Roger Goodell says NFL condemns behavior in Washington franchise, independent investigation underway

The Washington Football Team is on notice from the NFL.

Previously the league had taken a lax approach to the inappropriate behavior in Daniel Snyder’s franchise, which has been detailed in multiple stories by the Washington Post. Snyder released a statement on the latest Post story, which included more alleged workplace misconduct, but spent a good bit of that statement ripping the Post and placing blame elsewhere.

The NFL, which has to be embarrassed by the culture in one of its 32 franchises, said there is an independent investigation “in process,” and if the organization does not cooperate fully the league will take “appropriate action.”

NFL’s statement on Washington Football Team

Here is NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s statement on the latest Post story on the Washington Football Team:

“We strongly condemn the unprofessional, disturbing and abhorrent behavior and workplace environment alleged in the report which is entirely inconsistent with our standards and has no place in the NFL.

“An independent investigation into these issues is in process, led by highly experienced counsel recommended by our office. We will continue to monitor the progress of this investigation and ensure that the club and its employees satisfy their obligation to give full cooperation to the investigators. If at any time the club or anyone associated with the club fails to do so, the investigating counsel has been asked to promptly advise our office and we will take appropriate action. When the investigation concludes, we will review the findings and take any appropriate action at that time."

Previously, Snyder said the team hired attorney Beth Wilkinson to investigate the team’s culture. Snyder said Wilkinson was “empowered to do a full, unbiased investigation and make any and all requisite recommendations.”

The NFL’s statement on Wednesday said they’re stepping in instead.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, left, talks with Washington Football Team owner Daniel Snyder at training camp in 2010. (AP Photo/Rob Carr, File)
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, left, talks with Washington Football Team owner Daniel Snyder at training camp in 2010. (AP Photo/Rob Carr, File)

Washington has embarrassing allegations against it

Snyder’s statement, which started out taking “full responsibility” for the allegations, was more troubling than anything.

Snyder said he didn’t know about the allegations, talked about how the Post was doing a “hit job” and had “negative agendas,” and seemed to lessen the seriousness of the claims because they were “largely ten to twenty years old.” He also claimed disappointment that former team cheerleader Tiffany Bacon Scourby talked to the Post and not team officials about a 2004 encounter with Snyder, in which she said that he suggested she and the team’s “official ophthalmologist” should “go upstairs and get to know each other better.”

The statement was supposed to help, but was a reminder that Snyder is unlikely to ever change.

The NFL’s words were pointed. The league is seeing a team that was once considered a model franchise fall into decay. We’ll find out if Snyder thinks the NFL’s investigation is also just a “hit job” on allegations that are 10-20 years old.

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