Washington Football Team fined $10M after NFL investigation into “team workplace”
The NFL announced on Thursday it is fining the Washington Football Team $10 million following an investigation into the team’s workplace environment and culture.
The investigation was conducted by independent counsel Beth Wilkinson’s firm, the NFL said in a press release. Wilkinson’s investigation into the team lasted over a year and included interviews with over “150 people, most of whom were current or former employees of the club, and many of whom conditioned their participation on a promise of anonymity.”
“Based on Wilkinson’s review, the Commissioner concluded that for many years the workplace environment at the Washington Football Team, both generally and particularly for women, was highly unprofessional,” the NFL said in the press release.
“Bullying and intimidation frequently took place and many described the culture as one of fear, and numerous female employees reported having experienced sexual harassment and a general lack of respect in the workplace,” the release added.
The team’s owners and senior managers “paid little or no attention to these issues,” and in some cases the team’s senior executives also took part in “inappropriate conduct.”
“Having considered Wilkinson’s findings and other information brought to his attention, the Commissioner has decided that, in addition to paying all fees and expenses associated with Wilkinson’s investigation, the club will pay $10 million, which will be used to support organizations committed to character education, anti-bullying, healthy relationships and related topics,” the press release said.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell thanked Washington Football Team owner Dan Snyder and recently named co-CEO Tara Snyder for their cooperation in the investigation.
“Over the past 18 months, Dan and Tanya have recognized the need for change and have undertaken important steps to make the workplace comfortable and dignified for all employees, and those changes, if sustained and built upon, should allow the club to achieve its goal of having a truly first-tier workplace,” Goodell said.
In July 2020, The Washington Post published a story detailing allegations of sexual harassment against several employees in the organization, then called the Washington Redskins. Shortly after the report, Snyder called on Wilkinson’s firm to conduct an investigation, but the NFL eventually took over oversight of the probe.
In response to the recently announced fine, Dan Snyder said in a statement, “I have learned a lot in the past few months about how my club operated, and the kind of workplace that we had. It is now clear that the culture was not what it should be, but I did not realize the extent of the problems or my role in allowing that culture to develop and continue.”
He continued, “I agree with the Commissioner’s decisions in this matter and am committed to implementing his investigation’s important recommendations. Tanya will assume the responsibilities of CEO and will oversee all day-to-day team operations and represent the club on all league activities. I will concentrate my time during the next several months on developing a new stadium plan and other matters.”
Newsweek was directed to Snyder’s statement after reaching out to the Washington Football Team for comment.