Daniel Snyder, the former owner of the Washington Commanders, was found to have sexually harassed a woman who was both a former cheerleader and marketing employee for the team, according to the second NFL investigation into his scandal-plagued tenure leading the franchise.
Mary Jo White, a former federal prosecutor and chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, spent 17 months looking into allegations of widespread sexual harassment against executives at the team, including Snyder, as well as claims of financial improprieties. Those allegations were made as part of a congressional investigation prompted by the league’s refusal to release the details of its first investigation into workplace claims at the team in 2021.
The NFL released those results Thursday afternoon, just after the 31 other clubs unanimously approved the sale of the Commanders to an investment group led by Josh Harris, and directed Snyder to pay $60 million to the league, by far the largest fine ever paid against a team owner.
The investigation found credible claims made by Tiffani Johnston, the former team employee, who said Snyder put his hand on her thigh without her consent at a work dinner in 2005 or 2006, and that he later tried to push her toward the back seat of his car after the incident. The report said her account was supported by evidence and contemporaneous witnesses.
“The conduct demonstrated in Ms. White’s findings has no place in the NFL,” commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “We strive for workplaces that are safe, respectful and professional. What Ms. Johnston experienced is inappropriate and contrary to the values of the NFL.”
The investigation also substantiated claims by former Washington ticket executive, Jason Friedman, who said the team intentionally shielded and withheld revenue that was meant to be shared among the league’s 32 teams. According to the report, approximately $11 million in shareable earnings was confirmed to have been improperly withheld.
The researchers wrote that they could neither conclude nor rule out that Snyder directed or participated in this revenue shield, but that “at a minimum, he was aware of some efforts to minimize revenue.
Asked to explain how the league determined the amount of the fine, Goodell replied, “It was a resolution of all the outstanding issues including the findings of Mary Jo White. It was something that the finance committee considered, recommended unanimously and the membership accepted unanimously.”
Snyder was also punished for not cooperating with the investigation of White.