Report: Dan Snyder’s Attorneys, PIs Attempted to Interfere With NFL’s WFT Probe

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVDecember 14, 2021

FILE - In this Jan. 9, 2021, file photo, Washington Football Team owner Daniel Snyder walks on the field prior to an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Landover, Md. Twenty female former Washington Football Team employees are calling on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to release the final report of an independent investigation into the organization's conduct. The employees and their lawyers sent letters to Goodell on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021, making the request. Snyder hired Beth Wilkinson to investigate in July after former employees made allegations of workplace sexual harassment. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)
AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File

Washington Football Team owner Daniel Snyder reportedly enlisted his attorneys and private investigators to interfere with investigator Beth Wilkinson's probe into allegations of workplace misconduct and sexual harassment against the organization, per Will Hobson and Liz Clarke of the Washington Post

Wilkinson, who was originally hired by Snyder but retained by the NFL when it took over the investigation, had reportedly learned of a sexual misconduct allegation made against Snyder that had been settled in 2009 for $1.6 million.  

Wilkinson attempted to interview the former team employee who accused Snyder, which Snyder's attorneys reportedly tried to prevent by offering the woman additional money if she wouldn't speak to anyone about her allegations and original settlement. 

Wilkinson, in court filings, "later described phone calls to Sullivan from Snyder’s lawyers as an attempt to 'silence' the 2009 accuser." Snyder's attorneys have denied offering the woman additional hush money or trying to block Wilkinson's interview. 

It is not the only reported example of Snyder attempting to derail the NFL's investigation into the organization. Per that report, "his lawyers filed petitions in federal court seeking, in part, to identify former employees who had spoken to the Post—an effort one federal judge suggested was intended 'to burden and harass' former employees who had spoken to reporters."

Meanwhile, private investigators hired by Snyder reportedly "showed up uninvited at the homes of several former employees or contacted their friends and relatives, according to these former employees or their attorneysacts many of them viewed as intimidation aimed at discouraging former employees from participating in the NFL’s investigation."

These latest reports raise additional questions about NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's decision to keep the findings of the league's investigation into Snyder and the WFT confidential. 

While leaked emails have cast a negative light on former WFT President Bruce Allen and led to the firing of Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden, Snyder has generally avoided any consequences beyond the league's decision to fine the organization $10 million and bar Snyder from "day-to-day" team operations as a result of its probe. 

As Hobson and Clarke noted, "among former team employees, it has not escaped notice that the emails spared Snyder any embarrassment while damaging the reputation of [Allen]," who is one of Snyder's "perceived enemies."