In an exclusive report from the Washington Post, 15 women, all of whom were former employees of the Washington NFL team, have accused current and former team members of sexual harassment. Only one of the 15, Emily Applegate, chose to reveal her identity.
Applegate and the others revealed to the Post clear violations of workplace conduct, including degrading remarks about appearance, clothing, verbal abuse, and unwanted physical contact.
A week before the report was published, Alex Santos and Richard Mann II were both fired. Santos was the team’s director of pro personnel, and Mann was the team’s assistant director of pro personnel. Both were included in the report.
Also included in the report was former team president Bruce Allen’s alleged knowledge of the situation and failure to intervene. Allen was fired last December.
Team owner Dan Snyder wasn’t formerly accused of anything directly, but was blamed for having an “understaffed human resources department”.
“There’s no HR,” said one former veteran female employee who left in 2019. “And there was never a reporting process, nor was one explained to new employees about how you should report something.”
In addition to the 15, The Athletic’s own Rhiannon Walker recounted Santos sexually harassing her on multiple occasions.
“It felt like pretty much the worst thing in the world,” Walker said. “He didn’t care. He thought it was funny.”
Two of the team’s minority owners, Dwight Schar and Fred Smith, were reportedly attempting to sell their stake in the team over a week ago. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Thursday that minority shareholders are taking the next step to make that happen.
Minority shareholders of Washington’s NFL team have hired the investment bank, Moag & Company, to vet buyers and to sell their stake in the team, per a league source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 16, 2020
This isn’t the only recent and known major case of workplace misconduct in an NFL franchise. Back in 2017, former Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson was accused on counts of racism and sexual harassment. Richardson sold the team in June of 2018 and was found guilty a month later.
In all likelihood, Snyder will also have to sell his team sooner or later if the accusations are found to be true. With such damning evidence against the organization, they will be in the market for a new owner.