ASHBURN, Va. - Time is running out for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to turn over details to Congress of its investigation into the Washington Football Team (WFT). The requested deadline is in two days on Thursday, Nov. 4.
Two House Democrats, the Chairs of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, sent a letter to the NFL requesting documents and information about the WFT’s toxic work environment and how the league handled this.
FOX 5’s Sierra Fox spoke with Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi who says the way the NFL handled the investigation is highly unusual because the lead investigator, Attorney Beth Wilkinson, was instructed not to document anything and only give a verbal report.
"They never, not, document these things – I’ve never heard of that and I’ve seen a lot of investigations," said Congressman Krishnamoorthi.
He adds the use of nondisclosure agreements is troubling because it seems it was used to silence the victims.
"The alleged behavior is deeply disturbing and the fact that the team paid $10 million as a fine to the NFL suggests there’s something underlying all of this that needs to be brought to the surface," said Congressman Krishnamoorthi.
Members of Congress are also demanding answers about the role of NFL’s General Counsel, Jeff Pash, in the investigation. They say his close relationship with WFT President Bruce Allen was revealed in some of the leaked e-mails. Allen was fired at the end of the 2019 season.
FOX 5’s Sierra Fox asked whether the WFT is required to release any information and how they are able to withhold that information. Here’s his response:
"You raise a very good question, which is should there be any rules, regulations, or laws that require the public disclosure of this information? Right now, there isn’t," said Congressman Krishnamoorthi. "However, there are laws that prohibit sexual assault of any kind and so we need to get to the bottom of what happened."
FOX 5 did reach out to the NFL to see if they will meet Congress’ deadline in two days and we have not heard back yet.
"In this era where, unfortunately, we are learning of sexual harassment happening in many places of employment, there’s possibly no more visible place than the NFL and how the NFL handles this very troubling issue of sexual assault and harassment powerfully impacts not only how men and boys think about this issue, but also how women are treated and whether the NFL is equally dedicated as others to the concept of equality to the genders," said Congressman Krishnamoorthi.
Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi hopes the league complies.
"There are tools at Congress’ disposal to compel the production of documents and live testimony, all that being said, I hope the NFL cooperates and shares the information that we requested with us so we can really get to finding out the answers to the questions that we have," said Congressman Krishnamoorthi.