Commanders Owner Dan Snyder Is Hiring An Independent Investigative Team To Investigate Tiffani Johnston Allegations

NFL: Washington Football Team-Press Conference
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted on Wednesday morning that “Commanders owner Dan Snyder is hiring an independent investigative team, led by former Asst. U.S. Attorneys Bonnie Jonas and Tiffany Moller of Pallas Global Group LLC, to look into allegations made last week by Tiffani Johnston during her time with the team. “

According to Schefter, Washington said it is committed to a thorough and independent investigation of Johnston’s allegation, and pledges their full cooperation with the investigation. When the investigation is concluded, Pallas Global Group will release the findings to the public.

Schefter continued on saying that Pallas Global Group has retained Debra Wong Yang to lead the investigation.

Schefter tweeted, “Yang is a partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, LLP in Los Angeles and previously served as the firm’s Chair of the White Collar Defense and Investigations Practice Group.”

Fans and media alike will be relieved to hear that the findings will be released to the public. The NFL and WFT agreed to keep the findings of their previous internal investigation private.

Per a document disclosed by House Democrats, the NFL and the Washington Football Team decided in a deal that neither side would reveal anything about the league’s probe into WFT’s workplace misconduct without the consent of the other.

Johnston accused Snyder of unwanted physical contact and an unwanted advance during and after a business dinner. In a statement released after the hearing, Snyder called the allegations ‘outright lies.’

According to the NFL, Tiffani Johnston’s allegations were not made during the 10-month investigation conducted by attorney Beth Wilkinson.

“The NFL is reviewing and will consider Ms. Johnston’s allegations as we would any other new allegations regarding workplace misconduct at the Washington Commanders,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement after last Thursday’s congressional hearing. “We will determine any further action as appropriate.”

Last Thursday, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi met with Former Washington Football Team (WFT) employees to discuss workplace misconduct and the National Football League’s (NFL) handling of claims of sexual harassment and verbal abuse within the franchise while owner Dan Snyder was in charge.

Several claims have surfaced in recent years from employees who either observed or experienced the WFT’s work environment, including allegations of sexual harassment and secret tapes of nude cheerleaders, allegedly filmed without their consent.

Some of the secret tapes allegedly included filthy outtakes from cheerleading photoshoots.

Washington Football Team recruited Beth Wilkinson, an attorney, to begin an internal investigation into the claims in July 2020, but the WFT announced just a month later that the NFL would be taking over the investigation. In a change from past practice, the NFL has not made the conclusions or findings of the investigation public.

In a full statement by Dan Snyder, he said, “I have acknowledged and apologized multiple times in the past for the misconduct which took place at the Team and the harm suffered by our valued employees,” Snyder said. “I apologize again today for this conduct, and fully support the people who have been victimized and come forward to tell their stories.”

It will be crucial for the NFL and WFT to get this investigation right, as Congress is certainly not ignoring this issue.

In a statement from Congress preceding the congressional hearing with WFT employees, representatives said, “The NFL has one of the most prominent platforms in America and the lack of transparency about its handling of decades-long allegations of harassment and discrimination within one of its teams sets a dangerous precedent for other workplaces.  To ensure real accountability, the NFL must end its cover-up, honor its commitment to cooperate with Congress, and release Wilkinson’s investigative findings.”