Roger Goodell’s testimony before Congress was embarrassing [Updated]

If the NFL was hoping to come out of today’s hearing looking better, it failed

We may earn a commission from links on this page.
Roger Goodell Zooms into Capitol Hill.
Roger Goodell Zooms into Capitol Hill.
Photo: AP

Ah, if there’s anything that will make you feel the slightest semblance of sympathy for Roger Goodell in this situation, it’s watching him testify before the House Oversight Committee. Emphasis on slight, though — among the periods of being inexplicably interrogated about Dave Portnoy and baby formula, Goodell also continued to insist that Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder had been appropriately punished for the workplace culture he infamously created, and doubled down on keeping the NFL’s investigation into Snyder unpublished and private.

Today, the House Oversight Committee published a 29-page report on their investigation into Snyder. Their findings concluded that Snyder had conducted his own investigation into those speaking out against him, including journalists, attorneys, and employees, compiling a dossier in an attempt to place blame for the toxic workplace on former president Bruce Allen and to “discredit” his accusers. He then sent this information to Beth Wilkinson and the NFL in an attempt to interfere with the investigation.

He also sent private investigators to accusers’ homes to intimidate them and offer them hush money. He gained information on private correspondence by filing an overseas lawsuit with an Indian entertainment company, which allowed him to subpoena his former employees’ records.


A sexual assault allegation against Snyder from 2009 has come to light, as well, one that he settled at the time for $1.6 million, adding onto the multiple allegations of sexual misconduct within the franchise from executives and Snyder himself, as well as the mistreatment, terminations, and inappropriate filming of female employees of the organization, including cheerleaders.

Much of the Committee’s report is based on detailed testimony from the former Washington chief operating officer Dave Pauken, who worked closely with Snyder and told the committee that he was a very hands-on owner and chose to ignore allegations of sexual misconduct, specifically one in which a coach groped a public relations employee.


And yet Goodell maintained today that the $10 million fine and the apparent “stepping away from day-to-day operations,” along with a total lack of any written report from investigator Beth Wilkinson, was a sufficient response to the hundreds of testimonies of these former employees.

He told the committee that the organization has undergone a “transformation” that is “important to the employees who are there now” — essentially, trying to put the past in the past and pray that the world forgets about Snyder (seriously, what does this guy have on Goodell??). The commissioner also repeated that he had chosen that the results of the investigation be presented orally rather than produce a written report as a response to victims requesting confidentiality, though many witnesses have since requested that the report be published publicly since he first made that claim.


He also said that redaction wouldn’t work to protect the identities of those who had requested anonymity — ironically, probably because Snyder would find some sort of back alley to get those identities and attempt to smear their names in the public eye, just as he did during the investigation. Bit of a chicken-and-egg situation there.

And as the Republican members of the committee repeatedly claimed that this was a sham hearing and kissed Goodell’s ass, they were the ones, unfortunately, to make it such. Goodell, while answering (sorry, avoiding) questions about the NFL’s handling of the Washington investigation, was also asked why Barstool president Dave Portnoy was banned from NFL games, why the committee wasn’t meeting on the issue of infant formula shortage, whether he would use his platform to tell the world that systemic racism “doesn’t exist,” and why he thought the committee had called him there today. So, half of the hearing was completely unproductive, and the other half was just Goodell dodging accountability.


The committee’s chairwoman, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D), said that she planned to subpoena Snyder to appear at a deposition next week. Snyder is also the subject of a second investigation into sexual misconduct claims directed at the owner himself. So we get to sit through more of this! Yay!