Amid claims of lies and deceit by Roger Goodell, NFL says it will review and respond to new letter from Congress

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The U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform ratcheted up the pressure on the NFL on Friday, sending Commissioner Roger Goodell a letter that disclosed the existence of key documents regarding the investigation of the Washington Commanders workplace by attorney Beth Wilkinson. The NFL issued a public response on Friday afternoon.

“We have received the Committee’s letter,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said. “We will review it and respond to them. We will continue to cooperate, as we have throughout the investigation. To date, we have shared nearly 80,000 pages of documents and made many others available for the Committee to review, in addition to responding to questions from the Committee, both in writing and in the course of numerous discussions. The Committee has requested many documents which are clearly protected by the attorney-client privilege or are attorney-work product. The League, and not the team, has and will determine which information it is in a position to produce.”

The problem is that, as shown by the letter engaging Wilkinson’s firm and the “Common Interest Agreement” between the league and the team, these privileges will empower the NFL and the Commanders to keep the most revealing materials secret. Any documents containing anything that can arguably be characterized as seeking or communicating legal advice will be withheld under the attorney-client privilege. Any documents reflecting the mental impressions of Wilkinson or her team (ideas, strategies, findings, conclusions, recommendations, for example) will be withheld under the work-product doctrine.

These privileges arise because the entire investigation was set up not to get to the truth and expose it, but to get to the truth and bury it. Wilkinson has hired to ultimately protect the interests of the NFL and the Commanders, sifting through facts and evidence and eventually advising the league and team on what to do about it. Not from the perspective of doing what it right or proper for the former employees or the public interest, but from the perspective of protecting the golden goose and its many eggs.

Attorneys Lisa Banks and Debra Katz, who represent more than 40 former employees of the team (including all who testified on Thursday), used far more aggressive language in a statement issued to Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post.

They said that, at the same time Goodell pledged “a fair and impartial investigation to our clients, and encourag[ed] them to put their fears of retaliation aside to provide evidence to investigators, [he] had already sold them out.” They said that the league and the team “entered into a backroom deal . . . to pursue a ‘joint legal strategy’ regarding the Wilkinson investigation.”

“He was an active co-conspirator with Dan Snyder and is now carrying his water in stonewalling Congress’ efforts to ensure accountability by making the results of the Wilkinson report public,” the attorney said. “Our clients and the public at large have been lied to and deceived by Commissioner Goodell. Over one hundred [Commanders] employees . . . participated in this investigation in good faith, based on their belief the findings would be made public, and that the exposure of [the Commanders] deeply ingrained culture of sexual harassment would lead to changes to better protect women in the workplace. Had they been told the truth . . . witness would likely not have come forward.”

That last part makes a lot of sense. Think of it this way. If a lawyer approaches you and says, “I’ve been asked to investigate years of wrongdoing in the hopes of finding out what happened, ensuring it will never happen again, and making the appropriate persons accountable,” you’d react one way. If a lawyer approaches you and says, “I’ve been asked to look into a mess that was made in the hopes of limiting liability to you and others, so please tell me what you know so that I can help the company best position itself to defend against your claims,” you’d react a much different way.

Goodell acted like the Wilkinson investigation was the former. In reality, it was the latter. Arguably, this is the single worst example of chicanery in which the league office has engaged over the last 20 years — and there have been plenty of them.

68 responses to “Amid claims of lies and deceit by Roger Goodell, NFL says it will review and respond to new letter from Congress

  1. I hope all players and coaches take a knee during the Super Bowl to bring attention to this cause.

  2. I am thinking these women need to file a class action law suit also. The NFL likes to think it is above the law and hide all the truth from getting out.

  3. Why is the NFL (meaning the other team owners) going down with the sinking Dan Snyder ship? Make him sell the team, that solved the Carolina problem right quick.

  4. The few respectable owners like Art Rooney need to stand up and say enough, this is bad for the employees, bad for the league, bad for the game, bad for everybody.

