The investigation into the Washington Football Team has concluded. The conclusions were provided, but the facts supporting them will not be.
Two lawyers who represent multiple former employees of the team have blasted the decision to keep the details of the misbehavior secret.
“In response to a year-long investigation in which more than 100 witnesses were interviewed, and which we believe substantiated our clients’ allegations of pervasive harassment, misogyny and abuse at the Washington Football Team, the NFL has chosen to protect owner Dan Snyder,” lawyers Lisa Banks and Debra Katz said in a statement issued to Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post. “Ignoring our requests that it make the report prepared by Beth Wilkinson public, the NFL has chosen instead to receive only an oral report of the findings and to find Dan Snyder what amounts to pocket change. That is truly outrageous, and is a slap in the face to the hundreds of women and former employees who came forward in good faith and at great personal risk to report a culture of abuse at all levels of the Team, including by Snyder himself. The NFL has effectively told survivors in this country and around the world that it does not care about them or credit their experiences. Female fans, and fans of goodwill everywhere, take note.”
The league justifies its refusal to provide any details by claiming that some of the witnesses were reluctant to come forward without such assurances. How many? We don’t know, and we won’t know. With more than 150 people interviewed, knowing how many witnesses conditioned their cooperation on complete and total confidentiality becomes critical. Was it a handful? Was it half? We don’t know, and we won’t know.
What if the same conclusions could have been reached about the toxic environment without cooperation from those who opposed the potential release of the details of their claims? What if, in other words, the evidence was so clear from others who spoke without reservation that the people who wanted complete confidentiality weren’t needed? We don’t know, and we won’t know.
It’s hard not to think, as Banks and Katz allege, that the league is protecting Snyder. As previously explained, if all details were reduced to writing and released to the public, the reaction to those details likely would leave the league with no choice but to force Daniel Snyder to sell the team.