Dan Snyder Accused of Propositioning Cheerleader; Linked to Lewd Video Request

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 26, 2020

Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder is shown before an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)
Adrian Kraus/Associated Press

A new report from the Washington Post detailed further allegations of a toxic work environment behind the scenes with the Washington Football Team.

The Post's Will Hobson, Beth Reinhard, Liz Clarke and Dalton Bennett interviewed more than 100 current and former employees and looked over internal documents and records from the team. Altogether, they portray team owner Dan Snyder as allegedly "[presiding] over an organization in which women say they have been marginalized, discriminated against and exploited."

ESPN's Adam Schefter shared a statement from Snyder that read in part, "While I was unaware of these allegations until they surfaced in the media, I take full responsibility for the culture of our organization." He went on to refute a number of claims made as a result of the Post's investigation.

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

Statement from Dan Snyder in response to the allegations in today’s Washington Post: https://t.co/vuvfUAO4q0

Former cheerleader Tiffany Bacon Scourby recounted one encounter at a charity event in 2004. She said Snyder had motioned to Anthony Roberts, a friend of his and an ophthalmologist for the team.

Scourby said Snyder suggested she and Roberts should "go upstairs and get to know each other better" at a hotel room he had at the Washington Hilton, where the event was taking place.

Former cheerleader director Donald Wells told the Post that Scourby had discussed the encounter with him and that "she was more or less propositioned."

Wednesday's story opened with allegations that Larry Michael, the team's former senior vice president of content and radio broadcast, instructed employees to collect "lewd outtakes" from a video of the cheerleaders' 2008 calendar shoot. Michael indicated to the staff members the separate video would be for Snyder. 

Michael denied the allegations to the Washington Post.

Brad Baker, a video producer who worked with Michael, went on the record to explain Michael's alleged involvement.

"Larry said something to the effect of, 'We have a special project that we need to get done for the owner today: He needs us to get the good bits of the behind-the-scenes video from the cheerleader shoot onto a DVD for him,'" Baker said.

The Post was provided with copies of both the 2008 outtakes video and another version from the 2010 shoot.

The Post also interviewed Susan Miller, who served as the president of an employee referral agency in Virginia. Miller explained how she ceased directing people to work for the Washington Football Team because of the general atmosphere and Snyder's behavior.

"He denigrated people," she said. "He treated women like servants."

Washington released a statement Wednesday night regarding the allegations in the report: 

Washington Football Team @WashingtonNFL


Last month, the Washington Post interviewed 15 women who said they were the victims of sexual harassment and verbal abuse while working for the team. Michael and former director of pro personnel Alex Santos were among those named in the report.

At the time, the Post specified that "none of the women accused Snyder or former longtime team president Bruce Allen of inappropriate behavior with women, but they expressed skepticism that the men were unaware of the behavior they allege."

Snyder issued a statement after July's report saying the team was bringing in an outside law firm "to do a full, unbiased investigation and make any and all requisite recommendations."

Mike Garafolo @MikeGarafolo

From Dan Snyder https://t.co/uoTEFQ071n

The Washington Post's July investigation wasn't the first time Washington has faced scrutiny for how it treated female employees.

In May 2018, the New York Times' Juliet Macur reported on the cheerleading squad's 2013 trip to Costa Rica for a calendar photo shoot. The team allowed some sponsors and suite holders to receive "up-close access to the photo shoots," and some sponsors selected cheerleaders to be "personal escorts at a nightclub."