Fifteen women who worked for the Washington, D.C., NFL team have accused former top staff members of sexual harassment and verbal abuse over a 13-year period, The Washington Post reported Thursday.
After the Post questioned the football club about the allegations, three top front-office employees of owner Daniel Snyder’s crew left the team, according to the Post. They included Larry Michael, the club’s longtime play-by-play radio announcer, and the NFL team’s director of pro personnel, Alex Santos.
Michael, who resigned Wednesday, was accused of frequently commenting on female colleagues in sexual and demeaning terms, and was heard doing so about an intern over a microphone that he hadn’t realized was live, according to the Post.
Santos was accused of sexual harassment by employees and reporters, including Rhiannon Walker, a reporter for The Athletic. She reported to club management that Santos had pinched her, commented on her “ass” and repeatedly asked out on dates, Walker told the Post.
A former marketing coordinator for the club from 2014 to 2015 called her time there the “most miserable experience of my life.”
Beyond sexual, demeaning comments and unwanted overtures, female sales employees complained they were repeatedly pressured to wear revealing clothing to close sales deals, according to the Post.
Dennis Greene, the former president of business operations, told female sales staff to wear low-cut blouses and tight skirts and to flirt with stadium suite holders, employees told the newspaper. Greene was forced out in 2018 over a scandal that he had sold access to team cheerleaders as part of premium suite packages, the Post reported. Greene declined to comment.
All but one of the women in the Post exposé requested anonymity because they feared litigation over nondisclosure agreements they had signed as a condition of their work with the team. Team management refused to release them from those agreements when asked to do so by the Post, the newspaper reported.
Snyder, who has owned the team since 1999, refused repeated requests for an interview to respond to the allegations, the Post reported.
But the team said in a statement that it had hired a law firm “to conduct a thorough independent review of this entire matter and help the team set new employee standards for the future,” the paper reported.
The team “takes issues of employee conduct seriously. … While we do not speak to specific employee situations publicly, when new allegations of conduct are brought forward that are contrary to these policies, we address them promptly,” the statement added.
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