© Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Over the last few days, there have been rumblings of a bombshell report about the Washington NFL franchise, which has yet to officially announce a new name. According to a report by the Washington Post, following interviews of more than 40 current and former employees and a review of text messages and internal company documents, 15 women, all former employees of the franchise, as well as two female reporters covering the team, accused multiple higher-ups of sexual harassment and/or verbal abuse from 2006 to 2019, which comprises 15 of the 21 years owner Daniel Snyder has overseen the organization.
Snyder himself is not accused, nor was former team president Bruce Allen, but both, according to the report, were accused of knowing about the toxic workplace culture. Snyder was also criticized for promoting that culture through his alleged verbally abusive behavior and allowing a virtually nonexistent human relations department—staffed by just one person—to exist.
According to the report, Snyder “routinely belittled top executives, according to three former members of his executive staff, perhaps most intensely [Dennis] Greene, the former sales executive, whom Snyder mocked for having been a male cheerleader in college.”
Emily Applegate, a former employee, said she believed Allen knew what was happening.
“I would assume Bruce [Allen] knew, because he sat 30 feet away from me … and saw me sobbing at my desk several times every week,” Applegate said.
The report categorizes this behavior as falling into two categories: “unwelcome overtures or comments of a sexual nature, and exhortations to wear revealing clothing and flirt with clients to close sales deals.”
There are five members of the organization, all no longer with the team, accused of this pattern of sexual harassment and verbal abuse, three of whom worked closely with Snyder and two of whom were high up in the scouting department:
- Larry Michael, senior vice president of content and team commentator for 16 years, who retired Wednesday after being asked by the Post for comment.
- Alex Santos, the club’s director of pro personnel, who was fired last week
- Richard Mann II, assistant director of pro personnel, who was fired last week
- Dennis Greene, former president of business operations, who spent 17 years with the team and resigned in 2018 after it emerged that he used access to Redskins cheerleaders in the sales of premium suite packages.
- Mitch Gershman, former chief operating officer, who left the team in 2015
Applegate summarized the experience as the worst of her life.
“It was the most miserable experience of my life,” Applegate said. “And we all tolerated it, because we knew if we complained — and they reminded us of this — there were 1,000 people out there who would take our job in a heartbeat.”