The NFL and Washington team owner Dan Snyder are pledging to take action, a day after a Washington Post story reported multiple cases of harassment and verbal abuse toward women employed by the team.
Citing accounts from 15 women – most of whom remained anonymous — the Post reported Thursday on several allegations spanning from 2006 to 2019 involving sexual overtures and comments on the appearances of female employees. The women interviewed by the paper named franchise executives as taking part in this behavior.
NPR has not independently verified these reports.
Snyder issued a statement on Friday, saying the alleged behavior “has no place in our franchise or society.” Snyder – who was franchise owner at the time of the reported allegations – also affirmed a “commitment to setting a new culture and standard for our team.”
The statement also mentions Washington attorney Beth Wilkinson, whose firm had been retained by the franchise, member station WAMU confirmed on Thursday.
According to her firm’s website, Wilkinson has counted the NCAA, Bayer and Philip Morris among her clients. She also previously represented the NFL as a lead trial counsel. Snyder said Wilkinson and her firm would conduct a “full, unbiased investigation” and make recommendations.
“Upon completion of [Wilkinson’s] work, we will institute new policies and procedures and strengthen our human resources infrastructure to not only avoid these issues in the future but most importantly create a team culture that is respectful and inclusive of all,” the statement said.
Earlier in the day, the NFL said the alleged abuse was contrary to the organization’s values and promised to take action based on any conclusions reached by Wilkinson and her firm.
“The club has pledged that it will give its full cooperation to the investigator and we expect the club and all employees to do so,” the statement read.
The Post report comes as the team has worked to settle a long-time controversy over its name, viewed as a slur against Native Americans.
On Monday, the franchise announced that it would drop its nickname and logo after completion of a review. The decision came amid mounting pressure from corporate backers including FedEx, whose name is on the team’s stadium.