Washington Football Team Hit With Eight-Figure Fine Following Investigation Into Team's Culture

The Washington Football Team has been hit with a massive fine after the NFL completed its workplace review of the club. On Thursday, the league announced Washington will be fined $10 million, which will be "used to support organizations committed to character education, anti-bullying, healthy relationships and related topics." The investigation was led by independent counsel Beth Wilkinson, and her review determined that Washington's workplace environment, "both generally and particularly for women, was highly unprofessional." Some of the things that took place are bullying and intimidation and numerous females said they experienced sexual harassment.

"I want to thank Beth Wilkinson and her team for conducting a thorough and independent review of the Washington club's workplace culture and conduct and providing both the club and me with a series of thoughtful recommendations based on her findings," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said. "Beth and her team performed their work in a highly professional and ethical manner. Most importantly, I want to thank the current and former employees who spoke to Beth and her team; they provided vital information that will help ensure that the workplace environment at the club continues to improve. It is incredibly difficult to relive painful memories. I am grateful to everyone who courageously came forward."

Wilkinson made a series of 10 recommendations for Washington, including developing a disciplinary action plan, conduct anonymous workplace culture and sexual harassment surveys and assigning an HR employee to the cheerleading squad. Washington is required to report its progress to the league office implementing the 10 recommendations with the first report being due on July 31.

Wilkinson interviewed more than 150 people including team owner Dan Snyder. This news comes shortly after Dan Snyder named his wife Tanya Snyder, as the team's co-CEO. She will assume all responsibilities for day-to-day team operations and represent the club in league meetings for the next several months. Dan Snyder will oversee the new stadium plan and other matters.

"Over the past 18 months, Dan and Tanya have recognized the need for change and have undertaken important steps to make the workplace comfortable and dignified for all employees, and those changes, if sustained and built upon, should allow the club to achieve its goal of having a truly first-tier workplace. I truly appreciate their commitment to fully implement each of the below ten recommendations, but the league also must ensure accountability for past deficiencies and for living up to current and future commitments."

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The investigation began in July 2020, stemming from a number of sexual harassment allegations made by previous employees over a 15-year span that was reported by The Washington Post. Over the last year, Washington has looked to improve its culture by hiring Ron Rivera as the head coach and hiring Jason Wright as the NFL's first Black team president.

Dan Snyder released a statement once the NFL made the announcement. He said: "I have learned a lot in the past few months about how my club operated, and the kind of workplace that we had. It is now clear that the culture was not what it should be, but I did not realize the extent of the problems, or my role in allowing that culture to develop and continue. I know that as the owner, I am ultimately responsible for the workplace. I have said that and I say it again."