Congress Requesting Documents from Washington Football Team And Will Examine NFL’s Handling Of The Matter
Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, sent a letter to NFL Commissioner Rodger Goodell requesting relevant documents and information regarding the Washington Football Team’s hostile workplace culture and NFL’s handling of this matter, which included amassing a trove of 650,000 emails.
The NFL, which has leaked numerous emails from disgraced former Las Vegas head coach Jon Gruden, has yet to disseminate the contents of the remaining emails, and, in the wake of public criticism, nonetheless, has remained defiant about releasing any more of the emails despite public pressure to do so.
“The NFL has one of the most prominent platforms in America, and its decisions can have national implications,” the Chairs wrote. “The NFL’s lack of transparency about the problems it recently uncovered raise questions about the seriousness with which it has addressed bigotry, racism, sexism, and homophobia—setting troubling precedent for other workplaces. The Committee is seeking to fully understand this workplace conduct and the league’s response, which will help inform legislative efforts to address toxic work environments and workplace investigation processes; strengthen protections for women in the workplace; and address the use of non-disclosure agreements to prevent the disclosure of unlawful employment practices, including sexual harassment. We hope and trust that the NFL shares the Committee’s goal of protecting American workers from harassment and discrimination.” Per a Congressional Press Release
On July 1, 2021, the NFL announced the outcome of the Washington Football Team’s investigation in a press release, which described vague and conclusory findings, including that “the workplace environment… particularly for women, was highly unprofessional,” that “[b]ullying and intimidation frequently took place,” and that “senior executives engaged in inappropriate conduct themselves.” The NFL did not disclose the full results of the investigation.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported the Washington Football Team’s probe raised issues beyond the scope of the underlying investigation. Leaked emails between Washington Football Team official Bruce Allen, Gruden, and others obtained during the course of the NFL’s internal investigation exposed workplace cultures within the NFL filled with racism, misogyny, and homophobia. These emails also raised questions about the league’s impartiality in conducting internal investigations.
The Chairs have requested documents and information related to the investigations by November 4, 2021.
A copy of the Congressional Letter sent to the NFL can be found here: https://oversight.house.gov/sites/democrats.oversight.house.gov/files/Final%202021-10-21.CBM%20RK%20to%20Goodell-NFL%20re%20WFT%20Investigation.pdf