Commanders' Daniel Snyder Tried to Discredit Accusers with Dossier, Committee Says

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJune 22, 2022

Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder walks the sidelines before an NFL football game between the Redskins and the New York Giants, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Giants won the game 24-3. (Jeff Haynes/AP Images for Panini)
Jeff Haynes/AP Images for Panini

Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder allegedly went to great lengths in an attempt to discredit former team employees who spoke out regarding the Commanders' alleged toxic workplace culture.

According to Mark Maske, Liz Clarke and Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, who is the chairwoman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, released a 29-page memo detailing the alleged actions of Snyder and the Commanders on Wednesday ahead of a Capitol Hill hearing regarding the organization's work environment.

In one portion of the memo, Maloney wrote:

"This memorandum describes evidence uncovered by the Committee demonstrating that although publicly, the NFL and Commanders touted the hiring of a respected D.C. attorney [Beth Wilkinson] to conduct an internal investigation of the Commanders' toxic workplace, privately, Commanders owner Daniel Snyder launched a shadow investigation in an apparent effort to discredit his accusers in the eyes of the NFL and offer up an alternative target for the investigation. Bound together by an agreement to pursue a common interest and a joint legal strategy, the NFL and Commanders ultimately buried Ms. Wilkinson's findings."

Maloney added: "Lawyers for Mr. Snyder used their shadow investigation to create a 100-slide dossier with 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."

After the preliminary findings were released, Snyder released a statement through a spokesperson, via Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post:

Nicki Jhabvala @NickiJhabvala

Statement from a spokesperson for Daniel Snyder on the Oversight Committee's preliminary findings that were outlined in a 29-page memo by Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.) this morning: <a href="https://t.co/w0YDXTTEs0">pic.twitter.com/w0YDXTTEs0</a>

The NFL hired Wilkinson to conduct an investigation into the Commanders, which led to the league fining the Commanders $10 million and forcing Snyder to surrender control of the team to his wife, Tanya Snyder, "for at least the next several months" last July.

As more allegations have come to light, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform requested the presence of both NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Snyder for Wednesday's hearing. Goodell is expected to appear and speak, while Snyder declined.

Multiple allegations have been levied against the Commanders organization, including sexual misconduct against Snyder himself.

In February, former Commanders cheerleader and marketing manager Tiffani Johnston said during a congressional roundtable that Snyder once touched her thigh underneath the table at a team dinner and attempted to guide her toward his limo.

On Tuesday, Will Hobson of the Washington Post reported that a female team employee said in 2009 that Snyder sexually harassed and assaulted her. The Commanders ultimately settled with the woman for $1.6 million in exchange for confidentiality.

Snyder denied the allegations made by both Johnston and the other female employee, and added that the Commanders only agreed to the $1.6 million settlement based on the "guidance of an insurance company."

Former Commanders COO David Pauken has also spoken out about the organization's workplace culture, alleging a lack of equality in the way male and female employees were treated.

Pauken said female employees were punished and even fired in some cases for having consensual relationships with male employees, while the male employees were not reprimanded.

He also said Snyder's response to an allegation that a coach had groped a public relations employee, Snyder told the PR worker to "stay away from the coach," rather than disciplining the coach.

In her memo, Maloney alleged that the NFL and the Commanders essentially conspired to obstruct Wilkinson's investigation into the organization, including asking her for only an oral report rather than a written one, making it impossible to release the findings.

A second investigation has been launched by the NFL into the Commanders, however, with attorney Mary Jo White leading it.

Unlike the Wilkinson investigation, Goodell has said that White's findings will be released when the investigation concludes.