NFL commissioner Roger Goodell says he has no authority to take away Daniel Snyder as proprietor of the Washington Commanders amid ongoing scrutiny into the group’s office tradition and accusations from girls staff of pervasive sexual harassment by crew executives.
Goodell testified Wednesday earlier than members of Congress at a listening to by the Home Committee on Oversight and Reform. At one level close to the tip of greater than two hours of testimony, Goodell was questioned by Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan), who requested whether or not Goodell and the league are “keen to do extra” to punish Snyder.
After initially asking whether or not he would suggest Snyder’s elimination as proprietor of the Commanders, Tlaib adopted up by asking Goodell: “Will you take away him?”
“I haven’t got the authority to take away him, Congresswoman,” Goodell replied.
An NFL proprietor might be eliminated solely by a three-quarters (so, 24 out of 32) majority vote of fellow house owners, though Goodell does have the power to formally suggest such a vote.
Snyder was invited to testify however declined, citing abroad enterprise commitments and issues about due course of. Committee chair Carolyn Maloney (D-New York) introduced throughout the listening to that she plans to subject a subpoena to compel him to testify.
“The NFL is unwilling or unable to carry Mr. Snyder accountable,” Maloney stated. “That’s the reason I’m saying now my intent to subject a subpoena for Mr. Snyder for a deposition subsequent week. The committee won’t be deterred in its investigation into the Washington Commanders.”
Goodell informed the committee that the crew’s tradition has reworked on account of an investigation led by lawyer Beth Wilkinson and that Snyder “has been held accountable.”
After Wilkinson introduced her findings to Goodell final yr, the NFL fined the crew $ 10 million and Snyder stepped away from its day-to-day operations. Nonetheless, the league didn’t launch a written report of Wilkinson’s findings, a choice Goodell stated was supposed to guard the privateness of former staff who spoke to investigators.
Following Wednesday’s listening to, the Commanders despatched a letter to crew staff – a replica of which was obtained by ESPN – that stated, partially, “We consider the statements which were made within the essential media of our group don’t precisely replicate our constructive transformation and the present actuality of the Washington Commanders group that exists as we speak. “
The committee launched the findings of its eight-month investigation earlier than Wednesday’s listening to began, accusing Snyder of conducting his personal “shadow investigation” that sought to discredit former staff, hiring personal investigators to intimidate witnesses, and utilizing an abroad lawsuit as a pretext to acquire cellphone information and emails.
The 29-page memo alleges Snyder tried to discredit the folks accusing him and different crew executives of misconduct and likewise tried to affect an investigation of the crew performed for the NFL by Wilkinson’s agency.
Snyder’s attorneys introduced the NFL with a 100-slide PowerPoint presentation that included “personal textual content messages, emails, cellphone logs and name transcripts, and social media posts from practically 50 people who Mr. Snyder apparently believed have been concerned in a conspiracy to disparage him.” “The committee stated.
When requested in regards to the alleged “shadow” investigation, Goodell stated: “Any motion that might discourage folks from coming ahead could be inappropriate.”
In an announcement, a spokesperson for Snyder characterised the report and the listening to as “a politically charged present trial” and stated Congress shouldn’t be investigating “a problem a soccer crew addressed years in the past.”
Attorneys Lisa Banks and Debra Katz, who symbolize greater than 40 former crew staff, once more known as on Goodell to launch a report from the Wilkinson probe, calling it “beautiful and disheartening” to listen to him say Snyder has been held accountable.
“Immediately, the committee launched a damning report demonstrating that Snyder and his legal professionals additionally surveyed and investigated complainants, their legal professionals, witnesses and journalists, which Goodell knew about and did nothing to deal with,” Banks and Katz stated in an announcement.
Maloney has launched laws to curb the usage of office nondisclosure agreements and to supply protections for workers whose skilled pictures are used inappropriately. Among the many accusations in opposition to the Commanders are that crew staff produced a video of lewd outtakes from a photograph shoot involving the cheerleading squad.
Republicans on the committee accused Democrats of going after an NFL crew to distract from extra urgent points and exceeding the scope of the committee’s mission.
“A core accountability of this committee is to conduct oversight of the chief department, however this whole Congress, Democrats have turned a blind eye to the Biden administration,” stated Kentucky GOP Rep. James Comer, the committee’s rating member. “As an alternative, the Oversight committee is investigating a single personal group for office misconduct that occurred years in the past.”
Commanders coach Ron Rivera issued an announcement late Wednesday night time, distancing himself from the crew’s previous.
“These investigations into inappropriate office points pre-dates my employment,” stated Rivera, who was employed in 2020. “I can not change the previous, however I might hope that our followers, the NFL and Congress can see that we’re doing the whole lot in Our energy to by no means repeat these office points. And know that our staff are revered, valued and might be heard. “
ESPN’s Tisha Thompson and The Related Press contributed to this report.