Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder fostered a toxic workplace culture where employees were afraid to speak out over fear of relation and launched a “shadow investigation” meant to discredit accusers and witnesses during the NFL’s independent investigation, according to a memo released by the U.S. House Oversight Committee.
The 29-page memo was released Wednesday morning, just hours before NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was set to testify at a hearing. The memo summarized the committee’s eight-month-long investigation into accusations of a toxic workplace environment within the organization and the NFL’s subsequent investigation.
Evidence collected by the committee included testimony that said Snyder “refused to take action” against a member of the Washington coaching staff who was accused of groping another employee, instead advising the victim to “stay away from the coach.”
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One former employee also claimed that employees were afraid to speak out “because they had seen so many others lose their jobs.”
The memo also alleged that Snyder sent private investigators to the homes of former cheerleaders and witnesses meant to intimidate and deter them from participating in the NFL’s investigation or offer them “hush money.”
The committee also found that Snyder’s lawyers built a 100-page slide dossier meant to discredit his accusers and journalists who reported on the allegations which were then presented to Beth Wilkinson during her independent investigation.
The memo also cast doubt on the NFL’s handling of its own investigation, alleging a “back door” agreement between Snyder and the NFL which allowed him access into Wilkinson’s independent probe.
“According to documents obtained by the committee, the NFL entered into a secret agreement with the Commanders that allowed them to pursue a ‘joint legal strategy,’” the memo read.
“This agreement, known as a common interest agreement, afforded Mr. Snyder a back-channel to block the release of information and make confidential presentations designed to steer the course of the investigation. The Commanders informed the committee that Mr. Snyder continued to receive periodic updates throughout the course of the Wilkinson Investigation.”
Congress launched an investigation into the team’s workplace culture after an independent review, overseen by the league, prompted a $10 million fine, but did not include a written report to be released to the public.
Snyder will not appear before the Committee hearing on Wednesday while Goodell will appear virtually.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.