Female Ex-Employees Level Sexual Harassment Allegations at Washington Redskins
Fifteen women allege sexual harassment and verbal abuse by former team employees
A new report about the culture within Daniel Snyder’s Washington NFL team from The Washington Post makes the controversy over the team’s nickname seem like somewhat of an afterthought.
Fifteen women, 14 of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity due to pre-existing nondisclosure agreements the team declined to release them from when asked, told The Post they were sexually harassed and verbally abused during their time working for the club. Emily Applegate, who spent a year working for the team as a marketing coordinator and left in 2015, was the lone woman to attach her name to the story.
The harassment and abuse allegedly took place from 2006 to 2019 and was reportedly carried out by three former members of Snyder’s inner circle and two longtime members of the personnel department, none of whom still work for the team.
Three of those former employees, longtime radio broadcaster Larry Michael (retired), ex-director of pro personnel Alex Santos (fired) and ex-assistant director of pro personnel Richard Mann II (fired), parted ways with the team in the past week, ostensibly after The Post reached out to the organization about some of its findings.
The allegations in the story include but are not limited to
- Michael discussing the appearance of female colleagues in sexual and disparaging overtones, including talking about the attractiveness of a college-aged intern into a live microphone.
- Santos making inappropriate remarks about the bodies of team employees and reporters and asking the women if they were romantically interested in him.
- Former president of business operations Dennis Greene, who resigned in 2018 after another sex scandal involving the team’s cheerleaders, implored female sales staff to wear low-cut blouses, tight skirts and flirt with wealthy suite holders.
“It was the most miserable experience of my life,” Applegate told The Post. “And we all tolerated it because we knew if we complained — and they reminded us of this — there were 1,000 people out there who would take our job in a heartbeat.”
In response, the team said it had hired D.C. attorney Beth Wilkinson and her firm “to conduct a thorough independent review of this entire matter and help the team set new employee standards for the future.”
“The Washington Redskins football team takes issues of employee conduct seriously,” the team said in a statement, somehow still managing to use the nickname it announced had been retired on Monday.
While the shameful way Snyder has handled the team’s nickname controversy, the way he has allowed a culture of sexual harassment to foster on his watch and (less importantly) the team’s abysmal record during his tenure as owner all indicate he should not own an NFL franchise, this report may not be enough to oust him as it does not directly implicate him in the manner a Sports Illustrated investigation shed light on former Panthers owner Jerry Richardson’s inappropriate actions.
“No woman accused Snyder or former longtime team president Bruce Allen of inappropriate behavior with women, but they expressed skepticism the men were unaware of the behavior they allege,” according to The Post’s report.
Ron Rivera, who coached the Panthers under Richardson and has yet to coach a game for Washington after signing with the team this offseason, put out a statement following the report via ESPN’s John Keim.
Rivera: “Biggest thing is we have to move forward from this & make sure everybody understands we have policies that we will follow and that we have an open door policy with no retribution. Plus my daughter works for the team and I sure as hell am not going to allow any of this!”
— John Keim (@john_keim) July 16, 2020
Perhaps there are still some dominoes left to fall and Snyder’s two-decade reign in Washington will, mercifully, come to an end.
Some of his co-owners are trying to get out while they can …
Minority shareholders of Washington’s NFL team have hired the investment bank, Moag & Company, to vet buyers and to sell their stake in the team, per a league source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 16, 2020
If some other rumors that were circulating on the internet but not formally reported by a publication turn out to be true, they’d be wise to.
Early Friday morning, the NFL released an official statement responding to the report.
“These matters as reported are serious, disturbing and contrary to the NFL’s values, according to the league. “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 has 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.”
Snyder also released a statement on Friday:
Dan Snyder: pic.twitter.com/xlRD1c23UD
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 17, 2020
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