Feb 3, 2022 - Sports

NFL audit: Washington team has cleaned up its act

Washington Commanders name unveiling.
Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

The National Football League believes its Washington franchise, now called the Commanders, has solved many of its toxic workplace problems, according to a third-party audit obtained by Axios.

The big picture: The House Oversight Committee will hold a fact-finding hearing today on sexual harassment, intimidation and other misconduct that came to light last year.

  • Those revelations ultimately cost the team $10 million in fines, and prompted owner Daniel Snyder to step down from day-to-day operations.
  • The NFL never released a full report on its investigation into the team, a decision that was widely criticized as letting Snyder dodge accountability, but did retain an outside consultant called Vestry Laight to conduct ongoing audits of the club's workplace. The first audit was completed last October, and the second is dated January 29, 2022.
  • Both audits, plus other documents, were provided to the House committee, which is expected to hear from six former club employees (one of whom didn't cooperate with the NFL's investigation).

The newer report finds significant improvements in most relevant areas, including the process for employees to report misconduct and what happens after such reports are made.

  • It includes detailed discussion of eight substantiated HR investigations begun since the prior audit, including one in which a contractor used an anti-Asian slur and one in which a male dance team member made inappropriate overtures to female dancers. The contractor was not used for the remainder of the season, and the male dancer was fired.
  • Surveys reported improved "culture" and "inclusion index" scores throughout the organization, although women gave the organization lower scores than men.

The bottom line: The audit tells a very positive story about what happened after Snyder stepped back, making it less likely that he'll be allowed to resume control.

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