WASHINGTON - A day after celebrations at FedEx Field announcing Washington, D.C.'s football franchise would move forward as the Washington Commanders, a House committee held a roundtable hearing to learn more about the investigation into the alleged toxic culture within the organization.
Six former Washington Commanders employees spoke Thursday in front of lawmakers, divulging details of decades of sexual abuse and harassment.
Former Commanders marketing and events coordinator Tiffani Johnston came forward with her story for the first time today. She says that Commanders' owner Daniel Snyder made unwanted sexual advances towards her.
"He left his hand on the middle of my thigh until I physically removed it," Johnston said in front of the House committee.
Johnston also told committee members that Snyder was heavily involved in major and minor details overseeing team activities, including having final approval over all marketing materials.
In August 2020, Snyder released a statement in response to some of the allegations of abuse saying he had "admittedly been too hands of as an owner."
All of the former Commanders' employees called on the NFL and the team to release the report on Beth Wilkinson's investigation revealing workplace and sexual harassment and a hostile work environment.
"When the investigation of the air pressure of Tom Brady's football concludes with two hundred plus pages of a written report, but two decades of sexual harassment concludes with nothing," said Emily Applegate, a former Washington Commanders employee.
Democratic Congressman Krishna Moorthi, who chairs a subcommittee on House oversight has requested that Congress receives a copy of that report.
When asked today what committee members are prepared to do if they do not get a copy; Moorthi said all options are on the table.
A spokesperson for the NFL released the following statement to FOX 5:
"We are grateful to the witnesses who again demonstrated courage by sharing their painful experiences.
"The NFL is reviewing and will consider Ms. Johnston’s allegations as we would any other new allegations regarding workplace misconduct at the Washington Commanders. We will determine any further action as appropriate.
"Today’s testimony underscores that all employees deserve a workplace that is free from harassment of any kind and where they feel safe reporting misconduct."
Off the field, the team has been plagued by controversy in recent years including being fined $10 million by the NFL following their investigation into workplace conduct.
Snyder squabbled with minority partners last year before buying out their shares and the front office took criticism recently for botching late safety Sean Taylor's jersey retirement.
Meanwhile, the Commanders will need to find a new home field for the long term as their lease at FedEx Field expires in five years. In her congratulatory statement about the name change Wednesday, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser made a pitch for the Commanders coming back to the District, FOX 5's Bob Barnard reported. Governor Glenn Youngkin has also expressed interest in having the team play in Virginia.
On Wednesday the team revealed the new Commanders name. The team's uniforms will retain the franchise's signature burgundy-and-gold colors. The organization dropped its old name in July 2020 after decades of complaints that it was racist toward Native Americans. The team was known as the Washington Football Team through 2021.
The once-storied franchise, which has won three Super Bowl championships, has been anything but competitive on the field recently missing the playoffs again last season for the fifth time in six years. The 2021-22 season was plagued with injuries and COVID-19 related absences that contributed to the team's 7 – 10 record. Over the past 15 years, the team has not won a single playoff game.