Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder, again, rebuffs House Oversight Committee's invitation to testify in workplace culture investigation of franchise

ByTisha Thompson via via logo
June 20, 2022, 12:09 PM

The attorney for Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder reiterated Monday that Snyder would not testify before Congress on June 22, despite a request from the committee to reconsider.

Karen Patton Seymour declined the initial invitation from the House Oversight Committee investigating the Commanders' alleged "toxic workplace culture," saying that Snyder had a "longstanding Commanders-related business conflict" and is out of the country at the end of June. Seymour had also requested copies of documents that committee members intend to use in their questioning.

On Friday, chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., had sent Snyder's attorney a six-page letter stating Snyder could testify virtually at the June 22 hearing, similar to what NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is expected to do that day. The chairwoman also said the committee was under no obligation to provide documents, but would do so if Snyder agreed to testify.

On Monday, Seymour wrote the committee that, "Mr. Snyder's business conflict was scheduled long before then and cannot be rescheduled. Moreover, your letter's suggestion that Mr. Snyder may testify remotely does not address my concern that a virtual appearance would not sufficiently protect Mr. Snyder's interest in having his counsel physically present with him."

She went on to say, "The Snyders and the Team remain fully willing to cooperate with the Committee, and are eager to share the cultural transformation undertaken by the Commanders if the Committee is interested in obtaining that information in a manner consistent with appropriate due process and fairness protections."

A House Oversight Committee spokesperson told ESPN in a statement, "If Mr. Snyder was truly committed to cooperating with the Committee's investigation, he would have accepted the Committee's invitation to testify about the Commanders' toxic workplace culture. As the Chairwoman's letter made clear, the Committee has been more than accommodating-even allowing Mr. Snyder to testify remotely from France. His refusal to testify sends an unmistakable signal that Mr. Snyder has something to hide and is afraid of coming clean to the American public and addressing major worker protection concerns facing the NFL. The Committee will not be deterred in its investigation to uncover the truth of workplace misconduct at the Washington Commanders."

In July 2021, the NFL fined the Commanders $10 million after its investigation into the franchise's workplace culture under Snyder's ownership. Congress began its investigation shortly after, in October, and is also investigating allegations by a former employee who said she was sexually harassed by Snyder in 2019. 

Washington fired multiple employees after allegations of sexual harassment were uncovered by The Washington Post in the summer of 2020. Others who also were charged with sexual harassment had already left the organization or resigned that summer.

Maloney said Snyder could testify despite other ongoing investigations, which was another reason given for Snyder's hesitation, according to his attorney's letter. The NFL opened another investigation after the former employee's allegations in February. Also, the attorneys general in Virginia and Washington, D.C., are looking into allegations of financial improprieties. 

"Congress has long investigated matters subject to parallel proceedings," Maloney wrote.

She said by not testifying, Snyder refuses to "accept accountability for his actions for the culture he has fostered within his team" and casts doubt on his "assertion that the Commanders are now a model of how to make extraordinary improvements in workplace culture."

ESPN's John Keim contributed to this report.

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