- The House Committee on Oversight and Reform held a hearing on Washington’s NFL team on Wednesday.
- Commanders owner Dan Snyder, who is at the heart of the misconduct allegations, declined to testify before Congress.
- In place, Representative Carolyn Maloney said he “chose to leave the city” and take his “luxury yacht” to France.
Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder refused to testify before Congress during the US House of Representatives hearing on his team’s ‘hostile work culture’ and the NFL’s ‘inadequate response’ .
And House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney criticized Snyder for his absence on Wednesday, especially after learning he was away on vacation.
“Rather than showing up and taking responsibility for one’s actions, [Snyder] chose to leave town,” the New York Democrat said in her opening statement. “Apparently Mr. Snyder is in France, where he has docked his luxury yacht near a resort town. That should tell you how much he respects women in the workplace.”
“Mr. Snyder’s absence is all the more telling as the Committee today released new evidence that Mr. Snyder himself fostered the toxic workplace of commanders,” she added. .
Evidence cited by Maloney details Snyder’s efforts to defend “male executives accused of sexual harassment” while simultaneously taking steps to fire “women — but not men — who had relationships with other employees.” She said the committee concluded the 57-year-old billionaire had instituted “a culture of fear” to deter employees from reporting misconduct.
A former employee told investigators that Snyder’s approach involved intimidation, firing and bribery.
“For more than two decades, Dan Snyder refused to protect the women who worked for him from the toxic culture he created,” Maloney said. “The NFL also failed to protect these women. Now, I believe it’s up to Congress to protect them, and millions more like them.”
Maloney has introduced two bills in an effort to combat toxic workplace cultures like the one congressional investigators have found bloodied the ranks of commanding officers for years.
The Workplace Misconduct Liability Act intends “to require employers to conduct thorough investigations and share the results with victims” while prohibiting employers from burying wrongdoing through non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) like the ones Snyder is known to employ in the workplace of commanders.
The second bill – a response to the team’s creation of “lewd cheerleading videos for the private enjoyment of Dan Snyder” – would ban employers from using professional images of their employees without express consent.
Maloney said she wanted to hold Snyder accountable in a way the NFL does not. During the hearing, she announced her intention to subpoena the owner of the Commanders to testify before the committee as early as next week.
“Mr. Snyder’s refusal to testify sends a clear signal that he is more concerned with protecting himself than telling the truth to the American public,” Maloney said. “If the NFL doesn’t want to hold Mr. Snyder accountable, then I’m prepared to do so.”
“The Committee will not be deterred in its investigation to uncover the truth about workplace misconduct among Washington commanders,” she added.