U.S. House Oversight Committee chairs Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y., and Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., expressed “serious concerns” about alleged “widespread abusive workplace conduct” within the Washington Football Team in a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
The congressional leaders announced an investigation into the NFL’s handling of the matter and requested documents and information regarding the league’s probe into allegations of a toxic workplace environment.
“The NFL has one of the most prominent platforms in America, and its decisions can have national implications,” they said in the letter. “The NFL’s lack of transparency about the problems it recently uncovered raises 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.”
Chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) speaks during a House Oversight Committee hearing at the U.S. Capitol Oct. 7, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Bill Clark-Pool/Getty Images)
The request came on the heels of reporting by the The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and Los Angeles Times about emails between former Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden and former Washington Football Team President Bruce Allen. The emails revealed Gruden’s racist, homophobic and misogynistic emails to Allen and other high-profile executives outside the league.
The emails were reviewed as part of an NFL workplace investigation into the Washington Football Team. Gruden’s emails about Goodell were flagged in the investigation. Among them, were disparaging remarks about NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith. There are said to be more than 650,000 emails as part of the investigation. According to the Associated Press, no other football figure’s emails were flagged as part of the investigation.
Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi, a Democrat from Illinois, questions witnesses during a House Intelligence Committee impeachment inquiry hearing in Washington, D.C., in November 2019. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
“The NFL did not identify any problems anywhere near what you saw with Jon Gruden,” a person familiar with the investigation told the AP.
Additionally, the congressional committee members scrutinized the alleged “cozy” relationship between top NFL lawyer Jeff Pash and Allen. Those emails were revealed separately in the New York Times.
In the letter to Goodell, Maloney and Krishnamoorthi expressed concerns about the numerous accusations made by former Washington cheerleaders to the Washington Post over the last few years and how the investigation yielded only a $10 million fine against team owner Daniel Snyder.
“We have received the Chairwoman’s letter and share her concern that all workplaces should be free from any form of harassment and discrimination. We look forward to speaking to her office soon,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement to Fox News.
Washington declined to comment.
While some emails were revealed in a lawsuit from Snyder against a media company that accused him of having ties to Jeffrey Epstein, there hasn’t been one person who was the focal point of the leak.
Owner Daniel Snyder of the Washington Redskins watches warm-ups before a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Fed Ex Field in August 2009 in Landover, Md. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
Melanie Coburn, a former Washington cheerleader, told Fox News earlier in the week she thought Snyder was the leak. The NFL denied leaking emails to the media.
“I believe Dan Snyder leaked these emails,” she said. “I believe he’s trying to put all the blame on Bruce Allen. He sent over a dozen private investigators to my colleagues’ homes across the country … to show up on cheerleaders’ doorsteps and ask them what their relationship with Bruce Allen was.”
An attorney with a firm representing Snyder told Fox News in a statement Tuesday that any claim that he, or anyone within the organization, was behind the media leaks was “categorically false.”
However, Coburn said she felt confident that Snyder was behind the leaks. “I feel like he’s trying to pin everything on Bruce, right, and place all the blame for all of the bad culture on him, which just isn’t true.”
“Any suggestion by Ms. Coburn that anyone associated with the Washington Football Team was behind any leaks concerning Jon Gruden is categorically false and part of a pattern of misinformation being spread by Ms. Coburn,” the attorney, Jordan Siev, told Fox News.
President Bruce Allen of the Washington Redskins looks on prior to a game between the Washington Redskins and the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on Oct. 13, 2019 in Miami, Fla. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
“[This leak] brings to light that the women of the Washington Football Team were exposed in these emails, and we don’t know the extent of it,” Coburn said.
Fox News’ Paulina Dedaj contributed to this report.