WASHINGTON - A day after former employees of the Washington Commanders told a Congressional roundtable about the harassment they experienced, a new document has been released signed by the NFL and the team to keep details of that workplace investigation a secret.
The "Common Interest Agreement" shows the league and the Washington Commanders had agreed that neither side would reveal information about the investigation without the other's approval.
Democrats on the Oversight Committee say that shows the investigation was not impartial.
An NFL spokesperson released the following response:
"We have received the Committee’s letter. We will review it and respond to them. We will continue to cooperate, as we have throughout the investigation. To date, we have shared nearly 80,000 pages of documents and made many others available for the Committee to review, in addition to responding to questions from the Committee, both in writing and in the course of numerous discussions. The Committee has requested many documents which are clearly protected by the attorney-client privilege or are attorney-work product. The League, and not the team, has and will determine which information it is in a position to produce."
Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi released this statement to Fox 5:
"Yesterday, Congress gave brave victims a chance to speak out against their harassers and the organization and league that stood idly by while they suffered. Their testimony was powerful, but yesterday was the beginning, not the end. This morning, we released two key documents: the first shows Wilkinson was hired to write a report, but as we know, NFL changed that plan. The second shows the Commanders and NFL agreed to pursue a ‘joint legal strategy,’ raising serious doubts about NFL’s commitment to independence and transparency in investigating the Commanders. We will continue to investigate, get answers, provide accountability for these victims and workers across America."
FOX 5’s Sierra Fox followed up with one of the six former employees who testified on Capitol Hill Thursday.
Melanie Coburn, a former cheerleader for Washington's football team, is calling this new development devastating and a sham.
"It didn’t surprise me at all. It’s shocking to see it written and out in the public, but deep down I knew that all along. I knew what we were working against, but I still wanted to share the story and try to effect some change," Coburn said. "They have a report. It’s just in the hands of the NFL and Dan. That’s like the police force investigating themselves for police brutality. It doesn’t make sense. It’s not fair."
Coburn knows there are dozens more who have stories of harassment but are terrified to come forward in fear of retaliation.
That is why she hopes Congress moves forward with a hearing.
For now, Congress is giving the NFL a Feb. 14th deadline to provide more information into the alleged toxic workplace culture:
"We request that you fully comply with the Committee’s prior requests to produce (1) Ms. Wilkinson’s findings; (2) the 2,100 documents from the Wilkinson investigation in the NFL’s custody; and (3) the remaining documents central to Ms. Wilkinson’s investigation, which are currently held by a third-party vendor. Please produce these documents by February 14, 2022. If the NFL fails to comply, the Committee will consider alternate means of obtaining compliance."
Stay with Fox 5 for updates on this ongoing investigation.