The NFL is again facing a P.R. crisis as one of their premier franchises has been exposed for having a toxic work environment. On Thursday the Washington Post published a story where 15 former Washington football team employees alleged they were victims of sexual harassment. Owner Daniel Snyder, in a statement, distanced himself from the accusations and said that he was "committed to creating a new culture and standard for our team that began with the hiring of Coach Rivera."
One might wonder why he wanted to create a new culture months before this report came out if he was clueless, but that's for an NFL investigation to determine. Or at least it should be. The NFL is apparently going to defer to a lawyer hired by Snyder for the investigation. As many have pointed out, the league has not allowed other franchises to hire the people investigating themselves. The NFL should probably go with an independent investigator in Washington, but why stop there?
The league should look into the corporate culture of every single team. What's the worst that could happen?
We know for a fact that this was not just a problem in Washington. Former Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson was forced to sell the team after it was reported that at least four former employees had received significant monetary settlements following inappropriate workplace behavior. That makes two. Could it be possible there is a third? A fourth? How many years did it take to find out what was happening in those two front offices? Why should the NFL sit around and wait while someone else might be victimized?
Or maybe Roger Goodell can stand in front of reporters (via video conference call from his basement) on the eve of the 2020 season and say that they found 32 franchises who are working hard to maintain a safe space for all league employees. He could prove the NFL is taking all allegations seriously. If there's nothing going on, there's no harm in asking.
If other clubs have nothing to hide, that is even better, but if the NFL gets involved and there is something else going on with another team, they can get ahead of it. If the NFL makes a serious commitment to eliminating toxic work environments from its franchises, people should feel empowered to come forward.
Like so many organizations right now, in this current climate, the NFL has a real chance to look at how they are doing things and make necessary changes that will be positive in the long run. So far, by letting Snyder slide, it doesn't look like the league will do that. Maybe next time.