Rampant allegations of sexual harassment and other workplace misconduct in the Washington Commanders organization resulted in a 10-month investigation conduced by attorney Beth Wilkinson. The league imposed sanctions on July 1. But the league refused to make the findings public.
As we now know, the league didn’t even request a written report from Wilkinson. I’m told that, as reported at the time by 106.7 The Fan after the station obtained a copy of a document that was never actually submitted to the NFL, if Wilkinson had been asked to submit a report, the report would have recommended that owner Daniel Snyder be forced to sell the team.
The leak of the Jon Gruden emails dusted off what had been a curiosity and turned it into a full-blown controversy. Congress has since been pushing the team and the league to release information about the Wilkinson investigation. Most recently, the league and the team have fought over which documents will or won’t be given to Congress. But it’s the claims made by former Washington employee Tiffani Johnston that have changed everything.
The league will conduct a new investigation. There will be no reason to keep any information hidden, since Johnston already has told her story publicly. Washington tried to preemptively hire a pair of firms to handle the investigation, before the league intervened and made it clear that the team won’t be investigating itself.
The biggest pending question is whether the NFL will bring Wilkinson back for Phase Two of the probe. If that happens, it’s bad news for Snyder.
It may be bad news regardless. As one ownership-level source recently put it, the Johnston allegations could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back for the league, prompting Snyder’s partners to take steps to push him out.
There are still several steps before that would become relevant. But that could be where it’s finally heading for Snyder, especially if Wilkinson is re-engaged to investigate Tiffani Johnston’s claims.