Oversight Committee Releases New Documents Raising Questions About NFL’s Handling of Wilkinson Investigation

Feb 4, 2022
Press Release
Committee Sends Letter to NFL Commissioner Demanding Complete Production of Wilkinson Investigation Documents

Washington, D.C. (February 4, 2022)— Today, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, sent a letter to National Football League (NFL) Commissioner Roger Goodell demanding the League release the findings of an internal investigation into the Washington Commanders’ toxic workplace culture, after documents obtained by the Committee raised newfound concerns over the independence of that investigation. 

 

The Committee obtained a “Common Interest Agreement” signed by the NFL and the Commanders days after the NFL took over the investigation by attorney Beth Wilkinson in September 2020.  In that agreement, the NFL and Commanders pledged to pursue a “joint legal strategy” and agreed not to share any privileged documents or information exchanged during the investigation without the other’s consent.  Under this agreement, the NFL may not have been able to release the results of the Wilkinson investigation to the public without the permission of team owner Daniel Snyder—who himself has been accused of multiple acts of sexual misconduct by his employees, most recently during yesterday’s Committee roundtable.

 

The Committee also uncovered an August 2020 engagement letter between the Commanders and Ms. Wilkinson’s law firm which clearly states that her firm would “complete a written report of its findings and make recommendations regarding any remedial measures.”  After assuming oversight of the investigation, however, Mr. Goodell personally instructed that Ms. Wilkinson was to present him with oral, not written, findings in a stark departure from the League’s previous practices.  When the investigation concluded in July 2021, the NFL only released a four-page press release.

 

“You have claimed that the NFL did not release Ms. Wilkinson’s findings in order to protect the ‘security, privacy and anonymity’ of the more than 150 witnesses who courageously spoke to Ms. Wilkinson and her team.   The Committee’s investigation and the NFL’s own legal documents raise serious doubts about this justification,” the Chairs wrote.  “At a Committee roundtable yesterday, victims of sexual harassment and misconduct at the WFT also dismissed this excuse as unfounded, and urged the NFL to release the investigative findings.”  

 

The letter to Commissioner Goodell also details recent steps taken by the NFL and the Commanders in an apparent attempt to use their previous joint legal interests to stop the Committee from obtaining key documents regarding the Wilkinson investigation

 

Chairwoman Maloney and Chairman Krishnamoorthi called upon the NFL to honor its long overdue commitment to fully cooperate with Congress and release all documents pertinent to the Wilkinson investigation, as well the Wilkinson findings, to the Committee by February 14, 2022.  If the NFL fails to produce this material, the Committee will consider alternate means of obtaining compliance. 

 

Click here to read the letter to Commissioner Goodell.

 

Click here to read the NFL / Washington Commanders Common Interest Agreement.

 

Click here to read the Engagement Letter between the Washington Commanders and Ms. Wilkinson’s law firm.

 

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117th Congress