Chairs Seek Commitment to Allow Witnesses to Speak Out Without Fear of Retaliation
Full Press Release Below:
Washington, D.C. (November 5, 2021)—Today, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, called on the National Football League and the Washington Football Team to commit to complete transparency on the NFL’s handling of the WFT’s hostile workplace culture.
Following Commissioner Goodell’s October 26, 2021, statements that the NFL will “be cooperative” with Congress, and that witnesses “are welcome to be public if they wish to,” the Chairs are calling on the NFL to honor these commitments by producing all requested documents, and by releasing all individuals from any non-disclosure agreement that prevents them from speaking out about Dan Snyder and the Washington Football Team’s toxic work environment.
“Commissioner Goodell said the NFL will cooperate with Congress, and we expect him to make good on that promise by producing the documents requested,” Chairwoman Maloney said. “In the spirit of transparency, I am calling on the NFL and Washington Football Team to honor the Commissioner’s public statement that witnesses to the team’s hostile workplace culture are ‘welcome’ to come forward. Congress has a responsibility to combat harassment and discrimination in the workplace. If the NFL shares our commitment to address these issues, it will be fully transparent about the findings of the internal review and will allow all individuals to speak freely without fear of retaliation.”
“While Commissioner Roger Goodell has told the press that victims and witnesses are free to take their story public, he should know many of them do not have that option,” Chairman Krishnamoorthi said. “Dan Snyder, the owner of the Washington Football Team, has saddled them with gag orders, preventing them from coming forward due to fear of retaliation. If the NFL and the WFT are serious about addressing, among other things, sexual harassment within their organizations, they must allow these individuals to speak freely. “The NFL has committed to producing documents. We look forward to seeing them.”
On October 21, 2021, the Chairs sent a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and launched an investigation into the WFT’s workplace culture and how the NFL responded when it uncovered serious issues of harassment and discrimination within the organization.
The letter followed the NFL’s July 1, 2021, announcement on the outcome of the WFT investigation conducted by an outside law firm. The announcement described vague and conclusory findings, including that “the workplace environment … particularly for women, was highly unprofessional,” that “[b]ullying and intimidation frequently took place,” and that “senior executives engaged in inappropriate conduct themselves.” Unlike past investigations into potential misconduct, the NFL did not disclose the full results of the investigation.