NFL Owner, Team and League Face Lawsuit Tied to Toxic Workplace

Washington D.C. attorney general claims violations of the district’s consumer protection laws.

Washington D.C.’s attorney general filed a consumer protection civil lawsuit against Dan Snyder, the Washington Commanders, the NFL, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for colluding to deceive residents of the District of Columbia.

The case centers on  the NFL’s investigation into the “toxic workplace culture” at the team. 

“With this lawsuit, we are standing up for DC residents who were repeatedly lied to and deceived. They have a right to know the truth about the companies they support with their hard earned dollars,” DC AG Karl Racine said. 

The suit takes Snyder to task for claiming that he had no knowledge of a hostile work environment, when in fact, according to the lawsuit, he was aware of, and participated in, the demeaning actions towards women that contributed to that work atmosphere. 

The city also accuses the National Football League of secretly colluding with the Commanders to allow Snyder to have control over the findings of a league investigation into his organization. 

The city has been investigating the Commanders since the fall of 2021 when the Beth Wilkinson independent investigation into the team on behalf of the NFL was completed. 

The Wilkinson Report

Attorney Beth Wilkinson was tasked with conducting interviews with former and current employees to get an accurate assessment of the state of the team. 

But instead of releasing the full report, the team and the league released a summary of findings from the investigation. 

“Mr. Snyder was given access to information and determined, along with the NFL, what little you all and we know about the investigation. That is a violation of law in the District of Columbia under our Consumer Protection Act,” Racine said.

Wilkinson’s review of the team found that the workplace environment at the team was “highly unprofessional,” particularly for women and that “bullying and intimidation frequently took place.” according to the summary. 

The league ended up fining the team $10 million and Dan Snyder ceded day-to-day control of the team’s operations to his wife Tanya Snyder. 

The forces that were calling for the probe certainly were not satisfied with the summary that was made public, and Snyder, and the team’s, punishment was seen as a slap on the wrist to some commentators

Team For Sale

Last week, the Snyders dropped a bombshell, releasing a statement saying that he had retained Bank of America to explore the potential sale of the franchise. 

Despite eroding what was once one of the leagues strongest fanbases on the way to placing dead last in attendance last year, there were reports this week that the team could fetch a valuation of up to $7 billion. 

It is not known whether the Snyders will sell their full stake, or a minority stake in the company. founder Jeff Bezos has emerged has one of the parties interested in purchasing the team. 

Earlier this year, Dan Snyder testified under oath in front of a congressional committee that held its own investigation into the Commanders’ workplace culture.  Snyder gave a voluntary deposition under oath via videoconference from Israel to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform for 10 hours.

Meanwhile, on the football field, Thursday was just another day at the office for the team preparing for its game on Sunday.

“We’re tying to focus in on what’s on the field. We can’t control that portion of it. What we control is the football aspect of it… and we’re going to remain focused on that,” said Ron Rivera, the Commanders head coach. 

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