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NFL fines Washington Football Team $10 million after workplace culture investigation

“For many years the workplace environment at the Washington Football Team, both generally and particularly for women, was highly unprofessional,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in the release. “Bullying and intimidation frequently took place and many described the culture as one of fear, and numerous female employees reported having experienced sexual harassment and a general lack of respect in the workplace.”

Beth Wilkinson, the attorney who led the investigation, said ownership and senior management “paid little or no attention” to the workplace culture. In some cases, senior executives acted inappropriately themselves, Wilkinson said.

“This set the tone for the organization and led to key executives believing that disrespectful behavior and more serious misconduct was acceptable in the workplace,” the release said.

The investigation concluded that franchise owner Dan Snyder was responsible for the club’s unprofessional and intimidating culture, and that he failed to establish a respectful work environment.

“I have learned a lot in the past few months about how my club operated, and the kind of workplace that we had,” Snyder said in a statement. “It is now clear that the culture was not what it should be, but I did not realize the extent of the problems, or my role in allowing that culture to develop and continue. I know that as the owner, I am ultimately responsible for the workplace.”

Snyder added that he felt “great remorse for the people who had difficult, even traumatic, experiences while working here.”

“I’m truly sorry for that,” he said.

None of the managers or executives who were identified as having engaged in misconduct are still employed at the WFT club, the release said.

The league pledged the $10 million will be used to “support organizations committed to character education, anti-bullying, healthy relationships and related topics.”

The NFL will also use the money to fund programs aimed at improving the workplace for women and underrepresented groups, the release said.

In the last year, WFT has gone through a rebranding effort.

The team, formerly known as the Washington Redskins, changed its name after years of protests. And the team announced in March they were replacing its cheerleading squad with a coed dance team.

CNN’s Kevin Dotson and Travis Caldwell contributed to this report.


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