Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Commanders owner Daniel Snyder declines to testify at U.S. House committee hearing on Washington misconduct

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USATSI

The U.S. House of Representative’s Oversight Committee, one of Congress’ top investigative arms, recently requested that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Commanders owner Daniel Snyder testify at an upcoming June 22 hearing regarding workplace misconduct inside the Washington franchise. At least one of them has officially declined the invitation, with Axios reporting Wednesday that Snyder will not attend the hearing over concerns he and his lawyers have over “due process.”

Karen Patton Seymour, Snyder’s attorney, wrote to the committee Wednesday that her client will be traveling out of the country as part of “a longstanding Commanders-related business conflict” on June 22, but that Snyder “remains willing to cooperate with the Committee” during its investigation of Washington. The committee declined a previous request by Snyder’s legal team to delay the hearing over additional concerns about the “questions (that would be) directed to Mr. Snyder.”

The Commanders also offered to send another “knowledgeable witness” to testify June 22, per The Washington Post, citing this person’s day-to-day responsibilities with the team as proof they would be “in a far better position to answer questions about the workplace culture.” But the committee declined. A spokesperson for the committee told CBS Sports later Wednesday that the hearing is scheduled to proceed as planned with or without Snyder, and that the committee will respond to his letter excusing himself from participation. A source close to the situation also expressed uncertainty over Goodell’s plans regarding the hearing.

Lisa Banks and Debra Katz, the attorneys representing more than 40 former Commanders employees alleging a longtime pattern of harassment and sexual misconduct inside the organization, have since called for the Oversight Committee to “issue a subpoena to compel Mr. Snyder to appear,” per the Post, in order to teach the billionaire that “he is not above the law.”

The Oversight Committee has been investigating Washington, and the NFL‘s own handling of the situation, for months. The NFL previously announced it has “cooperated extensively” by “producing more than 460,000 pages of documents” to the committee regarding its Washington investigation. Six former employees of the Commanders, meanwhile, joined leaders of the Oversight Committee for a February roundtable discussion about alleged misconduct. The roundtable unveiled both new allegations — including claims of inappropriate behavior by Snyder — and a renewed commitment to “potential legislative solutions” focused on holding the NFL and Washington’s “perpetrators of sexual harassment” accountable.

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