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Time and again, we’ve seen the NFL give talented players second, third and sometimes fourth chances, despite some appalling behavior.
With that in mind, and after seeing what Daniel Snyder has wrought in Washington both on and off the field, what exactly is Snyder bringing to the table for his fellow team owners and commissioner Roger Goodell to give him so many chances?
On Wednesday, ESPN announced that four women sat down with the network’s Jeremy Schaap, and that those interviews will be broadcast throughout Thursday. They are among 42 women who have spoken with the Washington Post for its reporting on the alleged pervasive culture of misogyny and sexual harassment within the Washington Football Team’s business offices.
By our count, this will be the fourth time in the past two years, and third in the past two months, that a credible news outlet has reported accusations against Snyder’s team.
In 2018, it was The New York Times reporting allegations of exploitative behavior toward team cheerleaders, namely when they said they were taken to Costa Rica for a photoshoot, stripped of their passports and had suite-holders leering at them without their permission as a perk. In July and August, it was the Post’s first thoroughly reported story and then the follow-up which had even more women step forward.
The four women we’ll see Thursday are not new complainants, though attorney Lisa J. Banks told a Virginia radio station last week that no fewer than a dozen more women had reached out to her to discuss their experiences while working for Snyder’s team.
Still, this will be the fourth time. The fourth time the public will learn of the purported toxic culture within Snyder’s team.
And so we ask again: What, exactly, is Snyder bringing to the table that his fellow owners and Goodell, those mighty defenders of their precious “shield”, are simply shrugging at? No fewer than four dozen women and a few men detailing a rotted culture within one of the league’s legacy franchises isn’t enough?
It’s not his personality — Snyder isn’t even well-liked among his fellow club owners.
It’s not a winning team in one of the country’s largest media markets, either. Since Snyder purchased the franchise in 1999, Washington is 142-193-1 (.424) with just five playoff appearances, has burned through seven head coaches, and at the moment has posted five straight sub-.500 seasons.
It’s certainly not buzz. Because of Washington’s failure and dysfunction, attendance at cavernous FedEx Field has dropped 31 percent, with visiting team fans seemingly outnumbering home fans on more than a few occasions in recent seasons.
And yet the NFL is letting story after story come out and sully the shield without so much as a suspension for Snyder amid an investigation into the extent of what has been allowed at team offices — which, in a transparent PR move, Goodell finally mandated be overseen by the league and not Snyder. The league’s bylaws stipulate that the personal conduct policy applies to franchise owners too, so Goodell would have that latitude.
Will this be a case similar to Ray Rice’s, where once the public sees these women on video speaking out there will be action? As if the skin-crawling details given in multiple print reports aren’t good enough?
Snyder himself has been implicated by at least one woman, former cheerleader Tiffany Scourby, who alleges that at a 2004 team fundraising event Snyder suggested she go to a hotel room with the “team ophthalmologist” to “get to know him better.” One former member of the team’s video production staff alleges that of lewd outtakes from cheerleader photo shoots, showing their bare breasts and genital areas — called “the good bits” or “the good parts” — were spliced together to give to Snyder.
This is a man who is so overbearing that the company employee manual instructs that Snyder must be addressed only as “sir” or “Mr. Snyder” (and even tries to demand the same from those who don’t work for him), cannot be looked in the eye, and cannot be made to smell the food of his overworked assistants when they’re allowed to eat.
And we’re supposed to believe he didn’t know what was happening, every day, in his own building?
Jerry Richardson at least saw the writing on the wall and put the Carolina Panthers up for sale before the NFL stepped in, after women working in team offices accused him of behavior that can be generously described as creepy. It was also revealed that at least one Black employee received a settlement after Richardson used a racial slur toward him.
The Panthers hadn’t been a laughingstock before the report of Richardson’s misdeeds came out either.
Thursday we’ll watch as four brave women tell their stories and what they endured when they were just trying to do a job and earn a living. A fourth story revealing the rot in Ashburn.
Will Snyder ever be out of chances with the league?
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