NFL Says It Will Probe New Sexual Harassment Claims Against Dan Snyder

The NFL said Wednesday it will oversee an independent investigation into sexual harassment accusations against Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder.

Last week, six former team employees met with members of Congress to discuss sexism and hostility they said they experienced while employed by the team. At the U.S. House roundtable discussion, Tiffani Johnston, a former cheerleader and marketing manager for the team, said Snyder inappropriately touched her and "aggressively pushed" her toward his limo while she was employed by the organization.

The NFL hired attorney Beth Wilkinson to investigate allegations against Snyder and the organization in 2020, but a report was never released, which the former employees criticized at the roundtable with lawmakers last week.

Congress then released a document showing Snyder and the NFL had an agreement that one could not release the findings of the investigation without consent from the other. A Wednesday statement from the team, which initially said it will conduct the investigation before the league stepped in hours later, said investigators will release findings to the public this time.

"I do not see any way a team can do an investigation of itself," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Wednesday.

Wilkinson's initial report led to a $10 million fine for the team after the probe into allegations of broad sexual harassment and workplace misconduct. Snyder was also forced to temporarily turn over the day-to-day operations of one of the league's oldest franchises to his wife, Tanya.

Dan Snyder
The NFL said Wednesday it will oversee an independent investigation into sexual harassment accusations against Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder. Above, Snyder speaks during the announcement of the Washington Football Team's name change to the Washington Commanders at FedEx Field on February 2, 2022, in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

The 57-year-old Snyder purchased the team in 1999. His ownership tenure has been marked by on- and off-field struggles. Washington is 156-212-1 during Snyder's 22 years of ownership. He has now been accused three times of sexual misconduct, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

The Commanders hired Pallas Global Group LLC to look into the new allegations, with former Assistant U.S. Attorneys Bonnie Jonas and Tiffany Moller leading the investigation, ESPN reported.

Pallas Global Group also hired Los Angeles attorney Debra Wong Yang to help lead the investigation. In a statement, the Commanders said Yang will report her findings to Pallas Global before releasing them to the public.

"The Team is committed to a thorough and independent investigation of Ms. Johnston's allegation, and pledges full cooperation with the investigation," the Commanders' statement said.

Newsweek reported that Johnston first made the accusations against Snyder at the roundtable discussion. She said Snyder "strategically" seated her next to him at a work dinner so he could put "his hand on the middle of my thigh until I physically removed it," adding that later that night, he pushed her toward his limo until his lawyer stopped him. A letter from Johnston's former boss said he witnessed the incident. Snyder denied the allegations in a statement.

In a statement on the new investigation, Snyder's attorney Jordan Siev said, "it is notable that Ms. Johnston declined to participate in the prior Wilkinson [sic] investigation, yet her counsel is now pushing for Ms. Wilkinson to investigate the very matter Ms. Johnston refused to discuss with her during that investigation."

Meanwhile, Johnston's legal team called the new investigation a "sham" in a statement.

"[The] public will not be duped into believing that this is anything other than Dan Snyder trying to whitewash his own misconduct," it said.

Update 2/9/22, 1:46 p.m. ET: This story was updated to add statements from the NFL, Tiffani Johnston and Dan Snyder's legal representation. The headline was updated to reflect the league's announcement that it will run the investigation.