Julio Cortez/AP Photo
Snyder will not be appearing before the congressional committee, citing a Commanders-related conflict.
Julio Cortez/AP Photo
Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder will not appear before the congressional committee conducting an extensive probe into the franchise, avoiding a public hearing where Democrats would likely grill him over a number of team-related controversies.
According to a letter from Synder's legal team, which was first reported by Axios and obtained by DCist/WAMU, Snyder will not be attending the June 22 hearing due to a "longstanding Commanders-related business conflict" that will take him out of the country. The letter, sent to House Oversight and Reform Committee chairs, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, also accuses the committee of failing to provide additional information about what will be asked at the hearing — or considering another date.
"Despite months of Mr. Snyder's cooperation, the Oversight Committee refused to afford the same respect and courtesy by declining multiple reasonable requests surrounding a potential appearance by Mr. Snyder," reads a statement from a representative for Snyder. "Mr. Snyder remains willing to continue cooperating with the Committee but is unable to attend the June 22 hearing given the Committee's disregard for due process."
A spokesperson for the committee told DCist/WAMU that "the committee intends to move forward with this hearing" and will respond to Snyder's letter after further review.
Earlier this month, the committee, which has been leading a months-long investigation into the team's workplace culture, called both Snyder and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to testify before the lawmakers this month. According to a statement from the committee members, both men were summoned "to... answer our questions about the pervasive workplace misconduct at the Washington Commanders, and how the NFL addressed these issues."
Snyder's lawyer writes in the letter that he and the team remain "fully willing" to cooperate with the Committee "in all other respects, including by continuing to discuss the reasonable request regarding his potential appearance." Snyder's legal team had "questions and concerns" about the potential hearing that were not addressed by the congressional committee, including reservations about how the concurrent investigations into the team by the attorneys general of D.C. and Virginia would come up in questioning, and how the multiple investigations might overlap. The letter also accuses lawmakers of failing to specify what Snyder would be asked about beyond "historical workplace culture issues."
"The Committee would not provide any assurance that the questions directed to Mr. Snyder would be limited to those issues, given the wide latitude granted to members to ask questions beyond the topics identified by the Committee," reads the letter.
According to an NBC Sports report on Wednesday, it "appears likely" that Goodell will testify before the committee on June 22.
The committee's investigation into the team began last fall, after allegations of sexual harassment and workplace misconduct prompted an NFL investigation in 2020. Numerous women came forward, alleging in a lengthy Washington Post investigation that they'd been sexually harassed and verbally abused by Commanders employees under Snyder's ownership. The NFL investigation ended in a $10 million fine — a punishment that did not satisfy Congress, which then opened its own probe into the team.
Since starting its investigation, the committee has requested documents, conducted interviews, and held one roundtable with formers Commanders employees, uncovering additional allegations against both the franchise and Snyder individually.
One former employee alleged during his testimony that the team purposefully withheld a portion of its ticket revenue meant to be shared equally among all 32 teams in the league, violating the NFL's revenue sharing policy. (The Commanders have denied this.) During the roundtable, former cheerleader and marketing manager Tiffani Johnston brought forward new allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct directly involving Snyder. The allegations prompted both Snyder and the NFL to launch their own separate investigations into Johnston's claims.