The alarm bells were loud enough for all of France to hear.
Daniel Snyder might have thought he outwitted the House Oversight and Reform Committee with his occasional leave, confident that Roger Goodell’s willingness to be a human shield for NFL owners and Washington’s inability to resist the bombast and hysteria will prevent anything meaningful from coming out of Wednesday’s hearing. But among the clown moments that abounded during the 2.5 hour listening session were signs that Snyder – and the NFL – will be in serious trouble, and his days of dodging responsibility may be over.
“Hiding the interests of a powerful owner,” said committee chair Carolyn Maloney, “should matter to all of us.”
Snyder’s first problem is that Maloney doesn’t really care if the owner of the Washington Commanders agrees that his team’s toxic workplace is a committee matter or if he wants to honor its members with his presence. He will have to do this because Maloney announced during the hearing that she would summon a subpoena, forcing him to testify next week.
That means Snyder will have to answer under oath questions about the sexual harassment charges brought against him in 2009 and the $1.6 million he paid to have them dropped. Of the misogynistic behavior that he tolerated, and some said he tolerated, for years. About his attempts to intimidate former employees and undermine the NFL investigation. About his “exile” from his team’s operations.
Among other things. Given that some members of the committee used their five minutes of fame, uh, Wednesday time, to question Goodell about racism, perhaps some intrepid spokesperson could ask Snyder about the double set of books he allegedly keeps to hide money from his co-owners.
Anything Snyder says will almost certainly go public, at the risk of legal exposure for him, as well as the NFL. He could refer to Fifth, but that, as impossible as it seemed, would only make him worse.
It’s always been a mystery to me why Goodell and the NFL fought so hard to protect Snyder, who has been nothing but trouble for the league. Nothing that Goodell said or was revealed at the hearing clarified anything.
Goodell admitted he “doesn’t remember” Snyder telling the NFL in 2009 that he was a subject complaint of sexual assault and harassment by a former Commands employee. This was in direct violation of the NFL’s personal conduct policy, which required “players, coaches, other team members, owners, game officials, and all other persons authorized to work in the National Football League” to “avoid conduct that damages integrity and public life.” confidence in the league.
Pretty sure he’s asking for sex from an employee, groping her and trying to take her clothes off because the woman’s lawyer said Snyder did it, according to The Washington Post.would stumble upon it!
Goodell also admitted that he had never seen an NFL operation as toxic as Snyder’s team. Which is saying something, considering that Jerry Richardson decided to sell his Carolina Panthers almost immediately after the racism and sexual harassment became known.
And yet, Goodell stuck to his nonsensical explanation that the NFL “couldn’t” release a written report on the supposedly independent investigation of Beth Wilkinson.
There is no written report, according to Goodell, despite the fact that the NFL had written reports on nearly every other investigation it conducted. Even if that happens, Goodell repeated grimly, the league promised the women anonymity.
Except as representatives Jamie Ruskin, MD, and Raja Krishnamurthy, MD, pointed out, the league somehow managed to release a written report and protect people’s anonymity when it investigated allegations of sexual harassment involving the Miami Dolphins.
“The way they were given anonymity if you go through the 148-page report (Dolphins) is that their names were removed from that report,” Krishnamurthy said after the hearing. “So you could have done the same in this particular situation, but the NFL chose not to.”
Again, why is that? Snyder stuck to Washington’s racist moniker, only making the change after sponsors threatened to cut ties. His rampant arrogance and misogyny alienate women, a crucial demographic if the NFL is to become the $25 billion a year industry that Goodell predicted. His team is terrible.
And recent scandals have left Snyder with little hope of making a deal with a stadium even in the most remote corner of the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.
“Commanders can’t have both,” Ruskin said. “You can’t constantly beg the public for subsidies and investments and then not follow the basic laws that govern the workplace.”
This means that Snyder has gone beyond embarrassment. Now he’s costing his fellow owners money, and that might be his only sin that even they can’t forgive.
The committee is showing no signs of letting it go, and there is another league investigation into Snyder that Goodell promised would result in a written report. Since Snyder is already on vacation, other NFL owners should ask him to extend it.
Follow USA TODAY Sports columnist Nancy Armor on Twitter @nrarmour.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Daniel Snyder has evaded responsibility long enough