WASHINGTON — It does not appear the National Football League has satisfactorily met a deadline imposed by the Congressional committees investigating the NFL's handling of allegations made against the Washington Football Team. Nov. 4 has come and gone, and the chairpersons on the congressional committees are still calling on Roger Goodell to "make good" on his promise to cooperate.
In 2020, the NFL began an extensive investigation into allegations of harassment and workplace hostility within the Washington football organization. However, the NFL made it clear it would not issue a report on its 10-month investigation because of its promise to protect the identities of those who testified, Commissioner Roger Goodell said.
Congress got involved, issuing Goodell a deadline of Nov. 4 to hand over "all documents and communications obtained in connection with the investigation into WFT."
"We'll respond to Congress appropriately," Goodell promised on Oct. 26. "We'll be cooperative."
Based on a joint statement Friday from the chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform and the chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy -- the committees handling the investigation -- it does not appear that what was handed off was satisfactory.
“If the NFL & WFT are serious about addressing, among other things, sexual harassment within their organizations, they must allow these individuals to speak freely," Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) said in a statement. "The NFL has committed to producing documents. We look forward to seeing them.”
“Commissioner Goodell said the NFL will cooperate with Congress, and we expect him to make good on that promise by producing the documents requested," Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) added in the statement.
WUSA9 reached out to the NFL for comment and was provided the following statement:
"The NFL on Thursday submitted responses to the questions in the Committee’s October 21 letter. As we have discussed with the Committee, we are in the process of identifying responsive documents while working through issues of privilege and anonymity promised to participants in the investigation," said an NFL spokesman via email.
Goodell has previously said the NFL did release a summary of the investigation and that Washington owner Daniel Snyder has not been allowed to handle any of the day-to-day operations of the franchise since July, when he promoted his wife, Tanyas Snyder, to be co-CEO. The NFL also fined the team $10 million.
“I do think he has been held accountable and the organization has been held accountable,” Goodell said.
Multiple former WFT employees who participated in the NFL's investigation said they were not promised security, privacy or anonymity when they participated, and in a letter released by their attorneys, they wrote they participated in the NFL's query "with the expectation both they and the public would be provided with the findings."
"The Jon Gruden email leak, all the way up until today's Congressional response to the NFL not producing the documents is giving me hope," said Melanie Coburn, who worked for the WFT from 1997-2011, first as a cheerleader and later as the team's marketing director. "It's encouraging me to keep going forward, to keep pushing forward. To keep sharing the stories and I think if we continue sharing the stories I think change will come."
"When you stand up and you know what's right, it takes a while. It takes a lot of people behind you to do it. But I do believe that in the best interest of everyone it has to come out and it will come out," said longtime WFT employee Ana Nunez.
Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) who also sits on the House Oversight and Reform Committee has told WUSA9 that she thinks a hearing would be "highly likely."
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