It’s been a year and four days since the NFL announced the results of the Wilkinson study of the cesspool, that’s the workplace of the Washington Commanders†
In a signature show of hubris, the competition sent the news on the eve of the July 4 weekend, as if the 24-hour news cycle and smartphones hadn’t existed for over a decade, and anyone with even a passing interest in the competition wouldn’t mind. have any idea what happened because they were too busy buying more burger buns and oohing and aahing at fireworks.
The ‘discipline’, as it was, was a joke.
The cover-up, however: that still seems very real.
Because a year and four days since the NFL owner’s class and its obscenely compensated lackey, Roger Goodell, refused to provide meaningful details about what that supposedly expensive investigation found, and months after Goodell used the ridiculous excuse of some victims who favored anonymity as the reason why their findings were not made public – as if using Jane Doe or other pseudonyms were not an option – we learned that Washington’s Dan Snyder was reportedly heavily involved into what happened in his offices.
It was easy to make that assumption, especially since there are 20 years of stories describing Snyder as a micromanager at best and a megalomaniac bully at worst, and Snyder’s frequent statements that any accusation against him is a “blatant lie”, always gave the smell of protesting too much.
But the trickle of information that has come out over the past 369 days has actually suggested that Snyder wasn’t batting an eyelid; he was the leader.
The last one came a few days ago, via another Washington Post storythis includes findings from the documents released by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, which began its own investigation into Snyder’s team workplace last fall.
Through the Post, Snyder was an active participant in the toxicity and subordinates followed suit, the slime that ran downhill from the top. The team’s former chief operating officer, Dave Pauken, testified that Snyder repeatedly suggested that Pauken “must be gay” because, according to Snyder, the women in the cheerleading squad were ugly. The team was under Pauken’s jurisdiction.
Pauken also testified that when he suggested that the choreography for cheerleaders be less suggestive and their costumes less risqué, Snyder would mock him in front of colleagues, and Pauken revealed that Snyder insisted that women be fired for participating in consensual, inter office relationships while the men involved in those relationships were never punished.
Timpani and others have said that in their experience, Snyder’s claim that he was “handsless” in the office could not be further from the truth.
Another former COO, Brian Lafemina, testified that when a woman made a credible charge of misconduct against then-played voice Larry Michael in 2018, Snyder brushed it off because he adored Michael.
One woman, who had worked in team offices and had been a cheerleader, said that after she came forward with her story, someone associated with the team hired a private detective to show up at her front door to ask her questions. That woman said she knew at least a handful of others who had experienced the same situation as a PI who spoke to them at home.
Remember that in 2009, Washington paid a $1.6 million settlement to a female former employee to settle a sexual misconduct allegation against Snyder, and Tiffani Johnston, another former employee, told committee members earlier this year that she had been the victim of unwanted physical contact from Snyder.
The only reason we know much about this is because members of the US House of Representatives had to get involved.
When the NFL oversaw an investigation, it was either so indifferent to the harmful environment in Washington’s workplace or so determined to protect Snyder that it required independent counsel Beth Wilkinson not to prepare a written report.
We’re going to repeat that, because that level of opacity will always be stunning: They demanded that Wilkinson not prepare a written report.
Goodell appeared before the House Oversight Committee last month, but so far: Snyder refuses to comply with subpoena†
Because nothing screams “I’m innocent” like turning down a subpoena from Congress and even refusing to meet the committee remotely.
Which brings us all back to the same questions we’ve had for the past year and four days: Why are Goodell and the NFL owner class protecting Snyder so fiercely? Are they okay with what he’s being accused of? Do some of them worry about the same kinds of stories about their own behavior and therefore let this steady stream of bad news go unnoticed? Is this kind of rank toxicity common in NFL workplaces?
Do they really think they can’t find another annoying billionaire to buy the Commanders, someone who is apparently less threatening to women and doesn’t enjoy belittling employees with bigoted taunts?
And the question that never goes away: If this behavior continues, will the NFL finally stop repeating the lie that it cares about women’s health and well-being?
The headlines surrounding this scandal have not stopped, and there is no indication that it will happen anytime soon. Snyder is in hiding and his co-owners have shown no inclination to force him into the light or force him out of their club.
If the last 369 days have shown us anything, it’s that Dan Snyder wasn’t innocent.
But the NFL is happy to protect him.