Six former employees with the recently renamed Washington Commanders sat down with lawmakers on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform to discuss their time working for the football team.
While most of what the employees said has been previously reported, some disturbing new details were revealed.
Tiffani Johnston, who worked as a cheerleader and marketing manager, told the committee that she suffered years of sexual harassment from team owner Dan Snyder and other executives. She described one instance where she had to fend off advances from Snyder during a work dinner.
Johnston said that Snyder put his hand on her upper thigh while at the table and then tried to force her into his limousine at the end of the night. Snyder’s attorney prevented the situation from escalating any further, telling him: “Dan, Dan, this is a bad idea … a very bad idea, Dan.”
After the incident, she was told to keep quiet about what happened and said there was nobody in HR that she could complain to.
Melanie Coburn, who was also a cheerleader and marketing director, told the committee about an “awards trip” at Snyder’s home in Aspen, Colorado. During the trip, one of Coburn’s colleagues was “hazed to drink despite being a recovering addict.” She was then told to stay in her basement room because the other men on the trip hired prostitutes.
“The culture and environment in those offices was deplorable, like a frat party run by a billionaire who knew no boundaries,” Coburn said.
The employees said they were disgusted by the NFL’s handling of its investigation into years of sexual harassment by team officials.
“When the investigation of the air pressure of Tom Brady’s football concludes with a 200 plus page report but the investigation into two decades of sexual harassment concludes with nothing, it shows the NFL’s complete lack of respect towards women, their employees, and our culture as a country,” said Emily Applegate, a former marketing coordinator, and ticket sales representative.