Attorneys for several former Washington Football Team employees have called for an internal NFL investigation into their allegations of sexual harassment.
The attorneys, who represent more than a dozen former team employees, are also calling on commissioner Roger Goodell to suspend team owner Dan Snyder during the investigation, The Washington Post reported.
Snyder is not the subject of any of the allegations but the ex-employees have said he would likely have been aware of them.
Lisa Banks and Debra Katz also demanded Goodell remove Snyder if the NFL substantiates a separate investigation, according to a Washington Post report on Wednesday.
The Post story on Thursday alleges that team officials compiled explicit “outtakes” from cheerleader swimsuit calendar shoots for Snyder and other team officials without the cheerleaders’ knowledge or consent. Snyder has denied any involvement and called the Post story a “hit piece.”
Goodell said in a statement Wednesday that the Post story details “unprofessional, disturbing and abhorrent behavior” but did not commit to an internal probe. The commissioner said the league would wait for the results of an ongoing investigation initiated and funded by the team concerning the harassment allegations.
Banks and Katz called the steps Goodell has taken “too little and too late” and said that their clients are not willing to speak to investigators hired by Snyder.
“Indeed, our clients live in fear of further retaliation by Mr. Snyder, as he has repeatedly demonstrated his propensity to weaponize the legal system to punish accusers and intimidate others from coming forward,” they wrote. “The time is long overdue for the NFL to police this type of behavior and to act decisively to penalize those in its ranks, like Daniel Snyder, who allow women to be repeatedly exploited and mistreated as a prerogative of being a rich and powerful NFL team owner.”
Katz and Banks further called on Goodell to order Snyder to waive female employees’ nondisclosure agreements.
NFL bylaws give the league and team owners the option to attempt to force the sale of a franchise if they believe an owner’s conduct has hurt league welfare. However, a person familiar with NFL deliberations told the Post the allegations are unlikely to lead to a challenge to Snyder.