Washington Football Team owner Daniel Snyder made pointed efforts to curtail the NFL’s investigation into widespread allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace against his franchise, according to Will Hobson and Liz Clarke of The Washington Post.
In summer 2020, after the probe into Washington’s workplace culture had already begun, investigators learned of a decade-plus old accusation of misconduct against Snyder himself. Upon investigator Beth Wilkinson attempting to reach out to Snyder’s alleged victim, The Post reports that his lawyers attempted to keep the former team employee from taking part in any interviews by offering her financial compensation beyond the $1.6 million she was granted in 2009 after signing a non-disclosure agreement.
The woman’s lawyer reportedly filed a sealed letter in federal court alleging Snyder’s silencing of his purported victim.
According to these people, the woman’s lawyer, Brendan Sullivan, accused Snyder’s lawyers of offering his client more money beyond the $1.6 million the team paid in 2009, if she agreed not to speak to anyone about her allegations against Snyder and her settlement with the team. In court filings, Wilkinson later described phone calls to Sullivan from Snyder’s lawyers as an attempt to “silence” the 2009 accuser. Wilkinson and Sullivan declined to comment.
Snyder’s lawyers responded by filing their own sealed letter in court denying the allegation.
After The Post published its story, A. Scott Bolden, part of Snyder’s representation with law firm Reed Smith, released a statement calling the report “untrue,” outright denying that any efforts were made to keep Snyder’s alleged victim from speaking with investigators.
Snyder has publicly expressed support for the probe into allegations of workplace sexual misconduct against the Washington Football Team. However, The Post also reports that Snyder’s lawyers filed petitions in court to identify team employees who were granted anonymity for speaking with reporters about the issue. Furthermore, private investigators working on Snyder’s behalf purportedly showed up at the homes of former team employees uninvited or made contact with their friends and relatives, outreach the former employees describe as an intimidation tactic to discourage them from participating in the NFL’s probe.
The investigation into Washington Football Team began in July and remains ongoing. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has decided against making any information gleaned from it public, though the potential involvement of Congress could eventually bring some findings of the investigation to light.