  5. It’s not enough that the public wants to know. As sucker citizens that subsidize these billionaire welfare recipients, we DEMAND transparency. If not, bust up that trust. Strip the NFL of all the benefits they get from team ownership and something has to give. These guys get public funds and people are literally sleeping outside near the stadiums we subsidize. No public funds for them.

  6. I’m not usually a big fan of Congress getting involved in stuff like this but in this case I welcome it. It’s time for Washington–and Goodell–to face the music for the cover-up. Things could get interesting.

  7. Mike, movies have said in the past that Presidents can have 1 person removed. I wonder how many the Oligarchs that helped put them in office get. Be careful. You have to be causing many secret meetings.

  8. Not sure what the league knew about Snyder when he first bought the team but it didn’t take long to become clear that’s he a ridiculously lousy human being. Like cartoonishly bad in so many ways that if it were a movie he’d get criticized for overacting. Now, he’s actually dragging the entire league down. And he brings zero positives: the team isn’t successful, attendance is down, they’re nowhere close to getting a new stadium, and it’s just one scandal after another. The league is going to have to cut their losses someday.

  9. Goodell will manipulate any fact or event to suit his needs. Time an time again with this shady nonsense.

  10. The few respectable owners like Art Rooney need to stand up and say enough, this is bad for the employees, bad for the league, bad for the game, bad for everybody.
    ______________________
    …and the majority of the owners do not want to be held accountable for their sleazy practices and would veto that

  11. tonyxl says:
    February 4, 2022 at 4:39 pm
    Why is the NFL (meaning the other team owners) going down with the sinking Dan Snyder ship? Make him sell the team, that solved the Carolina problem right quick.

    45 6 Rate This
    ———————————

    It’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? When Goodell
    is live during the Super Bowl and is answering media questions, how on earth is that not a question??

    What on earth are they hiding?

    We know Goodell has jumped through hoops to position things a certain way for results he and owners want, so why not this??

    Article 46 disappears at the strangest of times, doesn’t it?

  12. this is great! belichick is absolutely loving it too. let that weasel squirm in his park ave penthouse.

  13. Seriously do you expect justice?
    Looks who’s the president and how did he get there?

  14. Goodell is so inconsistent in how he deals with different franchises. I guess he stays in power because if you are an owner with enough money, he’ll always treat you better than other franchises.

  15. Ten years after Bountygate y’all are finally realizing what Saints fans have known all along. Roger Goodell is a liar.

  16. “Why is the NFL (meaning the other team owners) going down with the sinking Dan Snyder ship? Make him sell the team, that solved the Carolina problem right quick.”

    I’d love to see Florio discuss this. It’s an obvious question that I haven’t heard anyone delve into. What does Synder and other owners have that they are protected but Jerry Richardson got pushed out quickly.

  17. raideralex99 says:
    February 4, 2022 at 5:51 pm
    Seriously do you expect justice?
    Looks who’s the president and how did he get there?
    ————————————————–
    Is the second part a trick question?
    I’ll take a stab at it anyway. . . more votes?

    If there is a system that you’d prefer over democracy, may I suggest you move to N. Korea? It might be hard to pick up Q’s instructions on your little radio over there, but you won’t have to worry about our pesky Constitution anymore.

  18. As a life long Redskins /WFT/Commanders fan . Enough is enough! Mike I can’t thank you enough for your vigilance in exposing Dan Snyder and the incredible culture of deceit he embodies. I have always felt that ownership of an NFL team is an incredible privilege and not a right . Snyders’s privilege needs to be revoked ! Rodger the Dodgers time is also up ….I appreciate all the work Ron Rivera is doing but it’s not about who the next QB is but who the next owner is. We are not going away ! We love our team and the DMV and we will keep fighting!

  19. Brilliant legal strategists, those league attorneys!
    In order to show my support for the employees who have been mistreated, I’m going to stop rooting for the Washington Team. I no longer can abide the mismanagement and shady dealings. When Jack Kent Cook died, the greatness of this franchise died as well

  20. Things like this have brought down far more powerful corporations and individuals than what the NFL is. The other owners should be scrambling to throw Synder to the wolves, not circling the wagons to defend him.

