NFL, Washington Football Team Should Lift Sexual Harassment Claim NDAs, Congress Says

Two U.S. representatives called on the NFL and Washington Football Team to lift the non-disclosure agreements that block individuals from speaking about sexual harassment and other issues in the team's workplace, the Associated Press reported.

More than a year ago, 15 former employees of the Washington Football Team, owned by Daniel Snyder, made allegations of sexual harassment within the organization. The resulting investigation by the NFL resulted in the Washington Football Team being hit with a $10 million fine, CBS Sports reported.

New York Representative Carolyn Maloney, a Democrat and chairwoman of the House Oversight Committee, and Illinois Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi, another Democrat and chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy sent a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on October 21 asking for the release of all probe documents and communications by Thursday. On Friday, the day after the deadline, the two representatives called for full transparency from the NFL and the Washington Football Team, the AP reported.

"Congress has a responsibility to combat harassment and discrimination in the workplace. If the NFL shares our commitment to address these issues, it will be fully transparent about the findings of the internal review and will allow all individuals to speak freely without fear of retaliation," Maloney said.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Congress Calls for NFL Transparency
Two U.S. representatives called on the NFL and Washington Football Team to lift the non-disclosure agreements that block individuals from speaking about sexual harassment and other issues in the team’s workplace. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announces the start of the fourth round of the NFL football draft in Cleveland on May 1, 2021. Tony Dejak/AP Photo

"While Commissioner Roger Goodell has told the press that victims and witnesses are free to take their story public, he should know many of them do not have that option," Krishnamoorthi said Friday. "Dan Snyder, the owner of the Washington Football Team, has saddled them with gag orders, preventing them from coming forward due to fear of retaliation. If the NFL and the WFT are serious about addressing, among other things, sexual harassment within their organizations, they must allow these individuals to speak freely."

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league submitted responses Thursday to the committee's letter from last month.

"As we have discussed with the committee, we are in the process of identifying responsive documents while working through issues of privilege and anonymity promised to participants in the investigation," McCarthy said.

The Washington Football Team hired lawyer Beth Wilkinson in the summer of 2020 to look into allegations of sexual harassment and other improper conduct within the organization. The league later took over that investigation and fined the team $10 million in July, saying the culture at the club was "toxic" and ownership and senior officials paid little attention to sexual harassment and other workplace issues.

The NFL said there was no written report on Wilkinson's inquiry.

Daniel Snyder
More than a year ago, 15 former employees of the Washington Football Team, owned by Daniel Snyder, made allegations of sexual harassment within the organization. Snyder watches warm-ups before the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Fed Ex Field on August 22, 2009 in Landover, Maryland. G Fiume/Getty Images