The District of Columbia Attorney General’s Office announced a civil lawsuit against the Washington Commanders, owner Dan Snyder, the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell on Thursday, alleging that the parties colluded to “deceive” the public on an investigation into alleged toxic workplace culture.
Attorney General Karl A. Racine released a lengthy statement on Twitter, accusing the NFL of “turn(ing) a blind eye to Snyder’s extensive efforts to silence or intimidate witnesses.”
“After public reporting revealed that sexual misconduct, harassment, and misogyny ran rampant for decades at the team, the defendants promised DC residents that the league was going to fix this toxic culture, including by fully cooperating with an independent investigation,” Racine wrote.
“That was all a lie. Instead, the NFL turned a blind eye to Snyder’s extensive efforts to silence or intimidate witnesses, and the NFL and Commanders entered into a secret agreement that gave Snyder power to veto the release of any results.”
Racine added that because the alleged actions “largely took place outside the district,” they do not have jurisdiction to file a suit specifically about the workplace misconduct.
“With today’s lawsuit, we’re standing up for DC residents who were lied to and deceived. And we’re standing with the brave victims and employees of the team who told us the truth during our investigation and came forward about what they suffered and witnessed while working.”
The Commanders did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.
Lawyers Lisa Banks and Debra Katz, who represent more than 40 former team employees, released a statement saying that civil lawsuit is evidence that “both the Commanders and the NFL have engaged in deception and lies designed to conceal the team’s decades of sexual harassment and abuse.”
“Today’s civil complaint filed by the DC Attorney General against the Washington Commanders, Dan Snyder, the NFL, and Commissioner Roger Goodell is further evidence of what we’ve long known: that both the Commanders and the NFL have engaged in deception and lies designed to conceal the team’s decades of sexual harassment and abuse, which has impacted not only the victims of that abuse, but also consumers in the District of Columbia. The filing of this complaint also marks an important step in validating the experiences of the brave women and men who came forward and in achieving, for the first time, a level of transparency into the scope of the misconduct.”
“For far too long, the NFL has actively concealed wrongdoing by the Washington Commanders and has shielded Mr. Snyder from accountability at every turn. The NFL must understand that sexual harassment and abuse cannot be tolerated or concealed. If Commissioner Goodell and the NFL are genuinely committed to protecting their employees, they would also publicly release the findings of the Wilkinson investigation and use those findings as a blueprint for creating safer workplaces throughout the NFL.”
The U.S. House Oversight Committee launched an investigation into the team earlier this year over Washington’s workplace culture after an independent review, overseen by the league, prompted a $10 million fine, but did not include a written report to be released to the public.
The U.S. attorney’s office in the Eastern District of Virginia has also opened a criminal investigation into the organization over allegations that “it engaged in financial improprieties.” It came just one day after the team announced Snyder hired Bank of America Securities to look into a potential sale of the team.