For weeks, allegations have been raised about the past culture within the Washington Football Team.
An initial scathing Washington Post story in July detailed alleged sexual harassment claims from 15 former team employees and two reporters who covered the team.
Among the names were former team executives Alex Santos, Richard Mann II and Larry Michael, who was also the team's radio broadcaster. None remain with the organization. This week, the Post released a follow-up story with additional allegations of sexual misconduct, including stories from former cheerleader Tiffany Bacon Scourby that involved team owner Dan Snyder.
The allegations in the reports span years. Civil rights and employment attorney Lisa J. Banks, who represents at least 12 former female employees who have come forward, can think of only one way to describe the past culture in Washington.
"It's a uniquely terrible environment," Banks said on 106.7's The Sports Junkies in a Friday interview.
"It's tremendous. Usually, you have a situation in an organization where you have a few individuals who have been harassed because there's one or two harrowers that have sort of poisoned the environment," Banks said. "Here we have a culture that is just pervasive. This toxicity is pervasive throughout the organization."
For a toxic culture to remain over the years and be persistent, Banks believes that the leadership at the top deserves blame.
"That kind of environment is created from the top," Banks said. "You can not have that kind of culture without that coming from the top at least indirectly."
Specifically, Banks noted the notion that Snyder could be unaware of the problems brought to light by the Post's reporting. In the initial story by the Post on July 16, Snyder was never explicitly mentioned in the allegations.
But based on Snyder's connection and relationships with those former executives named, as well as how the owner has run the franchise in the past, Banks can't see a scenario in which Snyder was blind to the alleged harassment and misconduct.
"Those individuals were certainly engaging in bad behavior on a very consistent basis. But they're Dan Snyder's talking heads," Banks said. "They all work together to run the organization."
"So this idea that Dan Snyder was unaware of the culture in the organization, or that he was not aware of how these men behaved and operated is ludicrous. You can accuse Dan Snyder of a lot of things, but being hands-off is not one of them."
Now representing clients who have alleged sexual harassment and misconduct against the Washington Football Team, Banks is examining the team's culture up close. But, she's also seen the issues from the outside.
Beginning her work in Washington, D.C. right around the time Snyder became the owner of the team in 1999, Banks says the reputation of the franchise has soured over the past 21 years. Banks believes years of poor performance on the field and the recent allegations has changed fans' perspective of the team.
"I remember hearing people talk with reverence about the Redskins, and this was such as Redskins town. People loved the team," Banks said. "The difference between then and now about how people view this team, as a joke, as a failed organization. It's night and day."
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