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The coverup continues.
Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder has declined a request to appear and testify on June 22 for a hearing of the U.S. House Oversight & Reform Committee.
Via Axios.com, attorney Karen Patton Seymour communicated the decision in a four-page letter sent to the Committee on Wednesday.
The letter cites several reasons for Snyder’s decision not to attend at testify, both substantive and procedural. This one stands out: Seymour writes that, on June 22, Snyder “has a longstanding Commanders-related business conflict.” That’s confusing, given that Snyder supposedly isn’t currently involved in the day-to-day business operations of the Commanders.
Seymour gives other reasons related to “fundamental notions of fairness and due process” arising from an alleged refusal by the Committee to “provide such basic information that would enable a witness to defend himself,” especially with multiple other pending investigations regarding the team generally and Snyder personally.
The letter also tries to downplay the basis for the pending investigation by the Committee, by pointing out that “any alleged misconduct . . . occurred more than a decade in the past.” The issue isn’t when it happened. The issue is whether Snyder and the team faced fair and proper consequences for that misconduct, whatever it may have been. (We still don’t know specifically what it was, because it’s been hidden.)
Congress began investigating the situation because the 10-month investigation conducted by attorney Beth Wilkinson ended with no written report, at the request of the league, and no recommendations — even though she would have recommended that Snyder be compelled to sell the team. The fact that the underlying events happened more than a decade ago simply doesn’t matter. What matters is whether the league properly handled the information that Wilkinson developed, or whether it’s all being concealed in order to protect Snyder and, in turn, other owners who may eventually face allegations of workplace misconduct.
As the saying with clear Washington origins goes, the coverup is worse than the crime. It’s impossible to know that in this case, because the coverup continues to shield whatever it was that happened from public view. With Snyder unsurprisingly not prioritizing the request and otherwise clearing his calendar for what should be a matter of extreme importance, the Committee — and the rest of us — still won’t know what there is to know about Wilkinson’s investigation, her findings, and the most fair and appropriate consequences.
Of course, some of that information may come from Commissioner Roger Goodell, if he shows up next Wednesday.