Washington NFL owner Dan Snyder said Friday he’s committed to improving the culture inside the team after allegations of sexual harassment, while the league will wait for a law firm’s review before taking action. The Washington Post reported Thursday thatduring their time with the team.
“The behavior described in yesterday’s Washington Post article has no place in our franchise or society,” Snyder said in a statement. “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.”
He hired District of Columbia law firm Wilkinson and Walsh to conduct an independent review of team policies, culture and allegations of workplace misconduct. The league said in a statement it will meet with lawyers after the investigation is complete and will act based on the findings.
Snyder also pledged to make organizational changes.
“Beth Wilkinson and her firm are empowered to do a full, unbiased investigation and make any and all requisite recommendations,” Snyder said. “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.”
He said the commitment to establishing a new culture and higher standard began with the hiring of Ron Rivera as coach this year. Rivera told The Athletic he was brought in to change the culture and “create an environment of inclusion.”
The NFL said it expects the team and all employees to be cooperative but is not yet making its own review of the team.
“These matters as reported are serious, disturbing and contrary to the NFL’s values,” the league said. “Everyone in the NFL has the right to work in an environment free from any and all forms of harassment.”
Director of player personnel Alex Santos, assistant Richard Mann II and longtime broadcaster and senior vice president Larry Michael are no longer with the team. Michael announced Wednesday he was retiring after 16 years.
Santos, Mann, Michael and former business executives Dennis Greene and Mitch Gershman were mentioned in the Post story.
Washington head coach Rivera released a statement saying everyone needed to understand the team’s policy against harassment moving forward, noting he had a personal stake in the matter.
“Biggest thing is that we have to move forward from this and make sure everybody understands we have policies that we will follow and that we have an open door policy with no retribution,” Rivera said.
“Plus, my daughter works for the team and I sure as hell am not going to allow any of this,” he said.
The Post’s report comes at a time of seismic upheaval for Snyder’s team, which this week announced it was, a moniker long criticized as racist and offensive to Native Americans.