The Washington Redskins launched an internal investigation after 15 former female workers and two journalists who covered the team accused team members of sexual harassment and verbal abuse, the team told CNN.
The allegations were first reported on Thursday by The Washington Post. The newspaper received screenshots of text messages in which Richard Mann II – the assistant director of professional staff – made inappropriate sexual comments to a worker. Mann was fired last week.
Former employees also accused Larry Michael, the team’s former senior vice president of content and voiceover, of talking about the attractiveness of a college trainee in 2018 when he was recording for the team’s video, the newspaper writes. Michael retired Wednesday.
CNN was unable to reach Mann and Michael for comment Thursday.
Owner Dan Snyder and former team president Bruce Allen were not directly involved in the employee sexual harassment allegations reported by the Post. But Snyder was criticized for fostering a culture in which behavior was permitted.
When asked by CNN about the allegations, the Washington Redskins referred to their comments on The Post, stating that the team hired attorney Beth Wilkinson of Wilkinson Walsh LLP to “conduct a thorough, independent review of this whole matter and help the team set new standards for employees for the future. . ”
“The Washington Redskins football team takes employee behavior seriously. … While we do not publicly discuss specific situations with employees, when new allegations of conduct that violate these rules are raised, we respond immediately, ”the group said in a statement.
Wilkinson told CNN on Thursday that she was hired by the team to investigate “allegations of workplace misconduct.” She did not provide further information on the charges.
The post said it has interviewed over 40 current and former employees. Fourteen of the 15 prosecutors told the newspaper that they had signed non-disclosure agreements and feared they might face legal action if their names were used.
The team has been in the spotlight over the past few weeks as it has to change its name, which has long been criticized for its racist connotations.
Calls for the team to change their name in light of recent protests against racial injustice and police brutality. Earlier this month, the team announced an internal revision of the name, and on Monday, the team announced they would choose the Redskins name and logo.
The new name has not yet been announced.
Snyder and head coach Ron Rivera are “working closely to develop a new name and approach to design,” the team said in a statement.
The decision to revise Washington’s name came after pressure from corporate sponsors including FedEx, and several brands, including Nike and Amazon, have removed the team’s merchandise from their online stores.[1-click-image-ranker]