After his team was fined for fostering a toxic workplace culture, Dan Snyder’s comments lacked true remorse, accountability, and responsibility for doing his job.
The Washington Football Team was fined $10 million Thursday for fostering a toxic workplace culture where bullying, sexual harassment and intimidation were commonplace amongst the organization. The fine results from an investigation done by independent counsel Beth Wilkinson, where she interviewed over 150 current and former employees of the team, most of them women.
Based on the review, Commissioner Roger Goodell found that the culture of Washington’s work environment, particularly towards women employees, was unprofessional. Portions of the $10 million penalty will go to supporting organizations committed to character education, anti-bullying, healthy relationships and related topics, the NFL said.
Team owner Dan Snyder released a statement about the fine and the findings of the investigation. Unfortunately, the beginning of his statement tarnished the rest of it, as he showed little accountability and essentially admitted to not doing his job.
Dan Snyder’s statement about his team’s workplace culture was bad from the beginning.
Throughout Snyder’s tenure as owner of the Washington Football team, there have been some issues within its locker room and organization. Each time something came up, he’s tried to deflect blame or not accept complete responsibility for not running his franchise properly. Thursday, he followed that same tune in the first paragraph of his statement, responding to the fine.
“I have learned a lot in the past few months about how my club operated, and the kind of workplace that we had. It is now clear that the culture was not what it should be, but I did not realize the extent of the problems, or my role in allowing that culture to develop and continue. I know that as the owner, I am ultimately responsible for the workplace. I have said that and I say it again.”
You can read the rest of his statement on NFL.com, but the first four sentences show no kind of accountability. If anything, he deflects any blame coming his way, saying that he didn’t truly fulfill his job as the owner and analyze his workplace as he should. It took over 150 women coming forward under anonymity because of the fear of retribution for Snyder to realize his workplace culture isn’t what it should be — that’s truly appalling.
As an owner of an NFL team, it is your responsibility to hire people of character and promote a positive work environment throughout all levels of the organization. Snyder commits to this later in his statement, but it falls flat because of his lack of owning his mess in the first paragraph. Snyder’s claim of ignorance to realizing how bad his franchise’s workplace shows that he really didn’t do his job.
The NFL is not off the hook for this either. The league’s investigation provided no written report, they didn’t reveal any facts or findings from the investigation, and they gave Snyder essentially a slap on the wrist. A $10 million fine to a team valued at $3.5 billion according to Forbes, is nothing, a drop in the huge bucket of money they make a year.
What might be the worst part is that it isn’t on Snyder to clean up his mess of a workplace. Instead, those duties fall on his wife Tanya, who will be conducting day-to-day operations and representing the team at league activities and meeting for “at least the next several months,” the NFL said. She was named the co-CEO earlier this week.
As for Dan Snyder, he’ll be away from the team working on a brand new stadium for his team. No real punishment for him, just allowing him to be away from the mess he created. The league could’ve and should’ve done more, but maybe because it was an owner this time around, they wanted to take it easy.
The 40+ women who came forward publicly and the other 150 who told their story anonymously don’t see true justice. This is just another example of how a league with the power to lay the hammer down on its owner didn’t. If the NFL feels like they did a good job here, they should ask each of the women who made allegations if they believe justice was truly served.