  21. Roger just buries bodies and hammers broadcasters for more $ for NFL rights. But this is a totally different case. He is swimming in uncharted waters with female SHARKS wanting theirs. Good luck Roger. Your going to need it. :O)

  22. Tom Brady says:
    February 4, 2022 at 4:58 pm
    Is Roger going to jail? Please tell me Roger’s going to jail.

    Roger will go to jail the same day Trump does.

  23. The feds have zero rights to look into the workings of private businesses, but you peasants keep keep keepin’ on.

  24. This is the first time I’ve seen “Washington Commanders” outside of something explaining it is the new name. It is truly goofy, on par with Trump’s Space Force. Stuffy. Pretentious. Self-righteous. Just a poor choice.

  25. Half the members of congress are working to take away our rights, and the other half are ignoring that and worrying about football. Oh my!

  26. factsanybody says:
    February 4, 2022 at 7:17 pm
    This is the first time I’ve seen “Washington Commanders” outside of something explaining it is the new name. It is truly goofy …
    ====================================================
    It was supposed to be Washington Commandos, because Snyder is going to make them play with no underwear. The WFT press office just spelled it wrong.

  27. Hang on folks , this is going to be a good show. Get your popcorn !
    The federal government is coming for their piece of the pie !

  28. Spy Gate, Bounty Gate, Neil Downer, Jon Gruden, Brian Flores, the mess that is the Washington Commanders, Kroneke and the law suit vs St Louis, Deflate Gate, Ray Rice, non call LA Rams Saints playoff game, etc etc etc. When is enough enough with Goodell and the good old boys and company?

  29. brees4mvp says:
    February 4, 2022 at 6:03 pm
    Ten years after Bountygate y’all are finally realizing what Saints fans have known all along. Roger Goodell is a liar.

    —————————
    It was a proven fact that your defensive coordinator was paying the Saints players to injure the opponents, going after their knees and going after their heads. The NFL told the Saints to put an end to this practice, the Saints thumbed their noses at the NFL and continued to do this after multiple warnings, so the league fined and suspended the coaches who are ultimately responsible for this. That is absolute fact. The Saints are lucky that all of this came out and the Lee handled it. If they didn’t, the rest of the league would’ve taken their own retribution against the Saints. Number 9 may not have played until the year 2020, if teams put a bull’s-eye on his head and his knees

  30. I love that Florio has it in for these clowns. This is just wrong and someone with a bully pulpit needs to beat the drum.

  31. Ironic that the government is allowed to keep secrets and not reveal information under the guise of “national security” but they complain when a private entity does the same!

  32. The NFL buried the WFT report. They did their best to make John Gruden their scapegoat. Former WFT employees kept talking. There was a reported 550,000 e-mails from the WFT to the NFL. Being a skeptic I’m guessing that some of them are from politicians . They’re all in DC. Congress will be careful how they handle this.

  33. I’m sure this statement is cliche but…….what would Goodell do if this was one of his daughters? Would Goodell let one of his daughters work for Snyder? Of course he would not. But he is sure as hell willing to sacrifice other people daughters for that almighty dollar and to protect those billionaires. He could not care less about the women that were assaulted/harassed etc. he cares about not having the problems spill over into him and the owners.

    All that being said, I hope congress crucifies him!!!

  34. You really have to wonder, between this and the Flores lawsuit something HAS to give. The question is how much longer do the NFL owners keep circling the wagons before enough is enough and Goodell is thrown to the wolves? The guy is bad news, has been since day one. Now we have multiple lawsuits over his covering for and overlooking improprieties.

  35. At the end of the day a Congressional Committee is not a law enforcement entity. Unfortunately, the committee is wasting everyone’s time. If the victims have a criminal complaint, they should make it. They’ll get nothing from Roger the Dodger but a lot of happy talk.

  36. jg2040 says:
    February 4, 2022 at 8:01 pm
    It was a proven fact

    ————————————————–

    LOL

    Nothing was “proven” it was all Goodell’s word. The public was never allowed to even see the supposed “evidence” and what little we got didn’t add up at all. The “injured” players included an offensive linemen who pulled a hamstring while blocking and a special teamer who sprained an ankle running down a punt that the Saints were receiving on.

