Jets owner Woody Johnson, who currently serves as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom, continues to face potential problems arising from allegations of inappropriate workplace comments that emerged last month.
Via Rich Cimini of ESPN.com, a report released Wednesday by the U.S. State Department, via its Officer of the Inspector General, recommends a more thorough review of the situation, along with the possibility of “appropriate action,” if deemed necessary.
The report, 39 pages in length, cites no specific examples but still suggests an investigation as to whether Johnson complied with applicable federal policies.
The report also includes a denial from Johnson of any misconduct: “If I have unintentionally offended anyone in the execution of my duties, I deeply regret that, but I do not accept that I have treated employees with disrespect or discriminated in any way. My objective is to lead the highly talented team at Mission UK to execute the President’s policies and to do so in a way that is respectful of our differences, with zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind.” Johnson’s denial likewise pointed out that no official complaints have been filed against him during his time with the State Department.
Last month, CNN reported that Johnson, according to multiple sources, “made racist generalizations about Black men and questioned why the Black community celebrates Black History Month.” As to a 2018 event for Black History Month, Johnson reportedly “appeared agitated and asked if the audience would be ‘a whole bunch of Black people.’” Three unnamed sources told CNN that Johnson “argued that Black fathers didn’t remain with their families and that was the ‘real challenge.’” One source told CNN that an official who heard the comments was “stunned,” and that the incident was documented and reported.
The Fritz Pollard Alliance has characterized the allegations as serious and deeply troubling. The NFL, however, has not said that it will investigate the situation, instead referring all inquiries to the U.S. State Department.