WASHINGTON — After shocking allegations were made against Washington's NFL team on Thursday afternoon in a Washington Post article, Dan Snyder released a statement promising changes to the team's culture.
Snyder said in Friday's statement that he and new head coach Ron Rivera are committed to moving the franchise forward.
"The behavior described in yesterday’s Washington Post article has no place in our franchise or society," Snyder wrote. "This story has strengthened my commitment to setting a new culture and standard for our team, a process that began with the hiring of Coach Rivera earlier this year."
Snyder went on to discuss the organization's decision to retain Beth Wilkinson, a high profile D.C. attorney, to look into the team's culture and practices. The team will hold off on instituting new policies until the investigation is complete.
Wilkinson has made a career in representing major cases in DC, as well as for successfully arguing for the execution of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.
"Beth Wilkinson and her firm are empowered to do a full, unbiased investigation and make any and all requisite recommendations," Snyder wrote. "Upon completion of her work, we will institute new policies and procedures and strengthen our human resources infrastructure to not only avoid these issues in the future but most importantly create a team culture that is respectful and inclusive of all."
The Washington Post released the story Thursday night, detailing allegations from 15 women who say they were sexually harassed and verbally abused while they worked for Washington's NFL team over the last 15 years.
Three of the employees with allegations made against them abruptly resigned or were fired this week, including longtime radio broadcaster Larry Michael, who retired Wednesday, and the team’s director of pro personnel, Alex Santos, who was fired.
The Post reports that allegations were also made against Richard Mann II, assistant director of pro personnel, Dennis Greene, former president of business operations, and Mitch Gershman, former chief operating officer.
The Post said that none of the women made allegations against team owner Dan Snyder or former team president Bruce Allen, but "expressed skepticism" that the executives didn't know about the harassment. The women also blamed Snyder for an understaffed HR department and the "sophomoric culture of verbal abuse among top executives," the Post article said.
The Post said Head Coach Ron Rivera declined to comment on the firings of Santos and Mann, but he said he's trying to "create a new culture" within the organization.
“The biggest thing is that we have to move forward from this and make sure everybody understands we have policies that we will follow and that we have an open-door policy with no retribution," Rivera said. "Plus my daughter works for the team and I sure as hell am not going to allow any of this! ... Dan Snyder brought me here to change the culture and create an environment of inclusion among employees. I believe everyone that works for this franchise has a vested interest in our success."
Here are the allegations the Post is reporting against each man:
- 7 former employees allege he routinely talked about the appearance of female employees in "sexual and disparaging overtones"
- 6 former employees allege they heard a "hot mic" recording from 2018 of Michael talking about a college intern's attractiveness
- 6 former employees, 2 reporters allege he commented on their bodies and asked if they were "romantically interested" in him
- 1 former staffer said she received a text from Santos after work that said he wanted to kiss her in the break room
- 1 former employee alleges Santos told her she "had a nice butt" and asked her to turn around for him
- In 2019 Rhiannon Walker, a reporter for The Athletic, told the team he had pinched her hip, repeatedly asked her to date him and said she had “an ass like a wagon"
- Nora Princiotti, a reporter for The Ringer who previously covered Washington's NFL team for the Washington Times, alleged that two or three times he followed her in his SUV when she'd leave Redskins Park, commenting on her body and said she "had a great ass for a little white girl"
- The Post says that both reporters told Tony Wyllie, then the team’s vice president of communications, about Santos' behavior
Richard Mann II
- The Post said they obtained text messages between Mann and a female employee saying he and his colleagues talked about her breasts and whether she had them enhanced
- In a separate text with a female employee, the Post said Mann told the employee to "expect an “inappropriate hug … And don’t worry that will be a stapler in my pocket, nothing else.”
- 5 former employees allege Greene told female sales staffers to wear low-cut blouses, tight skirts and flirt with wealthy suite holders (Applegate was one of the employees)
- Greene resigned in 2018 over allegations that he offered premium suite ticket holders access to the cheerleaders, including attendance at a photo shoot in Costa Rica
- Applegate alleges he berated her for small infractions, such as a printer malfunction, while also complimenting her body
- 2 former female employees supported Applegate's account of harassment and verbal abuse
According to the Post, former female employees said they were given an informal orientation by veteran female employees about which men and what areas of the building they should avoid when possible. Training camp and the annual NFL scouting combine were also events that female employees were warned about, the Post said.
The National Football League (NFL) released a statement on the recent claims reported by the Washington Post alleging the sexual harassment and verbal abuse of 15 female Washington football team employees.
In a statement released to ESPN reporter John Keim, the NFL says they take the allegations "seriously" and find them "disturbing". The NFL says they plan to meet with the team's attorney following the investigation to make decisions based on the findings.
Read the NFL's full statement below:
"These matters as reported are serious, disturbing, and contrary to the NFL's values. Everyone in the NFL has the right to work in an environment free from any and all forms of harassment. Washington has engaged outside counsel to conduct a thorough investigation into these allegations. The club pledged that it will give its full cooperation to the investigator and we expect the club and all employees to do so. We will meet with the attorneys upon the conclusion of their investigation and take any action based on the findings."
The franchise announced Monday morning it had officially retired the team's controversial name and logo. Washington’s NFL team had used the nickname since 1933. This comes after the team launched a “thorough review” of the name on July 3.
Snyder, who has been adamant throughout his ownership of the team that the name should not be changed, reversed course after the weight put on him amid calls for social justice changes in the United States, sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.