Two members of Congress sent a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Thursday requesting information and documents pertaining to the league’s investigation of a toxic work culture within the Washington Football Team.

In the letter, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-NY, and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-IL, express concerns about the NFL’s handling of the WFT investigation, which lasted nearly a year but did not result in a written report.

They requested the League to turn over all communications and documents related to their investigation to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform no later than Nov. 4.

We are concerned about the widespread abuse of workplaces.

conduct at the WFT and about the NFL’s handling of this matter,” Reps. Maloney and Krishnamoorthi wrote in part of the letter. 

“Communications between league management and WFT leadership also raise questions about the league’s asserted impartiality in these investigations. We are also deeply concerned by reports that non-disclosure arrangements were used to conceal improper behavior. This includes conduct prohibited under federal law, such as Title VII, the Civil Rights Act.

NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy confirmed to USA TODAY Sports that the league had received the letter from Rep. Maloney, the chair of the House committee, and said the NFL “(shares) her concern that all workplaces should be free from any form of harassment and discrimination.”

McCarthy said in an email that “We look forward speaking with her office soon.”

The WFT probe has come under renewed scrutiny in recent weeks after The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times reported on a batch of 650,000 emails that investigators uncovered as part of their work – some of which included racist, homophobic and misogynistic language.

These emails were exchanged between 2011 and 2018, and mostly involve Bruce Allen, then-Washington executive and Jon Gruden (then-ESPN broadcaster). Gruden signed later a $100million contract to be the Las Vegas Raiders’ head coach. When the emails were revealed, Gruden quit that position earlier in this month.

The New York Times reported that another group of the emails illustrated a cozy relationship between Allen and NFL general counsel Jeff Pash – who, as the league’s top lawyer, is ultimately responsible for overseeing investigations such as the one into the WFT.

The WFT investigation, which was led by Beth Wilkinson, an attorney, and her firm began in 2020, following a series reports from The Washington Post. The newspaper received more than 12 complaints from female employees that they had been sexually harassed and verbally abused during their time working with the team owned by Daniel Snyder.

Washington engaged Wilkinson as an investigator to examine the culture of the team. However, the NFL took over the investigation. It concluded that the culture within the team was “highly unprofessional” and issued a series of sanctions – including a $10 million fine.

The league released a summary of findings from the WFT probe, but it did not solicit Wilkinson to write a report. This was due to confidentiality concerns. In the time since, it provided few details. 

However, after the Gruden emails were published, many of the women who spoke with investigators called for the league’s release of 650,000 emails as well as an in-depth report of its findings. NFLPA has also asked the league for the email release. It has yet to indicate that the NFL will release these emails.

Now, two members of Congress are asking for those emails – as well as additional information about the WFT investigation, and the NFL’s handling of it.

The letter from Reps. Maloney and Krishnamoorthi also seeks information about how the league handles confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements more broadly. The Congresspeople ask, among other things, that the NFL provide a list of all such agreements reported to or orchestrated by the league since Jan. 1, 2016, “including the names of the teams involved, dates of the agreements, and whether the agreements resulted from allegations of discrimination and retaliation.”

Tom Schad, [email protected] and on Twitter @Tom_Schad



Source: USAToday.com

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