following day the team hired Julie Donaldson to lead the radio broadcast team.

Report: Investigation into Washington’s exec hires

Rod Graves, the top decision maker for The Fritz Pollard Alliance, told The Undefeated he intends to talk with league officials but declined to talk about the situation. He wrote in a text, via The Undefeated:

"The Fritz Pollard Alliance has sent inquiries to the NFL and to the Washington Football Team regarding the hiring process for Terry Bateman and Julie Donaldson."

The updated Rooney Rule, which was first imposed in 2003, expanded to require teams interview at least one minority candidate or a woman for executive level positions. There also must be a credible process to conduct interviews with multiple candidates to make the hire.

The concern, per The Undefeated, is that Washington didn’t conduct thorough hiring processes given how fast the two employees were hired amid the dual crises of the former team name and its corporate culture under owner Dan Snyder.

Washington hires Bateman, Donaldson back-to-back

Washington owner Daniel Snyder looks away.
There are concerns that Washington didn't adhere to the Rooney Rule in their latest hirings. (Lee Coleman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Bateman will lead the charge on the name change and branding. He had worked previously as the team’s chief marketing officer and has worked on-and-off for Snyder over the years.

Donaldson, a former anchor and host for NBC Sports Washington, was hired as senior vice president of media. She is the first female to be a regular on-air member of an NFL broadcast booth, the team said.

Her hiring came not only on the heels of the Bateman announcement, but six days after longtime announcer Larry Michael, who also held the position of senior vice president and chief content officer, suddenly “retired.”

Michael was named in the Washington Post story about the culture of sexual harassment and abuse in the organization. He allegedly leered at young interns and made inappropriate comments about their appearance and private lives. He had a “a penchant for off-color commentary about female colleagues,” per the story.

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