NFL declines comment on Cowboys voyeurism scandal

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On Wednesday, a new report from Don Van Natta, Jr. of ESPN.com placed a new pot on the NFL’s stove of controversies. The Cowboys paid $2.4 million to resolve claims made regarding alleged voyeurism involving the team’s cheerleading staff.

Given the ongoing back-and-forth between the NFL and Congress regarding the investigation of workplace misconduct within the Washington Commanders organization, this would seem to be something about which the league should be concerned. Officially, it’s not.

“We will decline comment as this was a club matter,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told PFT via email.

That’s a confusing response. Plenty of club matters draw attention, and comment, from the league. The entire Washington Commanders situation was a “club matter,” too. Some club matters necessarily land on the radar screen of the league office, especially in light of the Personal Conduct Policy.

For the Cowboys, the team on one hand paid $2.4 million and on the other hand concluded that there was no wrongdoing. Something doesn’t add up. Companies don’t pay out that much money for no reason. At a minimum, the league should be as curious as to what caused the team to pay so much money — if the league even knew about the payment at the time it was made. It’s possible that the league did not.

That’s a separate issue, one that drew significant attention after Panthers founder Jerry Richardson sold the team. Richardson settled multiple employee claims with non-disclosure agreements that weren’t disclosed to the league, creating a question as to whether the Panthers violated the reporting requirements of the Personal Conduct Policy. The Cowboys may face that same issue, if the Cowboys didn’t disclose the allegations and/or the resolution to the league.

In 2018, Mark Leibovich (author of Big Game: The NFL in Dangerous Times), explained that the league feared the Richardson case was the tip of the iceberg. The Cowboys’ scandal happened more than two years before the Richardson allegations came to light, and it remained under wraps for more than four years after the Richardson situation came to light.

Also in 2018, lawyer Mary Jo White recommended that the league limit the use of NDAs. It remains unclear whether the league ever acted on that recommendation.

Regardless, this “club matter” should have been (and still should be) league business. An investigation should have been conducted at the time, if the Cowboys properly reported the incident. If the Cowboys didn’t report it, that’s a separate problem.

For now, the league apparently will try to deflect attention from the situation in Dallas by saying nothing about it at all. Whether that successfully persuades fans, media, and/or members of Congress to pay no attention to the situation remains to be seen.

41 responses to “NFL declines comment on Cowboys voyeurism scandal

  1. There should be a full investigation. That’s just plain sick,.. videotaping the cheerleaders dressing room. SICK !!

  2. Look at all the scandals that has gone on with cowboy cheerleaders since Jerry jones. Pretty big claims especially in the 90s

  3. Jerruh is very powerful its already been paid off in full >No comments are needed, moving on here nothing to see

  4. Say what you want about the Cowboys, but they take care of business better than the other teams. This case was settled and closed before anyone heard a peep. That’s smart.

  5. Bezos doesn’t want the cowboys. He will use team ownership in a tow he can have . And Congress is more than willing to assist.$$$$

  6. I would really be ok with a new commissioner and all new owners with the exception of a few. These guys are just terrible human beings and money just hides it bc of NDA’s.

  7. Since we are just hearing about this now, 7 years later, I guess it can be classified as a cover-up, among other things. Aren’t all 32 teams under the NFL shield? I’d still like to know why there was a 2.4 million dollar settlement if there was no wrongdoing. The NFL is should be asking lots of questions about this.

  8. Washington, Miami, Dallas, where does it end with all these scandals? We just want to watch football!!!!!

  9. We can all imagine the stuff teams and the league have been hiding from the public. Bunch of sexual deviants.

  10. The Cowboys and the Commanders are the ones we know about. There’s plenty more cases like these just dying to come out. Come on, Congress – DO YOUR JOB!!

  11. I don’t understand why NFL teams have cheerleaders. It’s not high school. The whole concept is outdated and unnecessary. I would guess every single team with cheerleaders has had incidents of harassment or worse.

  12. tut, tut, tut … them ‘Boys will be boys, but we don’t want to say that so we’ll say nothing instead.

    We might have something to say later, after we talk to our lawyers and public relations wizards … you’ll just have to wait.

  13. Imagine how much better the NFL — and America — would be if Jones, Ross, and Snyder were no longer running multi-billion-dollar franchises.

  14. But how do you know that the league was unaware of this? Just because they aren’t commenting, it only means that they aren’t making any public statements.

  15. cjmcfootball says:

    February 17, 2022 at 2:42 pm

    I don’t understand why NFL teams have cheerleaders. It’s not high school. The whole concept is outdated and unnecessary. I would guess every single team with cheerleaders has had incidents of harassment or worse.
    ————-
    I dont understand why you think cheerleaders are outdated for the NFL but not in high school?

  16. This is the kind of stuff that ultimately may be what brings the NFL down one day. You have to admit over the years there has been a lot of shady stuff going on in the league.

  17. If you have a fire, you put it out and deal with what may have started it. If you have fires all over the place a person might reasonably wonder if there’s more going on. Perhaps things weren’t built to code, perhaps someone is acting with malice, perhaps it’s negligence. The NFL now begins to catch fire on multiple fronts. One you can say is an isolated set of circumstances and not pervasive to the league. But when it is in place, after place, after place, after place a person can begin to wonder if the leagues practices are sound, are they incompetent, or are they nefarious. They begin to look blatantly like an easy yes to the question of do they need some oversight since they can’t manage the country’s biggest sport without putting it in the ditch constantly. IMO

  18. This is a club matter….you run the clubs Rodger so ya this is your problem. I get it, you don’t want owners turning on you and ruining your Check.

  19. Every team needs to have a day of reckoning and clean up these messes asap. I have no doubt this happened in the Cowboys. But as others have noted, the boys-will-be-boys tolerance of this stuff is over and it’s probably happening all over the NFL. It’s better to get ahead of this and fix this stuff now, make a statement admitting there was an issue, and state how it has been rectified. If they wait it will just make the problem worse.

  20. Not a Cowboys fan but seriously what are they supposed to say oh yeah they did it and come down hard on them?

  21. This may be the out that Dallas fans would love to get. Get the Jones clan out of here and get an owner who’ll delegate winning to a GM instead of having a Hollywood show and Jones being in the spotlight. Just sayin…it might be good for the fans.

  22. Maybe this is why Jerry didn’t fight Goodell harder on Zeke’s suspension in 2017. Rodger had the dirt on the Cowboys

  23. This is an example of why the league doesn’t want to release the Washington documents. They don’t only reveal abhorrent behavior, but also who knew what when. They’re the iceberg.

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