The Washington Post has published fresh allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct at Washington’s NFL team, this time directly involving the franchise’s owner, Dan Snyder.
One former team employee said that a video was made of Washington cheerleaders accidentally exposing their breasts during a film shoot in 2008.
“Larry [Michael, the team’s former head of media] said something to the effect of, ‘We have a special project that we need to get done for the owner today: He needs us to get the good bits of the behind-the-scenes video from the cheerleader shoot onto a DVD for him,’” Brad Baker, a former Washington team employee told the Post.
Baker said he helped edit the video, which was burned on to a DVD labelled “For Executive Meeting”. The Post said it has a copy of the film. Michael, who resigned from the team last month, denies the allegations while Snyder is yet to comment.
“I feel betrayed and violated,” said Heather Tran, one of the cheerleaders who took part in the 2008 shoot.
Another former Washington cheerleader, Tiffany Bacon Scourby, told the Post that Snyder encouraged her to sleep with Tony Roberts, a childhood friend of Snyder.
Scourby alleged Snyder told her at an event in 2004: “We have a hotel room. Why don’t you and Tony go upstairs and get to know each other better?”
Other female employees told the Post they were banned from mixing with players in case they were a “distraction”, and that harassment was widespread at the franchise. “It was like fresh meat to a pack of wolves every time a new pack of interns would come in,” one woman said.
Last month, Snyder hired a law firm to look into workplace culture at the team after the Post published a story detailing widespread sexual harassment. At the time, he said harassment “has no place in our franchise or society.” Several team executives and employees left the franchise following the July allegations.
Snyder is one of the most maligned team owners in the NFL. Once one of the most successful teams in the league, Washington have stagnated under his ownership, and have recorded just two winning seasons since 2008. In 2019, they finished with the second-worst record in the league.
Off the field, Snyder’s reign has been even worse. On top of overseeing a toxic work culture, he long refused to change the team’s nickname which was widely viewed as racist. He finally did so this summer, but only after significant pressure from sponsors.
Veteran Washington Post columnist Sally Jenkins offered a withering assessment of Snyder’s legacy on Wednesday. “This is what the NFL gets for not scraping Daniel Snyder off its shoe before now,” she wrote. “They’re partners with a man who sank a flagship organization, leaving behind a smutty storefront.”