Jun 23, 2022 - Sports

NFL juggling three high-profile legal challenges

Dan Snyder, Deshaun Watson and Brian Flores.
Dan Snyder, Deshaun Watson and Brian Flores. Photos: Rob Carr/Getty Images; Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images; Michael Reaves/Getty Images

With training camp less than a month away, the NFL is juggling three complex and potentially damaging legal challenges.

1. Daniel Snyder: A congressional hearing, which Snyder declined to attend, was held Wednesday by the House Oversight Committee, which released the findings of its Commanders investigation earlier in the day.

  • Driving the news: The committee found that Snyder conducted a "shadow investigation" in an attempt to discredit his accusers, which the NFL knew about but never tried preventing.
  • What they're saying: "I don't have the authority to remove him," commissioner Roger Goodell told the panel when asked if he will remove Snyder as owner.
  • What's next: Committee chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) will subpoena Snyder for a deposition next week.
Roger Goodell virtually testifies to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Capitol Hill.
Roger Goodell virtually testifies to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Capitol Hill. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

2. Deshaun Watson: 20 of the 24 lawsuits filed against Watson alleging sexual misconduct during massage appointments have been settled.

  • The backdrop: Watson was already cleared of criminal charges, but 24 civil suits remained. Ashley Solis, the first woman who filed suit, was among the four who did not settle.
  • What they're saying: "[She] is one of the heroes of this story," Watson's attorney, Tony Buzbee, said of Solis while lauding her "courage and willingness to come forward."
  • What's next: The settlements have no bearing on Watson's league-issued punishment, which should be announced soon and is expected to be "significant."

3. Brian Flores: The NFL filed a motion on Tuesday requesting that former Dolphins coach Brian Flores' lawsuit alleging racist hiring practices be sent to arbitration.

  • Why it matters: Arbitration would ensure the proceedings and any sensitive information remain private, with Goodell serving as the arbitrator.
  • What they're saying: "Arbitration is privatizing the judicial branch,” said Flores’ lawyer David Gottlieb. "All we're asking for is an open and fair process.”
  • Of note: Jon Gruden, who is also suing the NFL, won a crucial ruling last month that denied the NFL's motions to force arbitration.
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