D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine announced Tuesday his office is going after Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder, the franchise itself, the National Football League, and league commissioner Roger Goodell, filing civil charges against the quartet.
Racine’s office alleges they colluded to deceive Washington D.C. residents about the NFL’s investigation into the team’s toxic workplace culture as well as allegations of sexual assault brought against people associated with the franchise.
The lawsuit against Snyder and the others cites the D.C.’s Consumer Protection Procedures Act, which gives the attorney general broad authority to hold individuals or a company accountable for the misleading of customers in the nation’s capital. The act is used here to say the quartet prevented D.C. residents from learning the truth about the investigation into the Commanders’ workplace environment. Last week, Snyder announced a possible sale of the team with a group led by Jeff Bezos, Jay-Z, Matthew McConaughey, and others allegedly combining forces with the interest in buying the franchise.
“For years the team and its owner have caused very real and very serious harm and then lied about it to dodge accountability and to continue to rake in profits,” Racine said during a Thursday press conference announcing the charges. “So far they seem to have gotten away with it, but that stops today.
“We will issue subpoenas,’’ Racine said. “We will seek testimony under oath.’’
Commanders counsel John Brownlee and Stuart Nash said in a statement,“Over two years ago, Dan and Tanya Snyder acknowledged that an unacceptable workplace culture had existed within their organization for several years and they have apologized many times for allowing that to happen. We agree with AG Racine on one thing: the public needs to know the truth. Although the lawsuit repeats a lot of innuendo, half-truths and lies, we welcome this opportunity to defend the organization — for the first time — in a court of law and to establish, once and for all, what is fact and what is fiction.”
And here’s what NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said about the lawsuit, “We reject the legally unsound and factually baseless allegations made today by the D.C. Attorney General against the NFL and Commissioner Goodell and will vigorously defend against those claims.”
Snyder by himself is accused of covering up years of harassment and that the NFL allegedly allowed him to do so. There are financial penalties of up to $5,000 per incident of all parties allegedly lying to D.C. residents since July 2020, when the Washington Post article detailing the organization’s toxic workplace was released. Racine said the full penalty could be in the millions, having worked on a similar case in the past where the total in damages was $10 million.
The lawsuit also seeks a court order that would force the NFL into releasing the findings from the league’s investigation into Washington’s workplace culture. The NFL didn’t publicly release the findings of the investigation into the Commanders, which led to Congress getting involved with a House Oversight Committee review and Goodell testifying before the panel in June.