The NFL has fined former Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder $60 million following an investigation into allegations of misconduct and financial improprieties, the league said Thursday.
The announcement came after the sale of his team to the consortium led by Josh Harris for 6,050 million dollars was confirmed.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has named former Securities and Exchange Commission chairwoman Mary Jo White as an independent investigator following allegations made against Snyder by former team employee Tiffani Johnston at a 2022 congressional roundtable.
According to the NFL, White and his colleagues conducted a comprehensive, independent investigation over 17 months that included interviews with dozens of witnesses, sometimes multiple times, a review of more than 10,000 documents, and the assistance of a team of forensic accountants.
“Conduct based on Ms. White’s findings has no place in the NFL,” Goodell said.
The NFL has fined former Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder (right) $60 million
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (left) with new Commanders owner Josh Harris (right)
‘We strive to have workplaces that are safe, respectful and professional. What Ms. Johnston experienced is inappropriate and contrary to the values of the NFL.”
Snyder’s ownership of the club came under pressure amid investigations by the NFL and Congress into the team’s work culture and possible financial improprieties.
Johnston, a former cheerleader and marketing manager for the Commanders, told members of a House Oversight Committee that Snyder made sexual advances on her. Snyder has denied Johnston’s claims, calling them “absolute lies”.
According to White’s report, she accepted the claim that Snyder, without consent, placed his hand on Johnston’s thigh under a restaurant table at a work-related dinner.
White also brought up Johnston’s allegation that Snyder pushed her into the backseat of his car in an effort to get her to join him after dinner.
The fine was announced shortly after the NFL said its owners unanimously approved the sale of the Commanders to a group led by the co-owner of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and NHL’s New Jersey Devils.
Following the release, Lisa J. Banks and Debra S. Katz, the attorneys representing more than 40 former Commanders employees, including Johnston and Jason Friedman, another key witness in the White investigation, said they were proud of their clients.
“More than three years ago, our clients bravely came forward to expose the egregious sexual harassment and abuse at the Washington Commanders, and today they can claim full vindication,” a statement read.
‘Dan Snyder was forced to sell the team he said he would never sell, pay a massive fine to the NFL, and there is now an extensive public record of his personal wrongdoing and misconduct that occurred under his leadership.
‘We are proud of our clients’ courage in coming out publicly and working tirelessly to hold Mr. Snyder accountable.
The public owes a particular debt of gratitude to Tiffani Johnston and our many clients who testified about the sexual harassment they endured on a daily basis working for the Commanders. His testimony and subsequent cooperation with the Mary Jo White investigation have conclusively refuted Mr. Snyder’s lies about the harassment and abuse that occurred and his role in perpetuating it.
Mary Jo White’s extensive investigation sets the record straight and vindicates the testimony of our clients, especially in regards to Jason Friedman, who has been the subject of a fierce smear campaign by the team because he provided evidence, confirmed by Mary Jo White, about fraudulent financial practices that occurred under Mr. Snyder’s leadership.
Tiffani Johnston, former Commanders employee, speaks before the Congressional Oversight Committee
“We demand that Mr. Snyder and the Washington Commanders immediately retract their false and defamatory statements about Mr. Friedman and issue an apology for their repeated attempts to defame, harass and intimidate those who have come forward.”
However, they also criticized the NFL and questioned why it allowed Snyder to keep the property, despite being aware of the allegations.
They added: “While today is a day that has been long in coming for our clients, and clearly a day to celebrate their victory, we would be remiss not to ask why, after being repeatedly made aware of the numerous allegations against Mr. Snyder, through testimony from our clients, the Beth Wilkinson investigation, and a congressional investigation, the NFL and Roger Goodell allowed him to keep the property, buried the findings of their own investigation, and, most importantly, helped him conceal and prevent the responsibility”.
We have repeatedly asked the NFL and Commissioner Goodell to condition the sale on a commitment from Snyder that he will not retaliate against our clients and others who participated in these investigations. He has ignored our concerns. What will the NFL do to make our clients and others whose lives were deeply damaged by Snyder and his organization whole?’