TODAY: Any punishment the Redskins face is likely to be limited to fines, Maske writes in a full-length story. Because Snyder himself was not directly involved in any harassment, this situation is different from the one that culminated in former Panthers owner Jerry Richardson selling his team several years ago. It’s also why the league is likely to defer to Wilkinson’s findings rather than conduct a separate investigation.
So unless there are new developments with respect to Snyder’s role, it seems he will keep his team and his draft picks. Snyder and his wife, Tanya, emailed an apology letter to every member of the organization on Friday night (via Schefter on Twitter).
JULY 17: The much-ballyhooed story concerning the Redskins’ organizational culture broke last night via a Washington Post article that details sexual abuse allegations made by 15 former female employees of the team. As a preemptive strike, the club hired DC-based attorney Beth Wilkinson to conduct a thorough review of its protocols, and depending on what Wilkinson finds, the Redskins could be subject to league discipline.
The NFL released the following statement in response to the story (via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com on Twitter):
“These matters as reported are serious, disturbing and contrary to the NFL’s values. Everyone in the NFL has the right to work in an environment free from any and all forms of harassment. Washington has engaged outside counsel to conduct a thorough investigation into these allegations. The club has pledged that it will give its full cooperation to the investigator and we expect the club and all employees to do so. We will meet with the attorneys upon the conclusion of their investigation and take any action based on the findings.”
So it certainly sounds as if a fine and/or draft pick forfeiture could be in the cards. And while owner Dan Snyder was not accused of harassment himself, this report will doubtlessly intensify the already loud cries for him to sell the team.
It will also be interesting to see if the NFL undertakes its own investigation once Wilkinson’s is complete. After all, the Redskins are Wilkinson’s client, so her duty is to them. As Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv suggests, it would be a bad look for the league to allow the organizational review to be handled exclusively by a person hand-picked by the organization (Twitter link). Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has also called on commissioner Roger Goodell to get to the bottom of the matter, as Mark Maske of the Washington Post tweets.
Snyder, meanwhile, issued the following statement (via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com on Twitter):
“The behavior described in yesterday’s Washington Post article has no place in our franchise or society. This story has strengthened my commitment to setting a new culture and standard for our team, a process that began with the hiring of Coach [Ron] Rivera earlier this year. Beth Wilkinson and her firm are empowered to do a full, unbiased investigation and make any and all requisite recommendations. Upon completion of her work, we will institute new policies and procedures and strengthen our human resources infrastructure to not only avoid these issues in the future but most importantly create a team culture that is respectful and inclusive of all.”
In other Redskins news, the team announced that it has promoted Jeff Scott to the role of assistant director of pro scouting/advance coordinator. Scott will oversee advance scouting of opponents and evaluate potential talent in NFL free agency and all other pro leagues. He will still assist with the evaluation of trade scenarios during the draft (Twitter links via NFL Insider Adam Caplan).
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.