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The NFL is feeling the heat from Congress over the league’s investigation into the Washington Football Team as two members of Congress requested documents and information regarding the team’s hostile workplace culture and NFL’s handling of the matter.
Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi sent a letter to NFL Commissioner Rodger Goodell expressing their concerns that the Jon Gruden emails raise questions about NFL management’s impartiality and willingness to address serious problems.
Maloney is the Chairwoman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform and Krishnamoorthi is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy.
“The NFL has one of the most prominent platforms in America, and its decisions can have national implications,” the Chairs wrote in the letter. “The NFL’s lack of transparency about the problems it recently uncovered raise questions about the seriousness with which it has addressed bigotry, racism, sexism, and homophobia—setting troubling precedent for other workplaces.”
The letter outlined the specific allegations made against the Washington Football Team and addressed how the league has responded to those allegations.
The two members said the league announced the outcome of the WFT investigation in a press release, which described vague and conclusory findings, including that “the workplace environment… particularly for women, was highly unprofessional,” that “[b]ullying and intimidation frequently took place,” and that “senior executives engaged in inappropriate conduct themselves” on July 1, but never disclosed the full results of the investigation.
The letter also referenced emails between former team general manager Bruce Allen and NFL general counsel Jeff Pash.
Maloney and Krishnamoorthi alleged communication between Allen and Pash may have influenced how the league handled the investigation and said in the letter they have “serious concerns about what appears to be widespread abusive workplace conduct at the WFT and about the NFL’s handling of this matter.”
“Leaked emails between WFT official Bruce Allen, former NFL coach Jon Gruden, and others obtained during the course of the NFL’s internal investigation exposed workplace cultures within the NFL filled with racism, misogyny, and homophobia,” the press release reads. “These emails also raised questions about the league’s impartiality in conducting internal investigations.”
The Chairs have requested documents and information related to the investigations by Nov. 4.
“The Committee is seeking to fully understand this workplace conduct and the league’s response, which will help inform legislative efforts to address toxic work environments and workplace investigation processes; strengthen protections for women in the workplace; and address the use of non-disclosure agreements to prevent the disclosure of unlawful employment practices, including sexual harassment. We hope and trust that the NFL shares the Committee’s goal of protecting American workers from harassment and discrimination,” the Chairs wrote in the release.
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