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Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell were asked on Wednesday to testify in front of the House Oversight Committee at a hearing for the group's investigation into the Commanders' hostile workplace culture and the NFL's subsequence response to it.
The hearing is scheduled for June 22.
It could be a major turning point in the federal investigation that has lasted since Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) requested Goodell to turn over all documents related to the NFL's internal findings into Snyder and the Commanders this past October. It would mark the first time Goodell or Snyder have spoken on the allegations in a formal setting other than public statements since the initial Washington Post report on workplace misconduct in 2020.
The decision to ask Goodell and Snyder to testify also appears to be the final straw for the committee, as outlined in the letter.
Chairwoman Maloney wrote:
Since we launched our investigation in October, the Committee’s goal has been to uncover the truth about the culture of harassment and abuse at the Washington Commanders, to hold accountable those responsible, and to better protect workers across the country,” said Chairwoman Maloney. “The Committee has worked tirelessly to obtain critical information, including the findings of the internal investigation conducted by attorney Beth Wilkinson, only to be met with obstruction from the Commanders and the NFL at every turn. We must have transparency and accountability, which is why we are calling on Mr. Goodell and Mr. Snyder to answer the questions they have dodged for the last seven months. The hearing will explore how Congress can act to prevent employers from silencing victims of workplace misconduct and ensure that what happened at the Commanders organization does not happen again.
For seven months, the Committee has been stonewalled by NDAs and other tools to evade accountability. Mr. Snyder and Mr. Goodell need to appear before the Committee to address these issues and answer our questions about the pervasive workplace misconduct at the Washington Commanders, and how the NFL addressed these issues.
This isn't the only federal investigation involving Snyder. In April, the committee sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission that alleged the Commanders committed fraud against NFL franchises by withholding ticket revenue meant to be shared among the other 31 teams.
The NFL is facing its own federal probe as well after six attorneys general sent a letter to Goodell in April that warned of an investigation into allegations of workplace harassment of women and minorities.
While neither Goodell nor Snyder has publicly responded to the request themselves, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy released a statement in response to Wednesday's letter from the committee:
We received the Committee's invitation this morning and will respond in a timely manner. The NFL has cooperated extensively throughout the Committee's length investigation of the Washington Commanders, including by producing more than 460,000 pages of documents and responding to numerous questions in writing and in conversations with the Committee's staff.
What happens next could lead to some answers revolving around one of the most polarizing teams in the NFL that has been under scrutiny for almost two years.
A brief timeline of the NFL's and committee's investigations
July 16, 2020: Commanders (then called the Washington Football Team) hired attorney Beth Wilkinson to review the organization's protocols following the Washington Post's report on allegations of workplace misconduct.
July 2, 2021: Wilkinson concluded her investigation and the NFL fined the Commanders $10 million after finding the team engaged in workplace misconduct. The league also recommended 10 changes Snyder agreed to implement to foster a better workplace environment. Snyder was not suspended or asked to sell the team but his wife, Tayna, assumed day-to-day responsibilities. The league did not release any of its findings for public consumption.
Oct. 21, 2021: The committee opened an investigation into the NFL's handling of the Commanders' hostile workplace culture and asked the league to turn over all documents from its probe.
Nov. 5, 2021: The committee asked the NFL and the Commanders to release all individuals from non-disclosure agreements preventing them from speaking out about the report.
Dec. 14, 2021: The committee asked the NFL to produce information on Snyder's possible interference in its investigation.
Feb. 3, 2022: The committee held a roundtable with former Commanders employees who shed more light on the toxic workplace environment and detailed the NFL's failure to address their concerns.
April 12, 2022: The committee sent a letter to the FTC that alleged the Commanders committed fraud against NFL franchises by withholding ticket revenue meant to be shared among the other 31 teams.
June 1, 2022: The committee invited Goodell and Snyder to testify during a hearing on June 22.