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One of the women told ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap that the repeated misogyny and sexual harassment allegations that have come out didn’t come just from the front office.
It came from the players, too.
‘I was followed to my car by a player’
Angela Klein was an intern for the team in 2010, while she was a graduate student at Georgetown. She is now a sports executive and professor in Brazil, her native country.
Klein told ESPN that a player on the team — she didn’t name him — used to follow her to her car in the parking lot and would badger her repeatedly into going on a date with him. When she complained or told her colleagues, she said her concerns were brushed off.
“I was followed to my car by a player who I kept saying, ‘I don’t want to go out with you. Please just leave me alone.’ And he followed me to my car,” Klein told ESPN.
“These guys are huge. They’re massive. How am I supposed to feel safe and do my job if I know that somebody is going to be waiting for me in the parking lot? And I have my colleagues telling me, 'Oh, just wait. Couple days they'll get tired and then they'll go chase somebody else.’ How is that acceptable?”
Seven years later, Washington’s chief financial officer Stephen Choi allegedly directed the human resources department to implement a new “conduct policy.”
According to The Washington Post, that policy restricted the movement of women in the building “to minimize their interaction with the players,” something several employees told the newspaper had been a long unwritten rule, as “women should avoid football operations areas out of concern that they would distract players.”
Klein later declined the opportunity to extend her internship in part “because she felt so uncomfortable about male executives constantly remarking on her looks,” according to The Post.
“At the other places where I worked, I could tell the sexual harassment was about the individuals,” Klein told ESPN. “At the Washington Football Team, I felt like it was institutionalized.
“The ownership, or the leadership of the company, I don’t think they respect women. And I don’t think they saw it as a problem.”
‘[Snyder] is 100 percent responsible’
The NFL took over the independent investigation into the Washington Football Team earlier this week, something Snyder said in a statement would ensure “the results are thorough, complete and trusted by the fans, the players, our employees and the public.”
Snyder — along with a series of front-office moves which included hiring the league’s first Black president — took responsibility for the allegations of sexual misconduct within his organization when they first surfaced last month, though he said he was unaware of them and that he had “admittedly been too hands-off as an owner.”
That statement, at least according to former marketing and client services director Rachel Engelson, wasn’t good enough. In her eyes, Snyder “is 100 percent responsible.”
“To me, [the statement] was a slap in the face,” Engelson told ESPN. “It completely ignored my entire experience because he’s saying that this happened more than 10 years ago and I just left the team a year and a half ago.
“That response to me was not OK. That was not someone who was willing to take responsibility. It was an attack on every one of us who had the guts and the courage to come forward.”
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