Forcing Dan Snyder to 'divest his ownership' of Washington among options in Wilkinson report


Correction: Monday, March 8, 2021 — 8:20 a.m.
"On Friday morning, we reported on excerpts of a report prepared by the NFL's independent investigator into the Washington Football Team, Beth Wilkinson," Jason Bishop said. "We believed, based on information provided to us by our source, that the report was final and had been delivered to the NFL League Office. The League has denied receiving a final report, however, both in a general statement and in response to specific questions from us. Based on those unequivocal denials, we now believe that our source was mistaken and that the excerpts of the report that were shared with us have not yet been sent to the NFL. We do believe in the authenticity of the documents we reviewed, and that they are from the Wilkinson investigation, but we are unable to confirm that the report was a final draft or that it had been delivered to the League Office. As soon as we are able to report anything further on this, we will let you know – both as to what occurred in our Friday report and regarding the Wilkinson investigation generally."

Original Report:

Beth Wilkinson, the attorney conducting the NFL's investigation into the Washington Football Team's workplace culture, has presented multiple options for punishment in her report as her investigation winds down.

The first and foremost option is to "force the owner to divest his ownership of the team," according to The Sports Junkies of 106.7 The Fan, who have obtained documents related to Wilkinson's investigation. Washington owner Dan Snyder appears to be directly in Wilkinson's crosshairs, to varying degrees based the options she's presented.

The second option, Sports Junkies host Eric Bickel says, is: 'Suspend the owner for a significant period to allow the club time to repair its infrastructure and culture.'

"And by the way," Bickel added. "That appears to be what they've been trying to do for the last several months. They brought Julie [Donaldson] in. They brought Jason Wright in. Wholesale changes."

These options come as a result of Wilkinson's belief in the coverup that Snyder tried to orchestrate and the perceived "lack of integrity throughout the internal investigations," according to Jason Bishop of The Sports Junkies.

"She was recommending this to Goodell mainly because of the coverup and lack of integrity throughout the internal investigations," Bishop said. "Apparently he was trying to persuade or instruct other employees not to talk to Wilkinson's firm about what they were investigating. So there was the coverup right there. And once she reported back to Goodell that this was happening, that's why she's recommending he needs to go, because of the coverup."

"Just to further clarify, she does give four examples in the report of owners that have been suspended by their leagues," Bickel said, citing these examples from the documents they obtained:

**Jim Irsay of the Colts, who was suspended six games in 2014 for driving under the influence

**Eddie DeBartolo from the Niners, who was suspended for full season in 99 for failure to report extortion involving a riverboat casino.

**More recently, Mark Stevens from the Warriors in the NBA was suspended from all games for a year in 2019 for simply shoving an opposing player during a game.

**Ted Leonsis is actually mentioned in this report for his suspension back in 2004 when he got into it with a fan.

The NFL has denied this reporting in a response to CBS Sports NFL reporter Jonathan Jones.

The Washington Football Team has come under intense scrutiny for its treatment of female employees after a series of Washington Post reports published in recent months, all stemming from a WaPo report last July in which 12 former employees accused the organization of sexual harassment.

That resulted in the firing of two front office members, Alex Santos and Richard Mann II, and possibly the abrupt retirement of longtime team broadcaster Larry Michael, as well as a months-long investigation by the NFL into the organization's workplace culture. That investigation is being spearheaded by Beth Wilkinson and is said to be independent of the team, although Wilkinson was initially hired by Washington owner Dan Snyder to conduct her review.

Wilkinson's investigation is believed to be winding down, at which point Wilkinson will report her findings to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, although it's unclear whether those findings will be made public.

"I think there’s going to be a big battle over that," Washington Post investigative reporter Beth Reinhard told 106.7 The Fan in February, noting the newspaper's investigations will not cease regardless. "We'll never stop, if there are things that we hear of that we can look into. We continue to dig and try to learn as much as we can about Dan Snyder's leadership and the way women were treated in that organization."

Another Washington Post report in August described former Washington cheerleaders being exploited while on a photo shoot in 2008. While the women were there to shoot a swimsuit calendar, it's alleged that a separate video was recorded without their knowledge, "intended strictly for private use," derived from outtakes from the shoot, in which the women's bare nipples were exposed.

A former employee on Michael's staff told The Post that Michael described those outtakes as "the good bits." That same former employee also described Michael ordering staffers to make the video for Snyder. Michael adamantly denied the allegation to The Post. The organization has denied the existence of those videos and, in a report this week detailing Washington's plans to replace its cheerleader program with a co-ed dance squad, an attorney representing Snyder told USA TODAY that the matter "has been resolved." Washington reached a settlement with those former cheerleaders without a lawsuit being filed.

Featured Image Photo Credit: John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images