HOR Committee releases final report on Commanders, but what does it say about the franchise and Dan Snyder?
Following an extensive investigation into claims of a toxic workplace environment, it remains to be seen what the next step will be.
With the committee having completed its investigation into the franchise and its owner, the question now remains as to whether he will actually sell the team or not.
Commanders investigation concludes, uncovers Jon Gruden leak
It’s been more than a year, since the U.S. House of Representatives’ Oversight Committee launched an investigation into the workplace culture of the Washington Commanders, but reports have confirmed that the probe has finally come to an end, with a 79-page final report about its findings now public. With regards to those findings, the report has concluded that team owner Daniel Snyder “permitted and participated in” the “troubling conduct” that we now know has resulted in fines, lawsuits and other league enforced sanctions. Interestingly, the report also contains testimony from Snyder and former Washington president Bruce Allen, who alleges the Commanders were behind the leaked emails that led to the resignation of ex-Raiders coach Jon Gruden.
To recap, the Oversight Committee, the House’s top investigative arm, began to review Washington’s workplace conduct following the controversy created by the Gruden email scandal. If you missed it, Gruden resigned from his position following a New York Times article in which his emails were published. Gruden was seen to repeatedly use profane and misogynistic language, while maintaining frequent correspondence with Allen, who worked in Washington’s front office from 2010-2019. Indeed, Allen testified that a senior NFL official told him the Commanders leaked said emails, apparently to implicated him and not Snyder the owner, for their own franchise’s hostile workplace environment.
Who said what? Bruce Allen downplays his role
One intriguing aspect of this latest development, is the notion that Allen testified that Snyder indirectly warned him not to expose Snyder for his own part in the situation. It is understood that in both direct communications and via private investigators who were sent to his home in early 2021, Allen attempted to advise the Commanders owner. To that end, Snyder also allegedly considered using private investigators to gather information on NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, according to Allen’s testimony. Indeed, this would seem to support recent reports which suggested that Snyder - in fear of further sanctions - privately claimed to have “dirt” on his colleagues. It’s worth noting, that Snyder himself testified before the committee for more than 10 hours, but only did so after refusing several invitations to join Goodell in a public hearing back in the summer. Snyder’s testimony was described as “often evasive or misleading,” by the report.
What was the Commanders response to the report?
Needless to say, it wasn’t long before the franchise issued a public statement in response to the report. You can see it for yourself below:
“These Congressional investigators demonstrated, almost immediately, that they were not interested in the truth, and were only interested in chasing headlines by pursuing one side of the story. Today’s report is the predictable culmination of that one-sided approach. ...As is typical of the Committee, they have refused, despite our repeated requests, to release the full transcript of Mr. Snyder’s deposition. ...And, ironically for an “investigative” body supposedly engaged in an “investigation,” the investigators actually criticize the team and Mr. Snyder for providing evidence to the Committee -- such as e-mails former team employees sent from their workplace accounts -- that reveal the actual causes of the formerly dysfunctional workplace environment at the team. Today’s report does not advance public knowledge of the Washington Commanders workplace in any way. The team is proud of the progress it has made in recent years in establishing a welcoming and inclusive workplace, and it looks forward to future success, both on and off the field.”
Commanders investigation divides Republicans and Democrats
As if there weren’t already enough layers to the scenario surrounding the Commanders and their owner, politics has also been added to the mix. Along with his wife, Tanya, the franchise’s Commanders’ technical day-to-day CEO, Snyder has continuously denied the allegations and characterizations made by the Committee’s lead investigators, who are in fact House Democrats. In keeping with that, Committee Republicans - over the course of the investigation - took to repeatedly dismissing the probe as a pointless venture. Indeed, they did so again on Thursday following the release of the final report, arguing that Democrats have “chosen to weaponize the power of Congress against a single private workplace.” Going further, Republicans claim that the Committee only initiated theinvestigation in an effort to force Synder and Co. to sell the franchise. Do recall, that the Snyders announced just last month that they would in fact be exploring the potential sale of the franchise, though no further details were given. As a point to note, the Commanders are still facing a second NFL investigation which is being conducted by attorney Mary Jo White.