Before Wednesday’s public hearing of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight & Reform, the Committee questioned witnesses in a private, deposition setting. Some of that testimony has come to light.
While much of the testimony is not directly relevant to the workplace issues that sparked attorney Beth Wilkinson’s 10-month investigation and the league’s effort to hide all facts and findings, there are comments that help fill out the public portrait of owner Daniel Snyder, if the testimony is true and accurate.
Via Michael Phillip of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, former team COO David Pauken testified about a 2001 trip to the NCAA men’s final four basketball tournament in Minneapolis.
Asked for an example of conduct that was “unprofessional, unfitting for an owner of a team” from Snyder while traveling, Pauken said that he was recruited to join a “day trip” to Minneapolis for the basketball games on a Saturday, that he later found out “we’re going to be gone for a couple of days,” that Snyder didn’t care about “irrelevant details” such as Pauken’s family obligations or the fact that he brought no other clothes.
Then came a fairly relevant detail, as it relates to the Mad Men culture that prevailed within the organization.
“He said, we’ve got girls lined up, and there’s one for you,” Pauken testified. “And to be honest, I wasn’t sure what to do with that, other than to know I was in trouble here and needed to figure a way out. And we got to Minneapolis, we get over to the hotel that we’re staying in. And there are a number of beautiful women in this hotel suite who are physically very affectionate and they — nobody said they were prostitutes. I assumed they were prostitutes. They had flown in from Dallas.”
Pauken also testified that Snyder, miffed at a deal he had done with Washington Nationals owner Mark Lerner, instructed Pauken to pour milk on the carpet under the seats in Lerner’s suite at FedEx Field, so that it would smell of sour milk when Lerner and his family attended a game.
Likewise, Pauken testified that Snyder openly questioned Pauken’s sexual orientation because Pauken resisted efforts to sexualize the team’s cheerleading crew. Pauken testified that Snyder would say of Pauken, “Yeah, he has to be gay. As ugly as these cheerleaders are. Pauken, are you gay? You must be gay. How could you have a cheerleading squad that looks like this?”
On Wednesday, Committee chairperson Carolyn Maloney said that Snyder will be subpoenaed to testify at a deposition of his own. Needless to say, he will have plenty of questions to answer.