ASHBURN, V.A. (WDVM) — The NFL announced Thursday that after a workplace review of the Washington Football Team’s culture, the team will be fined $10 million.
The review was led by independent counsel Beth Wilkinson, who started investigating allegations of hostile workplace culture, including allegations of bullying and harassment.
According to a release by the NFL, Wilkinson interviewed more than 150 people, most being current or former employees of the Washington Football Team. The release went on to say that based on Wilkinson’s review, Commissioner Roger Goodell concluded that for many years the workplace environment at the Washington Football Team, both generally and particularly for women, was highly unprofessional.
“The culture of the club was very toxic and fell far short of the NFL’s values,” said Lisa Friel, the NFL’s special counsel for investigations, during a conference call with reporters, after the initial report.
In a call with reporters, Lisa Friel says there is no written report from Beth Wilkinson. The report was an oral report, and the NFL did not have a written report from her; using her findings, and recommendations in the release the league sent.
“Some of the specifics of allegations would’ve given away even who people were, so I think the Commissioner was extremely concerned about respecting all these people’s request for confidentiality.” said Lisa Friel, “He is very cognizant of how hard this was for people to come forward. I’ve heard him say it any number of times over the last year how he is aware of how difficult this is for people, even people who may have had a bad experience 15 years ago, how difficult it is for them to come forward now, and relive the experience. So his ultimate goal was to protect the confidentiality of these people, but also be in a position where he can make sure that the Washington Football Team’s workplace culture has changed, is changing, and that that change will be sustained.”
Washington Football owner Dan Snyder came out with a release today, stating: “I feel great remorse for the people who had difficult, even traumatic, experiences while working here. I’m truly sorry for that. I can’t turn back the clock, but I promise that nobody who works here will ever have that kind of experience again, at least not as long as Tanya and I are the owners of this team.”
The league did not suspend Dan Snyder, but his wife, Tanya, who was named Co-CEO earlier this week, will take over for day-to-day team operations, and will represent the team on all league operations. Snyder will use his time to focus on a new stadium plan, and other matters; according to a statement from Snyder.
In a statement from Lisa Banks, and Debra Katz of Katz, Marshall, & Bank LLP; they claim the NFL has protected Dan Snyder, saying:
In response to a year-long investigation in which more than 100 witnesses were interviewed, and which we believe substantiated our clients’ allegations of pervasive harassment, misogyny, and abuse at the Washington Football Team, the NFL has chosen to protect owner Dan Snyder. Ignoring our requests that it make the report prepared by Beth Wilkinson public, the NFL has chosen instead to receive only an oral report of the findings and to fine the owner Dan Snyder what amounts to pocket change. This is truly outrageous, and is a slap in the face to the hundreds of women, and former employees who came forward in good faith, and at great personal risk to report a culture of abuse at all levels of the Team, including by Snyder himself. The NFL has effectively told survivors in this country and around the world that it does not care about them or credit their experiences. Female fans, and fans of goodwill everywhere, take note.STATEMENT FROM LISA BANKS, AND DEBRA KATZ OF KATZ, MARSHALL & BANKS LLP
According to the NFL’s release, the team will pay the fine to support organizations committed to character building, anti-bullying, and related topics. 10 recommendations, made by Wilkinson, will be implemented by Dan, and Tanya Snyder; on training, diversity, reporting of workplace misconduct, and other issues.