WASHINGTON (DC News Now)—A lawsuit filed Thursday by DC’s Attorney General Karl Racine accused the Commanders football team, its owner Dan Snyder, the NFL and Commissioner Rodger Goodell of covering up workplace harassment.
According to Racine, the group colluded to deceive DC residents about an investigation into a toxic work environment in order maintain a strong fan base and keep profits up.
“The Commanders and Dan Snyder lied to DC residents about what they knew about a toxic culture of sexual harassment and then they entered into a secret agreement with the NFL and Commissioner Goodell that kept the truth from DC residents—all in an effort to protect their profits,” said AG Racine.
The lawsuit claims that employees referred to Snyder as the “Chief Harassing Officer;” that he ran the team like the “mafia;” and that Snyder himself sexually harassed female employees.
“Mr. Snyder dictated everything from what photos of cheerleaders to use in an annual swimsuit calendar to how revealing their uniforms would be. He Directed employees to make voyeuristic videos of partially clad cheerleaders,” said Racine.
Former Commanders employees spoke to DC News Now Thursday and said they’re hopeful this lawsuit will prevent any other women from experiencing such a toxic work environment.
“We’ve risked so much, I think this is an opportunity where we’re not going to sign your NDA, we’re not going to be quiet,” said Megan Imbert, a former video producer for the team.
She believes this lawsuit is different. And, will finally spark needed change.
“This is bigger than this team, this is bigger than the NFL. This is a society issue. The NFL is a microcosm of society. I want women, men, everyone to be able to work in an environment where it’s safe,” she said.
“Someone, somewhere finally stood up and said ‘enough is enough,’” said legal analyst Dionna Lewis.
Lewis said the exposure of the team’s culture of sexual harassment could spark another ‘me too’ movement.
“It’s considered America’s sport when you talk about football,” said Lewis. “So the fact America’s sport, America’s love, may be heavily entrenched… in such toxic and embattled and embroiled allegations of treatment of women… it could literally cause another spin of women feeling more empowered once again like during the Me Too Movement of speaking out about toxic workplace cultures, sexual misconduct.”