NFL Fines Washington $10M for Harassment, or Something

(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

The Washington Formerly Known as the Redskins but Now They’re Just a Football Team has been fined a tidy ten million dollars by the NFL after an investigation into allegations of misdeeds hitting every word in the Woke Workplace Bingo game. The fine is the total amount of punishment — no draft picks, etc will be forsaken.

The fine is something of a locking the barn door after the horse has gotten out scenario, as the team has already been making major personnel changes in an effort to clean up the joint. Nevertheless, team owner Daniel Snyder will be noticeably lighter in the wallet after the announcement.

What is somewhat curious about the league’s announcement regarding the matter is that there is no listing of specific findings of wrongdoings. The league announcement does go out of its way to praise at length what Snyder and his wife Tanya have done to make the club more cozy for everyone:

Beginning near the end of the 2019 season, Dan and Tanya Snyder made a series of significant organizational changes based on his recognition that the club’s workplace culture, initially on the football side but then more broadly, was deficient and needed to be significantly improved to enable football and other club employees to perform at their full potential. These steps included the hiring of Head Coach Ron Rivera and the decision to replace a number of top club executives. Additional and more widespread changes have been made over the past year, and Wilkinson’s review identified several strong and positive steps taken by ownership over the past year to improve workplace conduct and culture in Washington. None of the managers or executives identified as having engaged in misconduct is still employed at the club. In place of the prior leadership group, the Snyders have hired a new, highly qualified and diverse team of executives on both the football and business sides of the club. These include club president Jason Wright, Chief HR Officer Andre Chambers, General Counsel Damon Jones, Chief Financial Officer Greg Rush, Senior Vice President of External Engagement and Communication Julie Jensen, and Senior Vice President of Media and Content Julie Donaldson, as well as Coach Rivera and General Manager Martin Mayhew. Overall, the new executive team shows an impressive commitment to diversity, with a substantial number of women and people of color in leadership roles. This leadership team appears to be both respected within the community and genuinely committed to changing the workplace environment and is doing so with the full support of the Snyders. In addition, the cheerleader program is now under the leadership of Petra Pope, who has replaced the all-female squad with what Pope has described as “an inclusive, co-ed, diverse, athletic” dance team that will no longer pose for calendars.

Apart from hiring a new leadership team, the club has also implemented strong and state-of-the-art policies and protocols regarding workplace conduct, reporting, and non-retaliation and has also moved to institute comprehensive training. The club has retained outside resources to assist in this effort and has given its assurance that these consultants will remain engaged on an ongoing basis and will be available to discuss their work with the league office.

Okay, but … what transgressions took place?

Here, things get interesting. From ESPN:

Lisa Banks and Debra Katz, who represent 40 former employees, said in a statement that the NFL chose to “protect owner Dan Snyder” and said the fine amounted to “pocket change.” They had wanted the report to be made public, but attorney Beth Wilkinson, who conducted the investigation, orally submitted her findings and recommendations to the league.

“This is truly outrageous, and is a slap in the face to the hundreds of women and former employees who came forward in good faith and at great personal risk to report a culture of abuse at all levels of the Team, including by Snyder himself,” their statement said. “The NFL has effectively told survivors in this country and around the world that it does not care about them or credit their experiences. Female fans, and fans of goodwill everywhere, take note.”

Lawyerspeak aside, it does seem strange the report was delivered orally. Doing so immediately brings suspicion someone has something to hide regardless of whether there is anything being glossed over. There is another conspiracy theory-level assumption that can be made, namely that the report was a nothingburger but the NFL fined Snyder anyway because it would be very bad PR to do nothing after the allegations that had been put out there. Toss into the hopper the fact that Snyder himself hired Wilkinson, and you’ve got enough tin foil possibilities to supply the next Mama Weer All Crazee Now Society convention.

As long as we’re throwing the cuckoo against the wall to see what sticks, another notion: the fine is the league’s way of getting back at Snyder for obstinately refusing to change the team name from Redskins for so long. Do you really think the NFL could so enthusiastically embrace BLM, Pride, and every other wokeism there is if Washington was still the Redskins? Come now.

There may well have been a misogynistic, harassment-laced atmosphere in the Washington business operations. If so, certainly changes should have been made and punishment doled out. That said, when looking at the matter in any fashion other than through woke-colored glasses it is difficult to dismiss out of hand the notion that this is the NFL being once again determined to prove its progressive cred no matter how many fans it drives away in the process.