By BEN NUCKOLS, AP Sports Journalist
The NFL has hired former Securities and Exchange Commission chair Mary Jo White to investigate an allegation that Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder sexually harassed a team employee more than a decade ago. years.
White will detail his findings in a written report, which will be made public because the allegation against Snyder was made in a public forum, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said Friday.
Following the investigation, McCarthy said commissioner Roger Goodell would determine ‘any appropriate action’ against Snyder, who was fined $10 million last year after a previous investigation into widespread sexual harassment. and the mistreatment of women by high-ranking team employees. Snyder also temporarily handed over day-to-day operations of the franchise to his wife, Tanya.
The findings of that investigation were withheld from the public, and the House Committee on Oversight and Reform pressured the league to turn over the investigation documents. Goodell said the investigation was kept secret to protect the anonymity of team employees who spoke to attorney Beth Wilkinson.
During a committee roundtable earlier this month, former Washington employee Tiffani Johnston told Congress that Snyder touched her thigh during a team dinner and pushed her. towards his limo with his hand on his lower back. Johnston worked for the team in the 2000s as a cheerleader and marketing executive. Snyder denied Johnston’s allegations, calling them “outright lies”.
The team, which was renamed Commanders this month, later announced it had hired investigators to look into Johnston’s allegations, prompting the league to step in and say it would oversee the investigation. Goodell said at his Super Bowl press conference that a team could not investigate on its own. He also said NFL owners have the power to remove another owner from the league, though it’s unclear if Snyder’s misbehavior would cause the owners to take action.
Attorneys Lisa Banks and Debra Katz, who represent Johnston, said they would have preferred Wilkinson to lead the new investigation, saying the NFL’s hiring of an investigator unfamiliar with the previous investigation “has no senses”. They said they would discuss with Johnston if she wanted to participate.
In addition to her stint as chairwoman of the SEC under President Barack Obama, White is a former U.S. attorney from the Southern District of New York. She is now a partner in the law firm Debevoise & Plimpton, based in New York.
White previously led an NFL investigation into allegations against former Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson.
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