In WFT letter to Roger Goodell, Congress points to NFL’s “prominent platform” and “national implications” of its actions

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Many will say, as many often do, that Congress has better things to do than to poke around the private investigation conducted by one of the private companies belonging to a private sports league. The NFL, however, isn’t some mom-and-pop operation with limited influence on a small circle of people. The NFL has become a dominant force in American life, with the ability to gather larger live audiences than any other sports or entertainment product.

That’s why Congress is exercising its prerogative, indeed its obligation, to explore the top-secret (except when trying to bring down Raiders coach Jon Gruden) investigation of the Washington Football Team. As explained in Thursday’s letter from the House Committee on Oversight and Reform to Commissioner Roger Goodell, “The NFL has one of the most prominent platforms in America, and its decisions can have national implications.”

The NFL also enjoys a broadcast antitrust exemption, granted decades ago by Congress. This allows the league to sell to the networks the rights to all games in a 32-team bundle, instead of letting (for example) NBC buy the rights only to the home games of the Dallas Cowboys — and relegating less attractive teams to far less lucrative deals. With that Congressional dispensation as to the laws preventing 32 separate companies to behave as one, the NFL would be a far less competitive (and thus far less compelling) product.

Although the Washington Football Team is indeed a private company, it and other teams receive significant public benefits and funding. The teams also rely on intense interest, loyalty, and financial support of the general populace. Thus, the goings-on in the WFT workplace become a matter of clear and obvious public concern.

“The Committee is seeking to fully understand this workplace conduct and the league’s response, which will help inform legislative efforts to address toxic work environments and workplace investigation
processes; strengthen protections for women in the workplace; and address the use of nondisclosure agreements to prevent the disclosure of unlawful employment practices, including sexual harassment,” the letter to Goodell explains.

As the saying goes, the coverup is worse than the crime. In this case, Congress wants to explore both. What happened within the Washington Football Team, and what if anything did the NFL do to minimize the potential consequences that would have flowed from the kind of transparency that we’ve seen in other investigations conducted by the NFL?

When the NFL announced on July 1 the stunning decision to punish WFT owner Daniel Snyder but to reveal no specifics about the investigation, it was reasonable to conclude that full disclosure would make his ongoing ownership of the team untenable. Indeed, disclosure of some of Gruden’s emails made it impossible for him to continue as the head coach of the Raiders.

If Congress can compel the NFL to cooperate, the information that comes to light could force dramatic changes to the landscape of the Washington Football Team. It also could impact those responsible for trying to brush the matter under the rug — with consequences possibly reaching as high on the organizational chart as the person to whom Thursday’s letter was sent.

27 responses to “In WFT letter to Roger Goodell, Congress points to NFL’s “prominent platform” and “national implications” of its actions

  1. Oh how I hope this has legs. Everything about it stinks. Dan Snyder has been a curse on Washington football fans for way too long.

  2. Oh how I hope this has legs. Everything about it stinks. Dan Snyder has been a curse on Washington football fans for way too long. Fire him and Goodell

  3. I can’t think of a worse idea than for conrgess to get involved. Everything they touch is tainted..

  4. Oh boy oh boy, maybe the NFL will force Dan Snyder to sell the WFT! And Bezos will be waiting to buy it! Could anything be better? Cross your fingers and hope there’s something in those 65,000 emails that’s terrible enough to make the NFL force a sale!

  5. Hasn’t Congress done enough damage? These people have too much time on their hands. We need to make Congress a part time job, like it was originally intended.

  6. Doesn’t Congress have bigger issues to address and focus on?

    You know the old saying “ the opposite of PROgress is CONgress” seems to apply here

  7. The country is a mess but somehow the internal affairs of the NFL is a congressional priority.

  8. The biggest issue of all in this case is who is leaking the emails? While I agree with transparency, someone, probably an individual from the NFL, took it upon themselves to publicly release emails that were outside the scope of a private investigation. While the whole WFT investigation should absolutely be transparent, how is it not a major issue that private company documents (I understand that they were on an employer’s email server), but not even related to the case, got leaked to the media? The ironic part is that even if the NFL knows who it is (and I highly suspect that they do), they probably won’t do a thing about it, fearing that their own email history that may turn up and ultimately their own reputations. They want this to go away.

  9. Anybody who has paid attention to House Committees should know this is a huge waste of tax payers money and will be the biggest clown show. Plus it will not do anything.

  10. Just Here So I Don’t Get Fined says:
    October 21, 2021 at 11:00 pm
    The biggest issue of all in this case is who is leaking the emails?

    No, the biggest issue is the discriminatory actions and attitudes that have been proven to have been displayed by Gruden and Allen. The issue of who leaked the emails is quite interesting, not the most important. In fact, the person or people who leaked the evidence should be commended for doing so.

  11. What is the criminal behavior they are expecting to uncover? Is it about the workplace harassment?

  12. mike624 says:
    October 21, 2021 at 7:42 pm
    I feel a huge Hammer is about to come down.

    Problem is it’s NEVER on the right people…….always some underling. Powerful rich people don’t get into trouble. Double standard in the law…… if you have money you are treated MUCH differently. That’s been proven over and over again.

  13. Good! About time Sleazy Snyder and Roger the Dodger had some external heat applied to them. Anything that can help get rid of Snyder is a good thing for Washington fans.

  14. Ever watch Congerssional Hearings? Most of the people being questioned are guilty as heck, but nothing ever comes of it… and both sides of the aisle just bicker.

    It’s all grandstanding to keep your attention off of the real problems they don’t solve, while making it look like they are solving problems….

  15. And this is what the NFL should have been avoiding all along. You now have a bunch of partisan, inept, bureaucrats involved in your business. Individuals who collectively could not organize a one car parade without damaging the car. And then to top it off blame the entire mess on someone not even around.

  16. Just Here So I Don’t Get Fined says:
    October 21, 2021 at 11:00 pm
    The biggest issue of all in this case is who is leaking the emails?…

    The NFL front office leaked like a sieve during the Deflategate investigation (and that was not, I’m sure, by accident). So we have another situation where selective leaks are targeted at someone as purely collateral damage.

    Gruden had harsh words for Goodell, and a person in Roger’s position isn’t going to take that lightly.

    But the idea that the NFL could selectively destroy Gruden while remaining mute on an investigation of a toxic work environment where 40 employees complained (which means there were probably dozens more who were afraid to speak up) just speaks to the NFL’s overall hubris.

    Big organizations bungle stuff like this so often because I think they just believe that they can do whatever they want. They’re out of touch with reality.

  17. I hope this exposes a wide web of corporate corruption in the NFL. All of us have seen shady things happening under the Goodell regime. If this sport is going to be a model of integrity, as it proclaims itself to be, then light needs to shine on every dark spot. As always happens. Those who proclaim integrity the loudest are usually the ones found out for HUGE failings. We all know the NFL has been hiding skeletons for a long time. Time to unearth as many as we can. If it is the death of the NFL, so be it. The game will endure

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