Apr 6, 2022 - Sports

6 states threaten to investigate NFL over treatment of female employees

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaking in New York City in October 2021.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks in New York City in October 2021. Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Robin Hood Foundation

The attorneys general of six states threatened to investigate the National Football League's treatment of female employees in a letter sent Tuesday to Commissioner Roger Goodell, saying they have "grave concerns about the recent allegations" against the league.

Why it matters: The accusations against the NFL stem from a February report published by the New York Times in which more than 30 women described their experience working at the NFL.

  • The women in the report described a corporate culture that demoralized some female employees and left some feeling sidelined, despite a 2014 promise from Goodell to increase support for women in the league after a video emerged showing former running back Ray Rice physically abusing his fiancée.

What they're saying: The attorneys general of New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon and Washington told Goodell they are "deeply committed to enforcing federal, state, and local anti-discrimination laws that protect workers and further equality of opportunity for employees throughout our states."

  • "We all watched in horror in 2014 when the video of Ray Rice striking, knocking out and spitting on his fiancée was made public. In the aftermath, you promised to take gender violence seriously and improve the institutional culture for women at the NFL," they added. "These recent allegations suggest that you have not."
  • "All of this is entirely unacceptable and potentially unlawful," they warned. "Our offices will use the full weight of our authority to investigate and prosecute allegations of harassment, discrimination, or retaliation by employers throughout our states, including at the National Football League."

The big picture: The league was sued in February for racial discrimination in its hiring practices by former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores, and the league has for decades been criticized for its lack of Black coaches.

Go deeper: NFL launches committee to review diversity hiring policies

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