Congressional inquiry also targets NFL’s use of NDAs

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Press Conference
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The U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform wants to know more about the Washington Football Team workplace misconduct investigation and the manner in which the league handed it. There’s another important, but largely overlooked, aspect of the Congressional inquiry.

The Committee wants to know more about the use of non-disclosure agreements by NFL teams.

Last Thursday’s letter to Commissioner Roger Goodell asks the league to “confirm the number of confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements reported to the NFL, or entered into by the NFL, from January 1, 2016, through the present, including the names of the teams involved, dates of the agreements, and whether the agreements resulted from allegations of discrimination and retaliation.”

The letter also asks this question: “What actions has the NFL taken, if any, regarding the use of confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements in matters related to workplace abuses since January 1, 2016?”

It’s an important subject, because it was the disclosed terms of multiple non-disclosure agreements in late 2017 that resulted in Panthers founder Jerry Richardson promptly deciding to sell the team.

Mary Jo White, whom the league hired to conduct an investigation regarding the Carolina situation, recommended that the league ban the use of NDAs. The league has never said whether it followed her advice.

NFL owners, like other people of extreme means, use NDAs to buy silence. The problem is that, by dangling a stack of cash to resolve potential claims and also buy silence, misconduct never comes to light. However, when certain types of misconduct come to light, owners may end up being forced to sell.

That’s what the league is trying to avoid.

7 responses to “Congressional inquiry also targets NFL’s use of NDAs

  1. Nobody has to sign an NDA. Reject the money offer and make noise instead. Pursue other avenues. Your lawyer might not like it, but you might just change things. Takes courage for sure, tho.

  2. That’s the NFL under Roger…. lies, coverups and garbage. We do live in witch hunt times though…. no one has to prove anything just say it out loud and it makes it true. Scary and sad at the same time how easy it is right now for someone to make allegations against you and your life is destroyed instantly whether you did it or not. In the case of Washington the entire thing should be made public. They made one owner sell his team but are protecting Snyder and whoever else they are protecting. That tells me that this one is REALLY bad or that Roger is buddies with who he is protecting [ie NE owner Kraft]. Make it ALL public, period.

  3. The fact an NDA exists is frequently part of the NDA and thus teams have agreed not to report it. If the NDA results from settlement of a civil action, it will usually be signed off on by a judge and sealed. If an NDA is simply the result of an agreement outside of the judicial process, it may still be exempt from Congressional subpoena. Congress’s subpoena power is the same as a court’s so attorney-client privileged or attorney work product such as the NDA should be off-limits.

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