Lawyers for former Washington football team employees call for transparency
Lisa Banks and Debra Katz, attorneys representing 40 former Washington football team members who participated in the investigation, rejected the position of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on releasing the investigation findings WFT, claiming that it “had distorted the wishes of our customers”.
“You have chosen to hide behind the ‘unbelievably brave’ women and men who have come forward to try to justify your decision to protect the WFT and Dan Snyder from whatever is in these findings,” the lawyers wrote in a letter to Goodell. “You have distorted the wishes of our clients, and possibly those of other women and men who have come forward, to justify your decision to bury what we know to be a damning report, after going through dozens of interviews.
“Our clients have provided details of the harassment and abuse they suffered with the reasonable hope that they and the public would be informed of the findings of the 10-month investigation.”
At a press conference on Tuesday, Goodell said the findings had not been and will not be released because the league has promised anonymity to those who helped with the investigation.
“We are very conscious of making sure that we protect those who have come forward,” Goodell noted. “They were incredibly brave, incredibly open, and we respect the pain they probably went through again to come forward. It was a very high priority.”
However, Illustrated sportsby Albert Breer reported Tuesday that two accusers were on hand earlier today to demand full transparency, and former team member Rachel Engleson tweeted that Goodell’s comments were “false.”
“This is wrong @nflcommish,” the tweet read. “We were told our identities would be kept confidential in a written report. Which meant if I spoke about something that happened to me, there would be no way Dan or others could escalate the information to me. Not that there wouldn’t be a written report.
Banks also took to Twitter on Tuesday evening, saying, “Goodell’s statement is false” in a tweet and “My clients did not ask the NFL for” protection “when they took part in the investigation. in other.
When responding to Goodell’s note that it would be “difficult” to produce a report due to confidentiality, Katz and Banks referred to the 168-page New York Attorney General’s report, which detailed the allegations of sexual harassment against former Governor Andrew Cuomo. In the report, names were redacted, omitted and anonymized if necessary.
“Our clients no longer want ‘protection’ from you by refusing this report,” Katz and Banks continued. “Instead, they urge you to receive a written report of the findings of Beth Wilkinson’s investigation, take whatever steps are necessary to ensure confidentiality to those who wish, and make this report public immediately.”
The NFL has pushed hard for transparency following leaks of emails containing anti-LGBTQ, racist and misogynistic language. Earlier Wednesday, Raiders owner Mark Davis told reporters he believed the NFL should issue a written report into the WFT investigation.
And last week, two House Democrats wrote a letter to Goodell, urging the commissioner to give Congress the conclusions about the investigation and how the league has handled the case, according to the Washington post.
In the five-page letter, Representative Carolyn B. Maloney (DN.Y.), Chair of the Oversight and Reform Committee, and Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) Asked her to produce “all documents and communications obtained in connection with the investigation of the WFT, its management, its owners and any other matter related or resulting from the investigation of the WFT ”by 4 November.
WFT co-owner Snyder hired Wilkinson to investigate the franchise’s corporate culture following the To post publish a report that included 15 former staff members of the team describing their experiences of sexual harassment and verbal abuse within the organization. Additionally, the WFT cheerleaders alleged that they were secretly filmed as they undressed, and then made a deal with the team.
The NFL then took over, with Wilkinson reporting to Jeff Pash, the longtime NFL general counsel and adviser to Goodell, who is also coming under scrutiny following 650,000 emails about which the league investigated and which resulted in the resignation of former Raiders coach Jon Gruden. The New York Times discovered misogynistic, racist and anti-LGBTQ emails sent by Gruden from 2010-18, which were also collected and reviewed by the NFL while it investigated the WFT. Gruden reportedly sent the emails to then-team president Bruce Allen, who also reportedly had a close relationship with Pash.
WFT was fined $ 10 million at the end of the investigation, but Snyder was not personally punished as a result, despite his wife becoming co-CEO. Goodell said Tuesday he felt that Snyder was held responsible given the “unprecedented fine” and that he “had not been involved with the football team for four months”.
The findings were not made public and Wilkinson reportedly did not submit a written report but reportedly shared his findings verbally.
“While many of those who came forward feared retaliation from Dan Snyder, and therefore requested that their names be kept private, they never envisioned that all of their efforts and the efforts of Beth Wilkinson and her team would be successful. no written report of the findings, and no real accountability for Dan Snyder or the WFT, “the lawyers wrote, according to ESPN.” If they had known that, they would not have participated.
Learn more about the WFT and NFL email scandal: