NFL plans to defer to the lawyer Daniel Snyder has hired

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The stage is set for Daniel Snyder to emerge from the biggest scandal of his two-plus decades years of ownership without facing serious scrutiny from the league office.

The inescapable clue appears smack dab in the middle of the league’s statement in response to the Washington Post article regarding 15 former female employees who claim that they were the victims of sexual harassment while working for the Washington franchise: “Washington has engaged outside counsel to conduct a thorough investigation into these allegations. The club has pledged that it will give its full cooperation to the investigator and we expect the club and all employees to do so. We will meet with the attorneys upon the conclusion of their investigation and take any action based on their findings.”

Washington has engaged outside counsel, not the NFL. Outside counsel always has a duty to outside counsel’s client. Here, outside counsel’s client is Washington. More specifically, the client is Snyder. Outside counsel undoubtedly will not make findings that include, for example, placing significant blame on Snyder for creating, tolerating, encouraging, and/or failing to rectify a toxic culture that resulted in these allegations.

Amazingly, the league has decided both to allow and to embrace this approach. Did the Saints get to hire their own lawyer to investigate the bounty scandal? Did the Dolphins get to hire their own lawyer to investigate the Richie Incognito/Jonathan Martin situation? Did the Patriots get to hire their own lawyer to investigate the Tom Brady air-pressure allegations? Far more relevant to the current situation, did the Panthers get to hire their own lawyer to investigate the allegations of misconduct that eventually forced team founder Jerry Richardson to sell?

The table in this case already is set for the outside counsel to find Snyder blameless, primarily because none of the 15 former female employees made accusations against him. Yes, it may take some smart lawyering to insulate Snyder without making him look like a nincompoop for not knowing what was happening under his nose, but he has hired a smart lawyer.

Tied closely to whether the lawyer hired by Snyder will conclude that Snyder has significant responsibility for the workplace environment in the workplace he owns comes the question of whether and to what extent the investigation will feature transparency. If/when (when) the league and/or the team decide to provide little or nothing by way of details because the situation deals with “personnel matters,” there will be no way to check outside counsel’s work in order to determine whether a fair, even-handed investigation and analysis occurred as it relates to Snyder’s role, responsibility, and accountability.

But the answer already is known. Washington, not the NFL, has hired outside counsel. The NFL has accepted and endorsed that approach. The chances of Snyder himself ultimately being responsible for anything that happened during his 21 years of owning the team are, at this point, very small.

40 responses to “NFL plans to defer to the lawyer Daniel Snyder has hired

  1. seriously? they overlook this and make up stuff about bounties and deflating footballs? Yeah great integrity Roger. Gues I shouldn’t be surprised, but they keep going lower and lower into the depths of depravity

  2. Whoever pays you gets the worm. The league office has tried to find an independent investigator in the past and it’s failed

  3. Snyder agreed to change the name, so now the NFL gives him the benefit of the doubt and allows him to handle this in house while they look the other way. Nothing to see here folks. Please buy the merchandise with the new name.

  4. Penalize the people who committed the mis-deeds. Don’t go after someone just because you don’t like him. That is a very, very dangerous slippery slope. Hold people accountable for their own actions. Dan Snyder has enough other things to pick on. Snyder fired the guys who were going the bad stuff.

  5. I don’t think many people had Snyder in the category of “Not a Clueless Nincompoop Owner” prior to this, so not much to insulate him from there. It’s likely the only route for them to take. That it is also likely the truth just makes things cleaner.

  6. Look, Snyder has obviously presided over one of the most dysfunctional cultures in sports and this is one more example of that.

    With that said, stop a moment and consider how widespread and prevalent sexual harrassment in the workplace is in the United States. Based on the fact that you see this in many, many businesses, you have to figure that this happens to varying degrees all over the league as well. If you come down on Snyder now and force him to sell — even if he is not PERSONALLY implicated — then you are setting a precedent you may have to consider the next time this happens.

    I know that fans of other teams probably don’t believe this is possible on their team, but just think for a moment about what the Me Too movement has uncovered and how widespread harrassment is. Don’t be so sure it’s not on “your” team.

    Snyder and Washington should definitely pay the price for their crimes here. If laws have been broken, then need to be prosecuted. And Snyder already is paying the ultimate price for his dysfunctional culture via decades of losing and business failure. Any addition to this by the league should be thought through very judiciously.

  7. Thank you NFL for allowing Snyder to remain in as owner of the Redtails.

    – the rest of the NFC east

  8. Translation- The NFL will not investigate. They will accept the conclusions of the report of the lawyer who is being paid by Mr. Snyder.

    2nd Translation. Cover up mode is in effect. Enjoy the gaslighting.

  9. The team should be known as the Washington Whatevers.

    What a God Awful little man.

  10. Regardless of the impotent response from the NFL this isn’t going away . The NFL ignored the demands that Washington change it’s racist name but outside pressure succeeded where the NFL failed . Have a feeling we will see the same scenario here as well .

  11. These employees should thus consider the NFL complicit in creating hostile work environments and start filing lawsuits.

    This is an outrageous action by the NFL. I guess they fail to grasp the significance of sexual harassment and the level of personal responsibility that will be pinned to these employer’s representatives.

    A skilled attorney will not accept the NFL’s position – the court system will be very busy and the NFL just added themselves to the legal process. I hope the women are millionaires after this is done.

    And, with the NFL now making this statement, I can assure you that 31 other teams will be implicated for even the slightest infractions. This is not an isolated situation – male athletes are notorious for never being held accountable – I’m sure there are players who have done worse.

    Pop the popcorn – this is going to get messy faat!

  12. Obviously balls losing air because they went in cold weather weather is far more egregious.
    NFL showing their true colors and this is disgusting

  13. Synder threw money at it and fixed the problem with the NFL. Will that work with what are left of the fans?

  14. The name change occurred because corporate sponsors were threatening to spend their money else where. But I wondered why it happened so fast. Now I get it. Snyder had to know this was coming.

    I don’t think he likely did anything to warrant him to be forced out. But the way this “investigation” is set up, I doubt we’ll really know.

    Please, NFL, don’t call this an investigation when you just accept the findings of the team’s own lawyer! Just call it like it is. That being, “We have enough on our plate as it stands with the upcoming season. We don’t think this is a priority.”

  15. Anyone else remember when the NFL hired Mueller to investigate itself, and see if the NFL saw the Ray Rice video that was everywhere before the NFL gave out a slap on the wrist to Rice? I do. It was ok for Goodell then, its ok for Synder now.
    But what a joke Mueller was, said whatever Goodell paid him to. The country should have been warned then what a fraud Mueller is.

  16. Told ya.

    I can predict Goodell’s every move because I know what he want$.

    Pats have never cheated. Don’t force me to post Cowher’s comments again.

  17. Very disappointed with the NFL’s totally lame response. I hope the Post keeps digging and embarrasses the league for not taking more credible action.

  18. Snyder making fun of one of his employees for being a cheerleader in college is pretty rich coming from someone 5 ft tall. Tells you all you need to know about this org. Hope Ron changes the locks on him, but if history tells us anything, Ron will be done in two years.

  19. Not to defend perhaps the worst owner in professional sports, but if you think Washington is the only place this has happens you’re sorely mistaken. Much like racism, it’s systematic and it’s part of the NFL culture, with perhaps a handful of exceptions. You’re talking about billionaires who routinely get whatever they want and aren’t used to being told what to do or how to act.

    It will take some strong individuals (like Rivera I believe) to rid us of this. Much luck to him.

  20. Strip them of a first round pick in 2021.

    Also, each NFL team should get to borrow Chase Young for one game over the next two years before he’s allowed to suit up for Washington.

  21. Snyder fired the guys who were going the bad stuff.
    Yes, after he knew the crap was soon going to hit the fan. Up until then he allowed it to go on….for years apparently.

  22. I doubt this means anything. Run it next to the story about how the NFL could force Snyder to sell and I think it becomes clearer that one story – as bad as it is – is really a chapter in the book of a guy who simply does not belong in the NFL. Let the courts handle the harrassment, and show the leadership to get this guy out.

  23. Cue Whitewash. The lawyer bills a lot hours and makes a ton of money. She gets paid millions to say “culture isn’t good here, need new HR department, Danny didn’t commit misconduct.” Can’t we dispense with this whole pointless charade and just release this “report” right now?

  24. Snyder was aware of the sexual harassment. He would have had to sign off on many of the NDAs that were signed.

    It looks like Snyder is just a rich guy with no skills. His organization is a mess and the team has been floundering for years.

    It’ll good to see a new owner…one that is willing to work to build a class organization.

  25. bajer says:
    July 17, 2020 at 8:23 am
    seriously? they overlook this and make up stuff about bounties and deflating footballs?
    Solid evidence in all of the above.

  26. Now that we have the benefit of hindsight, it looks like Snyder agreed to change the name in exchange for being able to investigate himself on this sexual harassment issue and thus guarantee he won’t be forced out. Quid pro quo.

  27. The NFL should do the same thing that they did with the Panthers and the Panthers owner to be consistent, but I’m too lazy to research what was done in that matter.

  28. Roger Goodell is a national joke, and the owners aren’t far behind for allowing it. It would be extremely deserving if the public turns away and their market share dwindles.

  29. In other news we have have hired the fox to investigate the allegations concerning the hen house.

  30. So much for Goodell’s much touted “level playing field for all 32 teams” crap.

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