Washington Attorney General has filed a Lawsuit against The Commanders and Dan Snyder

            The District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine has filed a consumer protection lawsuit against the Washington Commanders, owner Dan Snyder, the NFL, and Commissioner Roger Goodell [1]. This announcement comes just days after Snyder announced that he was going to explore options revolving around his ownership of the team, whether it be finding a minority owner or selling the franchise entirely. Racine said at a news conference Thursday that the lawsuit is focused on Snyder’s alleged involvement in the Commanders’ toxic workplace and attempts by the NFL, the Commanders, and Snyder himself to cover it up. Racine alleged that these actions have harmed all residents of Washington [2].

            “The evidence shows Mr. Snyder was not only aware of the toxic culture within his organization. He encouraged it and he participated in it,” Racine said. “Mr. Snyder exerted a high level of personal control over everything the Commanders did, and his misconduct gave others permission to treat women in the same demeaning manner [3].’ Racine alleges that the parties colluded to deceive the public on an investigation into alleged workplace culture. Racine also alleges that the NFL has, “turned a blind eye to Snyder’s extensive efforts to silence or intimidate witnesses[4].”

            “After public reporting revealed that sexual misconduct, harassment, and misogyny ran rampant for decades at the team, the defendants promised DC residents that the league was going to fix this toxic culture, including by fully cooperating with an independent investigation,” Racine wrote [5]. There is a jurisdiction issue in this case due to the fact that the alleged actions took place largely outside Washington D.C. and the Commanders are headquartered in Virginia and play home games in Maryland. Racine, though, is using consumer protection laws that apply to doing business with residents, along with the links to the city, which includes using “Washington” in the team name, to establish jurisdiction [6].

            Even if Snyder were to sell the team soon, he will still be held accountable in this lawsuit. D.C. also has a new AG-elect, Brian Schwab, who is to take over in January. The suit will continue once Schwab takes office.

            Both the NFL and the Commanders have come out against the claims made by Racine. Both parties are ready for the public to finally know the truth about what has gone on in Washington. “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 [7].”

            This lawsuit lays out several allegations:

  • The complaint alleged Snyder “cultivated an environment within the team that glorifies sexual harassment and punishes victims for speaking out.”
  • Minus a functional human resources department, “cheerleaders and female employees were exploited and harassed. Some male employees were bullied into participating in this hyper-masculine culture.”
  • Snyder “regularly told people to keep the cheerleaders ‘skinny with big [breasts].’”
  • Commanders executives snuck “photographs of cheerleaders in compromising situations during the shoot and [sent] the pictures to Snyder” — footage the lawsuit alleged “was often taken without the cheerleaders’ awareness or consent.”
  • The defendants worked to hinder the first independent investigation into the team led by former assistant U.S. Attorney Beth Wilkinson [8].

NFL Vice President of communications Brian McCarthy has rejected the allegations as baseless, stating that Beth Wilkinson and her law firm conducted a thorough, independent investigation, and the NFL made her findings public once completed [9].

In an attempt to push back against this lawsuit, the Commanders issued a statement Wednesday that used the August shooting of running back Brian Robinson Jr. to suggest that the problem is really that D.C. is incompetent, not the Commanders. Racine’s office announced Wednesday that they were going to make a major announcement regarding the Commanders, and the Commanders responded by criticizing its hometown city for “out of control violent crime [10]. “Less than three months ago, a 23-year-old player on our team was shot multiple times, in broad daylight,” a Commanders spokesperson said in the statement. “Despite the out-of-control violent crime in DC, today the Washington Commanders learned for the first time on Twitter that the DC Attorney General will be holding a press conference to ‘make a major announcement related to the organization tomorrow.” “It is unfortunate that, in his final days in office, Mr. Racine appears more interested in making splashy headlines, based on offbeat legal theories, rather than doing the hard work of making the streets safe for our citizens, including bringing to justice the people who shot one of our players [11].”

This is just a poor look for an organization that has already been falling apart for years. It is becoming impossible to believe the Commanders in anything that they say. On top of that, to try and leverage the crime in their city and the shooting of one of the players on their team to cast themselves as victims in a situation where they are clearly in the wrong is an extremely classless and mind-boggling move. But hey, at this point, you can never rule out anything with this sorry franchise. Snyder needs to sell the team, or[HD5]  he will be forced out one way or another in the near future.

  1. https://www.foxnews.com/sports/commanders-nfl-facing-lawsuit-alleging-collusion-toxic-workplace-probe
  2. https://frontofficesports.com/washington-ag-to-file-lawsuit-against-commanders-dan-snyder-nfl/
  3. Id.
  4. https://www.cnbc.com/2022/11/10/nfl-roger-goodell-washington-commanders-sued-by-dc-attorney-general.html
  5. https://www.foxnews.com/sports/commanders-nfl-facing-lawsuit-alleging-collusion-toxic-workplace-probe
  6. https://www.si.com/nfl/commanders/news/washington-commanders-owner-dan-snyder-roger-goodell-sued-dc-attorney-general-karl-racine
  7. https://frontofficesports.com/washington-ag-to-file-lawsuit-against-commanders-dan-snyder-nfl/
  8. Id.
  9. https://www.cnn.com/2022/11/10/us/washington-commanders-dc-ag/index.html
  10. Id.
  11. Id.
  12. Photo: https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/2022/10/20/if-owner-daniel-snyder-were-get-ousted-how-would-go/10534629002/

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