The Washington football team is an embarrassment for the NFL. It’s an embarrassment for the city of Washington DC. None of this is news, especially for anyone from the nation’s capital or has a basic familiarity of American football. Under the ownership of Daniel Snyder, the organization has been a big fat joke and source of constant disappointment for years. Now, it’s something far, far worse and sinister.
In the past, the Washington football team, which recently changed the team’s offensive name after intense pressure from the public and sponsors, has faced a series of allegations about the team’s treatment of the grossly underpaid cheerleaders. Now, The Washington Post has another story with new damning allegations. This time, Daniel Snyder is facing allegations of abusing his power and a gross request.
The First Daniel Snyder Allegation
According to former cheerleader Tiffany Bacon Scourby, Snyder once made an ugly request at a charity event back in 2004. Allegedly, Snyder suggested Bacon join “his close friend” in his hotel room so “they could get to know each other.” In response, the cheerleader laughed. Snyder did not. Once Scourby realized the team’s owner wasn’t joking, she said she was working and returned to do her job. The Washington Post confirmed the story with three individuals, including the team’s former cheerleader director.
“I want to unequivocally state that this never happened,” Snyder told The Post. Snyder tries to deflect by saying Scourby never filed a complaint to management. The owner doesn’t point out the fear of filing a complaint against a filthy rich team owner.
The Second Daniel Snyder Allegation
There’s a tape Snyder allegedly requested featuring behind-the-scenes videos of a cheerleader shoot, with women’s privates exposed. A former executive for the team claims employees were instructed to create the creepy behind-the-scenes video for the owner. It was behind-the-scenes footage from a 2008 swimsuit calendar shoot.
According to former employee Brad Baker, lead broadcaster Larry Michael made the request for Snyder. Michael, who is now no longer with the team, denied the allegation. Here’s what Baker had to say:
“Larry said something to the effect of, ‘We have a special project that we need to get done for the owner today: He needs us to get the good bits of the behind-the-scenes video from the cheerleader shoot onto a DVD for him.’”
Once again, Snyder denied the allegations, allegedly knowing nothing about “10-year-old videos.” Snyder said he did “not request their creation” and “never saw them.” The team owner requested the footage from The Washington Post “to be forensically evaluated and authenticated,” but was denied access.
The Toxic Work Culture
Over the last month, The Washington Post has been unmasking the toxic work culture at the Washington organization. The paper’s most recent story is their second series of bombshell reports about the team. There are more allegations. Many women told The Post there’s even an online support group for former employees. Another former employee, Brittany Pareti, said:
“It was like fresh meat to a pack of wolves every time a new pack of interns would come in. It was like a frat house, with men lined up in the lobby watching women walk in and out. You constantly felt there were eyes on you.”
An Intern’s Experience
A total of 25 women talked to The Post about their experiences working for the team. One former intern confirmed Pareti’s description of the work culture. Shannon Slate, who was a 22-year-old intern back in 2016, was allegedly harassed by the former director of pro scouting, Alex Santos. Santos is no longer with the team. Slate reported Santos behavior to the chief financial officer, Stephen Choi, and here’s how that exchange went:
“He basically said: ‘This is a sports organization; men dominate it.’ You have two options: Keep your distance from Alex, or you can end the internship early.’ I ended the internship early.”
According to the team’s public relations officer (2000-2004), Michelle Tessier, it was like working in hell:
“Things that go on there would never go on in a normal office. Being friendly was taken as an invitation to make comments. I was cornered in offices. … There would be no one else around, and the flirting and the innuendo starts, and they take it too far.”
There’s an investigation into the team ongoing. The problem is, Snyder himself hired the attorney, Beth Wilkinson, to conduct the investigation. Many men and women told The Post they hope that the NFL, as they should, handle the probe, not Snyder and his team. From the sound of it, sadly, the NFL — which has had the worst publicity of any sports league over the last few years — is staying out of the investigation.
Snyder Deflects Responsibility
Without question, the NFL should take serious action against the Washington football team and Snyder. Fit to lead the man is not. So far, the league has been silent about the allegations. They won’t comment until the “investigation” is over. As for Snyder, he released an unacceptable statement. Like many in power, he takes little responsibility for over the 15 years worth of allegations against the organization. According to Snyder, the problem was he was “too hands-off as an owner”:
“Even before today’s article, I have begun taking any and all steps necessary to ensure that the Washington Football Team is an organization that is diverse, inclusive and respectful of all. I have admittedly been too hands-off as an owner and allowed others to have day-to-day control to the detriment of our organization. Going forward I am going to be more involved, and we have already made major changes in personnel bringing in new leadership to drive cultural transformation on and off the field. In addition, we are assembling a world-class team of external advisors to both investigate these allegations and create an actionable and measurable plan to change our culture.”