WASHINGTON — Multiple women involved in the NFL's investigation into the workplace culture of the Washington Football Team are now urging corporate sponsors to put pressure on the league to release the full results of the investigation.
Of the 40 former employees that were part of the investigation, 10 signed a petition sent to six of the NFL's top sponsors to demand transparency into the investigation conducted by attorney Beth Wilkinson following allegations of sexual harassment and other workplace misconduct.
The petition, released by the lawyers of Katz, Marshall & Banks, calls on the CEO's of Verizon, Anheuser-Busch, Amazon, Pepsi, Nike and Procter and Gamble to "step in and join the demands for transparency and accountability for these brave former employees of the WFT."
"Until a written report is conveyed to the NFL and made public we will not know the extent of the harm that occurred, or the reasons this culture was allowed to fester for so long," the petition says. "As corporations that care about women and equity, both inside and outside the workplace, and with consumers and shareholders who expect you to uphold these values, you should not be party to the efforts of the NFL to obfuscate the truth and to deny validation to so many brave women and men who came forward in the hope that the NFL would take action to right a clear wrong."
This comes after some of the emails leaked between former NFL coach Jon Gruden and former Washington Football Team President Bruce Allen shed light on sexual misconduct within the team. According to the New York Times, the two exchanged emails with photos of women wearing only bikini bottoms, including one photo of two Washington cheerleaders. The emails were gathered as part of the investigation into WFT's workplace culture.
"If any change is going to happen, it's going to come from the people who are paying the big dollars to the league," Melanie Coburn, a former WFT cheerleader and the team's former marketing director, said of why she chose to sign the petition. "The over 120 people as part of the investigation wasn't enough. We now know there were 650,000 emails and documents and only a selected few are being shared."
Reports allege that Gruden used racist, misogynistic and homophobic language directed at union chief DeMaurice Smith, Commissioner Roger Goodell and others in and around the NFL in written exchanges with former Washington executive Bruce Allen between 2011-2018, while he was an ESPN analyst between coaching jobs.
WFT, which is valued in the billions, was fined $10 million by the NFL and owner Dan Snyder stepped away from day-to-day operations for a period of months following the investigation, but there was no written report of Wilkinson’s inquiry.
"All we wanted all along was transparency and accountability," Coburn said. "That's all we asked for from the beginning."
The Washington Football Team could not be reached for comment on this matter