    The guy is a straight up liar and a slimeball. He always has been. It’s laughable that anybody is still gullible enough to believe anything he dreamed up about Bountygate.

  37. The most that will come of of this “Congressional investigation” is that Snyder is forced to sell his team and “Goodell is forced to step down. Unfortunately a new, smarter version of Goodell will be elected by the owners to take his place. The new, smarter version will say all the right things and everyone will be persuaded by the rhetoric that justice was done.

  38. Roger Godell’s concept of lying is so convoluted that he know believes it’s only a lie if he tells himself it is no matter what the FACTS ARE & same goes for the truth although I doubt he’d be able to recognize THAT if it slapped him in the face…..

  39. The Commissioner needs to protect the shield. So much falling down around his ears. Earn those ten of millions per year for a job many of us could do and would do for far less.

  40. The feds have zero rights to look into the workings of private businesses, but you peasants keep keep keepin’ on.
    ….,,,
    When the private businesses (the NFL franchises) gets tax exemptions, yes they do.

  41. Goodell is like George Costanza. “It’s not a lie if you BELIEVE why you’re saying!”

  42. Scott Farkus says:
    February 4, 2022 at 8:00 pm
    Spy Gate, Bounty Gate, Neil Downer, Jon Gruden, Brian Flores, the mess that is the Washington Commanders, Kroneke and the law suit vs St Louis, Deflate Gate, Ray Rice, non call LA Rams Saints playoff game, etc etc etc. When is enough enough with Goodell and the good old boys and company?

    ——-
    With this list alone, Billy Joel could create another “We Didn’t Start the Fire” type song as it relates to the NFL.

  43. Although likely a poor inquiry, can another “full investigation” not be initiated & conducted by a different firm (representing the plaintiffs rather than the team & league) w/o the common interest agreement in place? Would it not allow for most of the same information to be found? Is this similar to double jeopardy? Is the justice system so broken that it allows for this kind of intel to be buried under the original investigation’s findings alone? A class action on behalf of the plaintiffs seems like a plausible avenue to bring out the goods (err, bads). This league (likely all major sports leagues, if not the NCAA as well), is run on corruption, money, & power. Here’s to hoping for justice to win out & a movie to follow (we’ll need a huge tub of popcorn to enjoy it), not that I’m holding my breath.

  44. mdd913 says:
    February 5, 2022 at 12:24 am
    jg2040 says:
    February 4, 2022 at 8:01 pm
    It was a proven fact

    ————————————————–

    LOL

    Nothing was “proven” it was all Goodell’s word. The public was never allowed to even see the supposed “evidence” and what little we got didn’t add up at all. The “injured” players included an offensive linemen who pulled a hamstring while blocking and a special teamer who sprained an ankle running down a punt that the Saints were receiving on.

    The guy is a straight up liar and a slimeball. He always has been. It’s laughable that anybody is still gullible enough to believe anything he dreamed up about Bountygate.

    ______________________________

    The thing is about “Bountygate” there need not be any “injured players” as evidence that coaches encouraged and incentivized the practice of attempting to injure opposing players. For that matter it wouldn’t necessarily be a requirement that money changed hands. Theoretically the testimonials of several believable witnesses would be the only evidence necessary to conclude that it occurred.

  45. “The program also entailed payments for interceptions and fumble recoveries, which also violates league rules against non-contract bonuses. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will determine the appropriate discipline based on the investigation, the league said in a statement.

    “The payments here are particularly troubling because they involved not just payments for ‘performance,’ but also for injuring opposing players,” Goodell said in a statement released by the league. “The bounty rule promotes two key elements of NFL football: player safety and competitive integrity.

    Granted, Roger Goodell is a one legged man in an ass kicking contest when it comes his probity in relation to the integrity of the game. Never the less, the spirit and letter of the rules were violated NO MATTER how anyone feels about it.

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