Former U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White was hired in February to conduct the investigation and the NFL has promised to release a written report of the findings. The league has said there’s no timeline for White to complete the probe. White also handled the league’s investigation into Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross earlier this year.
“I anticipate at some point that it’ll be scheduled and she’ll meet with him and ask him questions and he’ll answer them,” Commanders legal counsel John Brownlee said on the AP Pro Football Podcast. “He sat for an 11-hour deposition, as you know, before Congress this summer. (He) did a great job, answered every question. … He’s doing his best to cooperate with all of these things that are going on, and we feel confident that once people kind of learn the actual facts, they’ll realize that these allegations are not true.”
White’s current review follows the league’s initial independent investigation by attorney Beth Wilkinson’s firm commissioned in 2020, which found Washington’s workplace culture to be toxic. Snyder and the team were fined $10 million in July 2021, and the league said he turned day-to-day operations over to wife Tanya, but no written report of the findings was released.
Brownlee says Snyder is no longer under any restrictions, but NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said last week that his status hasn’t changed. Tanya Snyder has represented the team at league meetings, including last Tuesday in New York.
A league spokesman reiterated Thursday that Goodell’s comment stands and Snyder’s status hasn’t changed. Goodell said in August he’ll discuss it with Snyder after the investigations are completed and there’s a resolution.
“She’s just done a great job and I think he recognizes that,” Brownlee said. “I think the other folks within the organization recognize it. I think she enjoys it. And so, this is a really strong team. They’ve been married for almost 30 years. … They’ve done everything really together as a team. And so in light of kind of everything that’s going on, I think they jointly made the decision that she would take a more prominent role as an owner and represent the team at the league meetings. And, she’s really been embraced. It’s really been positive. There aren’t too many female owners in the league. And so she’s one and she’s got real strong relationships with many of the owners. And so it’s been a real positive for her, for the team, for the league.”
Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay has taken a hard stance against Snyder, saying there’s “ merit to remove ” him as owner based on the allegations. Removing Snyder would be unprecedented and requires 24 votes from the other owners.
“Mr. Irsay has acknowledged that he doesn’t have the evidence,” Brownlee said. “He’s never been briefed on the evidence, whatever evidence exists. And so I think that’s important. I’m not sure why he felt compelled to speak about an investigation for which he’s not been briefed but that was his choice. We do think that it’s important, as the Commissioner noted, to wait and listen to the evidence, evaluate it, look what it says, and then you can make judgments about it.”
The Commanders denied the contents of the report, calling it “categorically untrue” and “clearly part of a well-funded, two-year campaign to coerce the sale of the team, which will continue to be unsuccessful.”
Snyder addressed the report in a letter to owners.
“That is patently false and intended to erode the trust and goodwill between owners that I take quite seriously,” he wrote.
The league’s latest investigation came after Tiffani Johnston, who worked for Washington for eight years starting in 2002 as a cheerleader and marketing manager, told the committee in February that Snyder placed his hand on her thigh without her consent at a team dinner, and that he pushed her toward his limousine with his hand on her lower back. She had not previously disclosed those allegations to the media or investigators.
Another former team employee, Jason Friedman, corroborated Johnston’s account in a letter to the committee.
“It’s our understanding that Ms. Wilkinson offered to interview Ms. Johnston when she was doing her investigation, and she declined,” Brownlee said. “The reality is there’s just no evidence that ever occurred. All you have is this allegation uncorroborated. No physical evidence, no calendar confirmation, no receipt confirmation. But you have an allegation and it has just spread. It’s as if when the media reports it, it’s as if it actually happened.”
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