The American Civil Liberties Union, the National Women’s Law Center and the Time’s Up Foundation sent a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Friday demanding the public release of the results of the league’s investigation of allegations of pervasive sexual harassment and mistreatment of female employees at the Washington Football Team during owner Daniel Snyder’s tenure.
The investigation, overseen by D.C. attorney Beth Wilkinson, started in July and is nearing completion, Goodell said at a news conference Thursday in Tampa. The league has not said whether it will release Wilkinson’s findings. A league spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“There cannot be accountability without transparency. Many dozens of women courageously came forward, at great risk to their careers, livelihood and well-being, to expose the practices that you correctly labeled as abhorrent,” read the letter, also signed by Futures Without Violence. “... If the NFL fails to release the report, these women will feel — correctly, we believe — that the risk they took was in vain and that Mr. Snyder succeeded in silencing them.”
The Washington Football Team did not immediately respond to requests for comment sent to a spokeswoman and the team's public relations firm.
Wilkinson also did not respond to a request for comment. Her investigation was opened in response to a July 16 report in The Washington Post of allegations of sexual harassment made by 15 female former employees and two reporters who covered the team.
Wilkinson initially reported to Snyder and the team, but the NFL took on oversight of her investigation after an Aug. 26 report in The Post detailed allegations raised by another 25 female former employees, including a cheerleader who accused Snyder of humiliating her.
Snyder denied the woman’s allegation and denied any knowledge of two lewd videos, produced by the team’s production staff in 2008 and 2010, that featured moments of partially nude cheerleaders captured on camera during swimsuit calendar shoots.
Also Friday, a federal judge in Virginia denied The Post’s motion to intervene in a lawsuit over a confidential settlement agreement that appears to involve an allegation of sexual harassment raised against Snyder by a female former employee. The lawsuit was filed in November by former team general counsel David Donovan against Wilkinson, in an apparent effort to prevent Wilkinson from sharing information about the settlement. Donovan dismissed the case in November, and his lawyers, lawyers for Wilkinson and lawyers for the team have been in conversations for weeks over what documents and details relating to the case will be made public, according to court filings.
Lawyers for Donovan and the team did not immediately reply to requests for comment.
The Post had sought input on proposed redactions to documents in the case that will eventually be made public. Key details relating to the confidential settlement in the case align with a settlement reviewed by The Post in December, in which the team paid a female former employee $1.6 million after she raised an allegation of sexual harassment against Snyder, according to a person familiar with the matter. In a court filing in a separate case, Snyder called the woman’s allegations “meritless.”
On Friday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Ivan P. Davis ruled The Post could not intervene in the case.
“There are cases where some records should be sealed or redacted,” Davis said.
Liz Clarke, Mark Maske and Beth Reinhard contributed to this report.