Sports

Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder’s lawyers send scathing letter to Congress in wake of ongoing probe

Lawyers representing the Washington Commanders sent a scathing letter to the House Oversight and Reform Committee expressing displeasure about its ongoing workplace misconduct investigation. 

The congressional committee’s eight-month investigation found Commanders owner Dan Snyder played a significant role in fostering a toxic work environment and pointed to evidence that suggested he impeded the NFL’s independent probe into those allegations. 

The nine-page letter aggressively fires back at the probe and was addressed to House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y. The letter characterized the investigation as a “politically inspired hatchet job.”

The letter may be a last-ditch effort by Snyder to shift blame. Commanders’ legal council Holland & Knight wrote the investigation has been unfair and is an attempt to destroy Snyder’s reputation.

Team co-owner Dan Snyder speaks during the announcement of the Washington Football Team's name change to the Washington Commanders at FedEx Field Feb. 2, 2022, in Landover, Md.  

Team co-owner Dan Snyder speaks during the announcement of the Washington Football Team’s name change to the Washington Commanders at FedEx Field Feb. 2, 2022, in Landover, Md.  
(Rob Carr/Getty Images)

“The investigation of the Washington Commanders has not been fair, thorough, or bipartisan, and it certainly hasn’t sought the truth. From the beginning, the Committee set out with a singular purpose — to destroy Dan Snyder and his family and attempt, with deception, innuendo, and half-truths, to drive him from the National Football League,” former Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., a partner at Holland & Knight, wrote in the letter. 

That claim is in direct conflict with the NFL’s findings from 2021.

WASHINGTON OWNER DAN SNYDER CONDUCTED ‘SHAWDOW INVESTIGATION,’ FOSTERED TOXIC CULTURE: HOUSE COMMITTEE

Davis also noted that Snyder denied the allegations made by a former team cheerleader who accused Snyder of sexually harassing her during a work-related event in 2004.

Earlier this year, the NFL launched its second independent probe of the organization this year after allegations were brought to a House Oversight and Reform Committee roundtable discussion.

Congress began investigating the team in October 2021 when allegations of sexual harassment and workplace misconduct arose after then-Raiders head coach Jon Gruden stepped down following the leak of emails with then-Commanders team President Bruce Allen.

Allen was fired in December 2019 after 10 years with the franchise he served in various executive roles.

Team co-owners Dan and Tanya Snyder pose for a photo with former team members during the announcement of the Washington Football Team's name change to the Washington Commanders at FedEx Field Feb. 2, 2022, in Landover, Md.

Team co-owners Dan and Tanya Snyder pose for a photo with former team members during the announcement of the Washington Football Team’s name change to the Washington Commanders at FedEx Field Feb. 2, 2022, in Landover, Md.
(Getty Images)

Snyder refused to testify at a hearing before the U.S. House Committee in June as part of the investigation. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell did offer his testimony before the committee. 

Goodell condemned the workplace culture in Washington but clarified that changes were implemented after the NFL’s investigation. Goodell argued the changes impacted not only Washington but the entire the league.

The commissioner also stressed the league held Snyder accountable, including its assessment of an “unprecedented” $10 million fine on the team.

Following Goodell’s testimony, Snyder did testify before the U.S. House Committee on Oversight for more than 10 hours. However, the deposition was conducted virtually and in private.

It should come as no surprise that NFL officials declined to comment on the letter.

VIRGINIA AG OPENS PROBE INTO WASHINGTON COMMANDERS’ ALLEGED FINANCIAL MISCONDUCT

The strongly-worded letter and the looming conclustion to the congressional probe are happening as other owners and high-ranking NFL executives weigh whether Snyder should continue to own a franchise.

It is unclear if there is a pending vote on Snyder’s future as an owner. Snyder also reportedly faced sexual assault allegations in 2009, and the team paid a woman $1.6 million to settle her claims.

FedEx Field before a game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Washington Football Team Nov. 29, 2021, in Landover, Md.

FedEx Field before a game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Washington Football Team Nov. 29, 2021, in Landover, Md.
(AP Photo/Mark Tenally, File)

The $1.6 million settlement had previously been reported, but the details of the woman’s allegations weren’t disclosed. 

The woman agreed not to sue the team or publicly disclose her allegations as part of the settlement.

According to the letter, Snyder denied the woman’s allegations, and a team investigation accused her of making up the claims in an attempt to extort him.

Snyder, his representatives and the organization have denied all allegations of financial improprieties and workplace misconduct against them.

Snyder has owned the Washington, D.C.-based NFL franchise since 1999. He has temporarily ceded day-to-day operations of the franchise to wife Tanya.

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