The Washington Post published an article revealing a toxic work environment inside the Washington NFL team, including allegations from 15 female employees of sexual harassment and mistreatment for over a decade, between 2006-2019.
The article provides statements from 40 former employees of the team. Fourteen of the women “spoke on the condition of anonymity citing a fear of litigation, as some signed nondisclosure agreements with the team that threaten legal retribution if they speak negatively about the club.”
Several high-level employees were accused of creating a “toxic, mood-driven environment” including now-former voice of the team Larry Michael, former Director of Pro Personnel Alex Santos, and Assistant Director of Pro Personnel, Richard Mann.
Michael announced his retirement last week, while Santos and Mann were fired last week after the Post contacted club for comment. Complaints were also detailed against former President of Business Operations, Dennis Greene, and former Chief Operating Officer, Mitch Gershman.
Details include “unwelcome overtures or comments of a sexual nature, and exhortations to wear revealing clothing and flirt with clients to close sales deals.” There were also text messages shared with the Post.
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) July 16, 2020
Emily Applegate, who spent a year with the team as a marketing coordinator, called the year with Washington “the most miserable time of my life.”
“And we all tolerated it, because we knew if we complained–and they reminded us of this–there were 1,000 people out there who would take our job in a heartbeat,” she added.
While there were no outright accusations made against former team president Bruce Allen or owner Dan Snyder, they aren’t without fault in some ways.
“I would assume Bruce [Allen] knew, because he sat 30 feet away from me … and saw me sobbing at my desk several times every week,” Applegate said.
As for Snyder, “Applegate and others … blamed him for an understaffed human resources department and what they viewed as a sophomoric culture of verbal abuse among top executives that they believed played a role in how those executives treated their employees.”
Overall, this story is horrifying and no one deserves to be treated the way the women discuss being treated in the article. NFL reporter Lindsay Jones posted the following tweets that detail this isn’t an isolated incident.
The tweets teasing this WaPo story show you how many people, mainly men, in this business knew what was happening. Step up. Speak out when you see it. Be real allies.
— Lindsay Jones (@bylindsayhjones) July 16, 2020
There’s a lot I love about working in sports.
But to ignore the toxicity of sports culture would be doing a grave disservice to women.
This is not unusual.
I’m not surprised.
But we’ll keep fighting. https://t.co/WyyRr1y627
— Alyssa Purser (@AlyssaPurser) July 16, 2020
My heart is with all women in sports. Many of us are the only women in the room majority of the time. That comes with a great deal of challenges. Stories like we read today highlight a harassment problem that needs to be addressed universally. No one should have to deal with that
— Taylor Rooks (@TaylorRooks) July 17, 2020
Head coach Ron Rivera told The Athletic’s Ben Standig the following on Thursday.
Washington coach Ron Rivera: pic.twitter.com/Ipz0vHik93
— Ben Standig (@BenStandig) July 16, 2020
Before the story was released, the team hired high-profile lawyer Beth Wilkinson.
Washington’s NFL team hired DC attorney Beth Wilkinson to review the organization’s protocols, per league sources. While Wilkinson is expected to conduct a deep dive into the organization’s past culture, team officials are highly upset/frustrated about speculation running amok.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 16, 2020
Snyder responded early this morning.
Dan Snyder: pic.twitter.com/xlRD1c23UD
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 17, 2020
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