According to Liz Clarke and Will Hobson of the Washington Post, Dan Snyder has actively impeded the NFL’s investigation into sexual harassment claims, employing “intimidation” tactics to “silence” an accuser.
When Beth Wilkinson sought to interview a woman who had previously accused the Washington Football Team owner of sexual misconduct (she received a reported $1.6-million settlement in 2009), Snyder hired private investigators, many of whom showed up “uninvited” to the homes of former employees and their family members to “discourage” them from talking to the NFL.
Snyder’s attorneys reportedly offered his accuser more money if she agreed not to speak with Wilkinson or participate in the league’s investigation. Snyder’s lawyers also tried to dox anyone interviewed for the Washington Post report, though their efforts were thwarted by a federal judge, who denied that petition while accusing the 57-year-old and his legal team of trying to “burden and harass” former employees.
“I know there are people who didn’t talk to Beth Wilkinson, who have told me they would talk, but only if subpoenaed under a court of law. That’s how petrified they are of Dan Snyder,” shared Megan Imbert, a former producer in the team’s broadcast department.
Brad Baker, who recently went public about a “lewd” video made for Snyder featuring outtake footage—including nudity—from a cheerleader calendar shoot, said private investigators contacted his ex-wife and several of his former colleagues shortly after the Washington Post story came out.
“It’s very alarming when people you haven’t talked to in years tell you that somebody is snooping around about you,” said Baker.
Wilkinson faced a lawsuit from David Donovan, former general counsel for the Football Team who exonerated Snyder of any wrongdoing when the sexual misconduct allegation was first made in 2009. That suit was eventually withdrawn, though Wilkinson suspects Donovan was actually suing on Snyder’s behalf in hopes of “obstructing” the investigation.
A series of leaked emails between Jon Gruden and former team president Bruce Allen recently made headlines, damaging both their reputations with Gruden ultimately losing his job as Raiders head coach. Rachel Engelson and countless others found it suspicious Snyder came out unscathed while Allen, a “perceived enemy” of the longtime WFT owner, was dragged through the mud.
“It’s very sad and disheartening that [the NFL is] not willing to do the right thing,” Engelson, a former team marketing director, told The Post. “Here’s this billionaire owner who can do anything he wants.”
Tuesday’s revelations sparked outrage on social media with many calling on the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell to finally hold Snyder accountable.
However, those critics are likely to be disappointed as Clarke and Hobson perceive Snyder as more or less bulletproof. “As of all this plays out, Snyder—once faced with a crisis that some speculated could cost him team ownership—appears to have emerged with an even stronger hold on the team.”
Washington was fined an unprecedented $10 million this summer after Wilkinson’s investigation uncovered a “highly unprofessional” work environment characterized by rampant bullying, harassment and intimidation.
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