D.C Attorney General Files Civil Consumer Protection Lawsuit Against Commanders, Dan Snyder, NFL And Roger Goodell
D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine announced that he and his team are filing a consumer protection civil lawsuit against the Washington Commanders, Dan Snyder, Commissioner Roger Goodell and the National Football League on Thursday.
“After public reporting revealed that sexual misconduct, harassment, and misogyny ran rampant for decades at the team, the defendants promised D.C. residents that the league was going to fix this toxic culture, including by fully cooperating with an independent investigation. That was all a lie.”
Racine added, “Instead, the NFL turned a blind eye to Snyder’s extensive efforts to silence or intimidate witnesses, and the NFL and Commanders entered into a secret agreement that gave Snyder power to veto the release of any results. With today’s lawsuit, we’re standing up for D.C. residents who were lied to and deceived. And we’re standing with the brave victims and employees of the team who told us the truth during our investigation and came forward about what they suffered and witnessed while working.”
The Attorney General’s office reportedly will be aiming to obtain a court order to force the NFL to release the findings of its investigation, which was conducted by attorney Beth Wilkinson.
Racine alleges that the aforementioned parties were colluding together in order “to deceive District residents—the heart of the Commanders’ fanbase—about an investigation into toxic workplace culture.” Racine also accused Goodell and the NFL of lying about the steps being taken to address the allegations in order to continue profiting and preserve their image.
“OAG’s thorough investigation revealed that the Commanders, the NFL, and their executives, Mr. Snyder and Commissioner Roger Goodell, worked to prevent District residents from learning the truth and keep profiting,” Racine stated. “They publicly promised to fully cooperate with an independent investigation into the toxic work environment and sexual harassment within the Commanders organization and promised the results the fans could trust. But behind the scenes, Mr. Snyder waged an interference campaign to cover up the years of harassment. And the NFL let him do it, betraying fans’ trust be enabling Mr. Snyder to have a say at the end of the investigation into him and the Commanders.”
The Attorney General has been leading a months-long investigation into the Commanders franchise, as well as Snyder. Racine reportedly was looking into allegations of sexual harassment at the workplace, according to officials. The league launched an investigation into the Commanders as well. Additionally, a statement was included from Lisa Banks, the legal representative for more than 40 former Washington Commanders staff employees.
“Many of my clients participated in this investigation, which appeared to be wide-ranging and thorough,” Banks said. “We eagerly await next steps from the D.C. Attorney General—hopefully he will succeed where the NFL has failed in ensuring accountability for two decades of sexual misconduct.”
The team was fined $10 million by the NFL after findings of sexual harassment in a toxic work environment. The investigation also led to the discovery of offensive emails sent by former Raiders Head Coach Jon Gruden, who resigned shortly after they were leaked.
Gruden is now suing the NFL, alleging that he was targeted as a “fall guy” to distract from the controversies surrounding the Commanders. The initial Commanders investigation by the league also turned up hundreds of thousands of internal emails but few have been made public outside of the Gruden emails. There has been an outcry by former Commanders employees who wanted transparency around the first NFL investigation and want to see a final report of the findings.
Snyder recently announced that he has hired Bank of America to handle the selling process of the Commanders. Forbes reported that sales projections would be as much as $5.6 billion. However, NFL’s Jay Glazer recently reported that Snyder intends to sell the entire team and that the asking price will be as much as $7 billion.
If successful, the sale would shatter the current league-record $4.65 billion spent to purchase the Denver Broncos. Multiple important figures have expressed interest in buying the team, including names such as Byron Allen, who previously made a bid for the Broncos, and Amazon Executive Chairman Jeff Bezos.