Thursday afternoon, Washington D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine held a press conference to announce the outgoing AG was officially filing a consumer protection lawsuit against Commanders owner Daniel Snyder. Racine gave in-depth details of the suit that also named the NFL and its Commissioner, Roger Goodell.
The suit claims that the NFL, Snyder, and Goodell colluded to deceive fans and residents of the District about the investigation into the franchise’s toxic workplace culture and allegations of sexual assault. Racine believes the group did so in an attempt to deceive fans and keep profits at league standards.
When asked why his office was suing, Racing replied, “because you can’t lie to D.C. residents in order to protect your image and profits and get away with it. No matter who you are. Even if you’re the National Football League.”
Dan Snyder, NFL, Goodell Sued
Racine told reporters that his office started the investigation last fall, and his successor, Brian Schwalb, plans to move forward.
“We will issue subpoenas. We will seek testimony under oath. Not likely to occur on a yacht but in a conference room in the District of Columbia.”
Racine pointed out that the team promised an independent investigation but hired their own investigator to harass potential witnesses. “Snyder waged an interference campaign to cover up years of harassment, and the NFL let him do it. Betraying fans’ trust by enabling Snyder to have a say at the end of the investigation into him and the Commanders.”
Arguing jurisdiction, Racine made light of D.C.’s consumer-protection law that covers any material misstatement that a merchant or business makes that could affect people in the District. Racine said the District is filing the civil complaint because of his office’s inability to file criminal charges based on jurisdiction.
After news of Racine’s impending press conference came on Wednesday, Snyder released a statement via his attorney. Unfortunately, that statement was not taken well by anyone as it threw rookie running back Brian Robinson Jr into a discussion on the business side of things that had nothing to do with him.
“For years, the team and its owner have caused very real and very serious harm and then lied about it to dodge accountability. They did all of this to hide the truth, protect their images and let the profits continue to roll.”
Up to this point, players on the team have done all they can to distance themselves from making any statements about the investigations into Snyder. That ended Thursday as second-year defensive back Benjamin St-Juste gave his opinion. “Since I arrived here, it’s been a dark cloud over our organization. Every time there is something good happening on the pitch, something bad is happening off it. It would give us great energy to have a fresh start and regain the confidence of the fans.”
Racine quickly shot back when asked about the District’s parallel investigation of the football team’s finances and alleged withholding of money from season-ticket holders, “There’ll be more news on that next week.”
While reports have stated that the locker room is filled with unhappy players about Robinson being included in the lawyer’s statement, Robinson doesn’t seem bothered and is staying calm.
The NFL later released a statement, “The independent investigation into workplace misconduct at the Washington Commanders was thoroughly and comprehensively conducted by Beth Wilkinson and her law firm. Following the completion of the investigation, the NFL made public a summary of Ms. Wilkinson’s findings and imposed a record-setting fine against the club and its ownership.”
We reject the legally unsound and factually baseless allegations made today by the D.C Attorney General against the NFL and Commissioner Goodell and will vigorously defend against those claims.”
The Commanders made their response via attorneys John Brownlee and Stuart Lee. “Over two years ago, Dan and Tanya Snyder acknowledged that an unacceptable workplace culture had existed within their organization for several years and have apologized many times for allowing that to happen.”
“We agree with AG Racine on one thing; the public needs to know the truth. Although the lawsuit repeats a lot of innuedo, half-truths, and lies. We welcome this opportunity to defend the organization — for the first time — in a court of law, and establish, once and for all, what is fact and what is fiction.”
Snyder and the Commanders announced last week that the team had hired Bank of America Securities to explore the sale of the franchise. Since that time, several famous individuals have expressed interest in buying the team, including Jay-Z, and Matthew McConaughey, among others.