The U.S. House of Representatives’ Oversight Committee has contacted NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in an effort to examine the league’s investigation of the Washington Football Team, which indirectly led to Jon Gruden’s resignation as Raiders coach less than two weeks ago. The NFL previously said no further information from its investigation would be publicly disclosed. But the Oversight Committee chairs have now requested documents and information related to the investigations be turned over by Nov. 4, 2021.
The Committee on Oversight and Reform is the main investigative committee of the House of Representatives. Chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) contacted Goodell on Thursday to request all documents, communications, reports and findings related to the Washington investigation be produced.
“The NFL has one of the most prominent platforms in America, and its decisions can have national implications,” the committee chairs wrote. “The NFL’s lack of transparency about the problems it recently uncovered raise questions about the seriousness with which it has addressed bigotry, racism, sexism, and homophobia — setting troubling precedent for other workplaces. 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 non-disclosure agreements to prevent the disclosure of unlawful employment practices, including sexual harassment. We hope and trust that the NFL shares the Committee’s goal of protecting American workers from harassment and discrimination.”
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy confirmed Thursday the NFL is aware of the Oversight Committee’s requests.
“We have received the Chairwoman’s letter and share her concern that all workplaces should be free from any form of harassment and discrimination,” McCarthy said. “We look forward to speaking to her office soon.”
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When asked by CBS Sports via email whether the NFL has responded, a Committee spokesperson declined to comment but reiterated the Nov. 4 deadline.
The NFL’s investigation into the Washington Football Team originated after a July 2020 report from The Washington Post, in which 15 former female employees alleged sexual harassment by team staff over the course of 18 years. Team owner Daniel Snyder subsequently launched an investigation into his franchise’s workplace culture before the NFL took over in August. That same month, The Post published a follow-up report with former employees alleging Snyder “has presided over an organization in which women say they have been marginalized, discriminated against and exploited.”
This July, almost a year after beginning its investigation with the help of independent lawyer Beth Wilkinson, the NFL levied a $10 million fine against Washington after finding a “highly unprofessional” work environment, “particularly for women.” Snyder, meanwhile, formally stepped back from day-to-day duties as team owner, with his wife, Tanya, taking over as CEO.
As part of the investigation, more than 650,000 emails were examined by the league. Gruden was found to have engaged in a pattern of insensitive — sometimes homophobic and misogynistic — language in some of those messages, specifically with Washington executive Bruce Allen, as the Wall Street Journal and New York Times reported. He quickly resigned as those reports surfaced.
Attorneys for 40 former Washington team employees recently called the for the NFL to fully disclose the 650,000+ emails that were examined as part of the investigation, as CNN reported. McCarthy, however, has said no further investigation details will be released for confidentiality reasons.