Feb 19, 2022 - Sports

NFL hires former SEC chair to investigate Washington Commanders’ owner

Photo: Pete Marovich/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The NFL has hired former Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Mary Jo White to investigate an allegation that the Washington Commanders' owner sexually harassed a team employee over a decade ago.

Driving the news: After the investigation, White will detail her findings in a written report that will then be released publicly, NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy said, according to the AP.

The big picture: The Washington Commanders and owner Dan Snyder have long been embroiled in controversy over the franchise's workplace culture.

  • He was fined $10 million last year after a previous investigation found high-ranking team employees mistreated and sexually harassed women.

How we got here: Former Washington employee Tiffani Johnston testified before Congress earlier this month and alleged that Snyder groped her and made unwanted advances toward her.

  • Snyder denied the allegations and said they were "outright lies."
  • “I unequivocally deny having participated in any such conduct, at any time and with respect to any person," he said.

Between the lines: White's investigation will be made public, something that was not done after the initial investigation into Washington's workplace culture.

  • The House Committee on Oversight and Reform, as well as the team's former employees, have been critical of the NFL's decision to not release documents from the probe.
  • But league commissioner Roger Goodell said he has not done so in order to "protect the anonymity of team employees," AP writes.

Background: White previously investigated Jerry Richardson, the former Carolina Panthers' owner, who was accused of sexual harassment and using a racial slur, ESPN writes.

  • Her probe found him at fault and he was fined $2.75 million.

What they're saying: The Commanders said they would "cooperate fully" with White and would not start their own investigation into the allegations.

  • "Given the Team's confidence in Ms. White's ability to conduct such a full and fair investigation, the Commanders will not separately pursue an investigation and will cooperate fully with Ms. White," the team said in a statement.
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