Daniel Snyder has been fined $60 million, the largest ever for an NFL team owner, after he was found guilty of sexually harassing a former cheerleader and former marketing manager for the Washington Commanders.
A league-sponsored investigation released Thursday found credible allegations by former team employee Tiffany Johnston, who said that in 2005 or 2006, Snyder put his hand on her thigh without her consent at a work dinner and then tried to push her into the back seat of the car after the event. According to the report, her account was supported by evidence and contemporary witnesses.
The findings were reported by former federal prosecutor and Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Mary Jo White, who spent 17 months investigating widespread sexual harassment and financial misconduct allegations against team executives, including Snyder.
The NFL released White’s report after 31 other clubs unanimously approved the sale of Commanders to an investment group led by Josh Harris for $6.05 billion, a record for an American professional sports team.
“The conduct supported by Mr. White’s investigation has no place in the NFL,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “We strive to be a safe, respectful, and professional workplace. What Mr. Johnston experienced was inappropriate and contrary to the NFL’s values.”
White’s report also corroborates the allegations of former Washington ticketing executive Jason Friedman, who said the teams intentionally hid and withheld revenue that would have been split among the league’s 32 teams. About $11 million of the distributable earnings were found to have been improperly withheld, according to the report.
Investigators cannot conclude or rule out that Mr. Snyder directed or participated in this revenue shielding, but wrote that “at least he was aware of certain efforts to minimize revenue sharing.”
Johnston and Friedman made the allegations in early 2022 as part of a congressional inquiry after the league refused to release details of an initial investigation into workplace harassment allegations made at the team in 2021.
Attorneys Lisa Banks and Debra Katz, who represent more than 40 former Commanders employees who have spoken out about workplace misconduct, including Johnston and Friedman, said in a statement, “After Dan Snyder was forced to sell a team he said he would never sell and pay a huge NFL fine, there is now an extensive public record of personal misconduct and misconduct under his leadership.”
Asked to clarify how the league determined the amount of Snyder’s fine, Goodell replied, “It was the resolution of all the outstanding issues, including the findings of the Mary Jo White investigation.” It was reviewed and unanimously recommended by the Finance Committee and unanimously accepted by the members. ”
Investigators interviewed 44 witnesses, including former employees the team released from non-disclosure agreements, and reviewed tens of thousands of documents obtained by the commander, but Mr. Snyder was also punished for not fully cooperating with the investigation.
He refused to speak to White for nearly a year, eventually meeting only for an hour to deny the sexual harassment allegations. He also said he had “little knowledge or memory of substantive information related to financial matters.”
White said the team has failed to provide documentation for months explaining why it moved millions of dollars from the NFL’s revenue-sharing account to other accounts.
The coaches deliberately violated the league’s revenue-sharing rules, including improperly classifying proceeds from NFL games as coming from other special events and reporting to the league for falsely lowering ticket prices, according to the report.