On Wednesday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell testified before the House Oversight Committee as part of an investigation into the alleged toxic workplace environment at the Washington Commanders.
The investigation revolves around team owner Dan Snyder, who has been accused of several instances of inappropriate workplace behavior. The committee’s Chairwoman, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), announced her intention to issue a subpoena to Snyder to appear before the committee for a deposition next week.
“Billionaire owners or political posturing will not deter us,” Maloney said in her closing remarks. “The victims are demanding answers, and we are all demanding justice.”
The hearing on Wednesday lasted about two hours and 28 minutes. Details about a 2009 sexual assault allegation against Snyder emerged on Tuesday, in which a female employee accused Snyder of asking her for sex, groping her, and attempting to remove her clothes on a private area of one of the team’s planes returning from a business trip to Las Vegas.
This was Goodell’s sixth appearance before a Congressional committee, and his first since 2009. Snyder declined to testify through his attorney, stating that he was out of the country due to a “longstanding Commanders-related business conflict.”
During Wednesday’s hearing, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) questioned NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell about removing Daniel Snyder as owner of the Washington Commanders.
“I don’t have the authority to remove him, Congresswoman,” Goodell replied.
Snyder could only be removed from the NFL’s ownership group by a vote of his peers, according to league rules. To remove Snyder as owner, votes from 24 owners — three-fourths of the NFL’s ownership group — would be required.
Last month, USA TODAY Sports reported that some owners are growing dissatisfied with Snyder’s leadership in Washington.
Later, Goodell was asked to compare the Commanders’ workplace environment to others that had previously been investigated.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) questioned NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell about the Washington Commanders’ decision to fine defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio for recent comments he made referring to the Jan. 6 attack on the United States Capitol as a “dust-up.”
On June 10, Washington coach Ron Rivera announced a $100,000 fine against Del Rio.
Jordan then pressed Goodell, attempting to draw a comparison between the Del Rio fine and the allegations of sexual misconduct and inappropriate workplace interactions leveled against Commanders owner Dan Snyder. In response, Goodell stated that Del Rio’s remarks “did not rise to the occasion of what we’re discussing today.”
During an exchange with Roger Goodell, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) stated that she intends to issue a subpoena to obtain testimony from Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder, who declined to appear at Wednesday’s hearing.
Rep. Maloney had asked Goodell if he planned to discipline Snyder for failing to appear before Congress. Goodell stated that it is not his responsibility to compel Snyder to testify. Maloney then stated that she intended to issue a Committee deposition for Snyder.
Snyder stated through an attorney that he was unable to appear due to a “longstanding Commanders-related business conflict.” His attorneys also inquired about the scope and nature of the questions he would face.
In his opening statement to a Congressional hearing on Wednesday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell acknowledged that the workplace in Washington was “unprofessional and unacceptable in numerous aspects,” but he did not indicate that the league would make public the full details of the league’s investigation into the organization.
The league “did not receive a written report” from the investigation led by attorney Beth Wilkinson, according to Goodell, citing a promise of confidentiality to those who were asked to come forward.
Goodell also stated that the Commanders organization’s workplace environment has improved.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) chastised Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder for failing to appear at Wednesday’s hearing in a prepared opening statement.