House Committee to Subpoena NFL Team Owner Dan Snyder for Testimony

From a story on axios.com by Jacob Knutson headlined “House Oversight to subpoena Dan Snyder for testimony”:

Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder and his lawyers launched a “shadow investigation” to influence the NFL’s internal investigation into workplace misconduct at the team and discredit victims and witnesses, according to investigative findings by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.

Driving the news: Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), chair of the Oversight Committee, said that she plans to issue a subpoena for Snyder’s testimony after he declined to testify voluntarily at a hearing Wednesday, citing due process concerns.

Why it matters: The Oversight Committee released its findings ahead of the hearing, which focused on workplace misconduct in the NFL.

  • Snyder has been accused of sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment at the Commanders. He has denied such allegations.

Before announcing the subpoena, Maloney asked NFL commissioner Roger Goodell if he would punish Snyder for refusing to testify before Congress.

  • Goodell said he doesn’t have any control over whether Snyder appears before Congress.
  • “Mr. Snyder has not been held accountable. His refusal to testify sends a clear message that he is more concerned about protecting himself than he is about coming clean with the American people. If the NFL is unwilling or unable to hold Mr. Snyder accountable, then I am prepared to do so,” Maloney said.

What they’re saying: “Lawyers for Mr. Snyder used their shadow investigation to create a 100-slide dossier with private emails, text messages, telephone records, and social media posts from journalists, victims, and witnesses who had made credible public accusations of harassment against the Commanders,” the Oversight Committee claimed.

  • “Mr. Snyder’s lawyers had direct access to the NFL and the law firm conducting the investigation, and secretly shared information from their shadow investigation in an apparent attempt to influence the Wilkinson investigation,” it said, referring to D.C. attorney Beth Wilkinson, who led the league’s internal investigation into misconduct at the Commanders.
  • The committee claimed Snyder didn’t take action against a member of the team’s coaching staff accused of groping a public relations employee.
  • It also said he fired female employees who engaged in consensual relationships with male members of the team’s football operations, while male members did not face tangible punishments.

The other side: “It is clear the outcome of the House Oversight Committee’s investigation into the Washington Commanders was predetermined from the beginning,” a spokesperson for Snyder said in a statement Wednesday.

  • “The committee’s decision to release a ‘report’ and introduce legislation prior to the hearing is proof-positive this was always going to be little more than a politically-charged show trial, not about uncovering the truth,” it continued.
  • “Hopefully, the committee will utilize its resources going forward for more pressing national matters, instead of an issue a football team addressed years ago.”

The big picture: Goodell, testifying under oath at Wednesday’s hearing, said that “it is clear to me that the workplace in Washington was unprofessional and unacceptable in numerous respects: bullying, widespread disrespect toward colleagues, use of demeaning language, public embarrassment and harassment.”

  • “No one should experience workplaces like the one they described, especially not in the National Football League. I can say to every victim unequivocally that their willingness to come forward has contributed to a substantially improved workplace.”
  • Goodell said that Snyder faced “unprecedented” penalties and that “the workplace at the Commanders today bears no resemblance to the workplace that has been described to this committee.”

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