The Washington Commanders have walked back a disastrous team statement issued in response to news of an impending announcement from law enforcement about the besieged NFL club.
On Wednesday, District of Columbia Attorney General Karl A. Racine announced a Thursday press conference, where he plans to release information about the Commanders. The specific subject of the press conference was not revealed.
The team issued a response to Racine’s announcement later Wednesday by deflecting blame onto the Attorney General’s office for the August shooting of Commanders running back Brian Robinson Jr., who survived the incident and has since returned to action. What’s more, the team attempted to refocus the news around Washington’s violent crime rate.
‘Despite out-of-control violent crime in DC, today the Washington Commanders learned for the first time on Twitter that the D.C. Attorney General will be holding a press conference to ‘make a major announcement’ related to the organization tomorrow,’ read the team statement.
Robinson’s agent, Ryan Williams, has since condemned the team’s initial statement on Twitter: ‘Although I know that there are some great humans in that building, whoever is hiding behind this statement is not one of them.’
Commanders president Jason Wright has since walked back the team’s initial statement following Williams’s Twitter post by voicing support for DC police chief Robert J. Contee III.
The Washington Commanders have walked back a disastrous team statement issued in response to news of an impending announcement from law enforcement about the besieged NFL club. PICTURED: Team owners Dan and Tanya Snyder
On Wednesday, District of Columbia Attorney General Karl A. Racine announced a Thursday press conference, where he plans to release information about the Commanders. The specific subject of the press conference was not revealed. The team issued a response to Racine’s announcement later Wednesday by deflecting blame onto the Attorney General’s office for the August shooting of Commanders running back Brian Robinson Jr., who survived the incident and has since returned to action. What’s more, the team attempted to refocus the news around Washington’s violent crime rate
Robinson’s agent, Ryan Williams, has since condemned the team’s initial statement on Twitter
Brian Robinson Jr. (pictured) was shot twice in the leg on August 28 in a busy area of northeast Washington. He has since undergone surgery and made his NFL debut and claimed the starting running back spot on the depth chart. DC metro police have arrested a 17-year-old male for Robinson’s shooting
‘I just spoke to Chief Contee, conveying how much we support the work of MPD, as well as public safety leaders and elected officials working to reduce gun violence and crime across the region,’ Wright said.
‘The earlier statement expressed our external counsel’s ongoing frustration with the Attorney General’s office, as they have been nothing but earnest and transparent in their communications with this team. The lawyers’ legitimate frustrations with the AG should have been separate and apart from referencing the terrible crime that affected our player.’
The developments are just the latest in a wave of negative news surrounding the Commanders and embattled team owner Dan Snyder, who has hired a bank to explore the possibility of selling all or a portion of the club.
Currently the Commanders are under a congressional investigation over hostile workplace and sexual harassment allegations, some of which were specifically levied against Snyder. He has denied the allegations.
But Racine is not believed to be investigating those claims.
D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine (pictured) will make an announcement about the Commanders on Thursday. Racine’s office has been investigating financial malpractice claims
In the letter obtained by DailyMail.com, the Committee said the club also withheld ticket revenue from visiting teams and kept duplicate financial records to conceal these crimes. The Committee’s investigation includes emails and other documents, as well as statements made by former employees, all of which point to ‘a troubling, long-running, and potentially unlawful pattern of financial conduct,’ according to the letter
Rather, his office has been investigating the team since the House Committee for Oversight and Reform referred allegations of financial malpractice against the Commanders to the Attorney General.
That referral came about after the team was fined $10 million by the NFL in July of 2021 over its handling of sexual harassment allegations within the organization. The league did not release a written report on its findings, prompting the Oversight Committee to investigate. Ultimately both commissioner Roger Goodell and even Snyder testified before the committee, although the Commanders owner’s deposition has not been released.
During that investigation, the Oversight Committee learned of financial malpractice allegations against the team spanning more than a decade. The club is accused of improperly withholding ticket revenue from visiting opponents and refundable ticket deposits from fans. The Commanders have denied the allegations.
The Committee notified the Federal Trade Commissioner and Racine’s office about the claims in April. Soon after, Virginia Attorney General Jason S. Miyares launched an investigation into the allegations.
‘Snyder will no longer be able to dodge subpoenas or avoid testifying or answering questions,’ an anonymous source told The Washington Post.’
Racine revealed his office’s investigation last month and will make another announcement about the team on Thursday.
Commanders president Jason Wright (left) walked back the team’s initial statement following Williams’s Twitter post by voicing support for DC police chief Robert J. Contee III (right)
The team responded to Racine’s announcement on Wednesday with its initial statement, referencing Robinson.
‘Less than three months ago, a 23-year-old player on our team was shot multiple times in broad daylight,’ read the statement. ‘Despite out-of-control violent crime in DC, today the Washington Commanders learned for the first time on Twitter that the D.C. Attorney General will be holding a press conference to ‘make a major announcement’ related to the organization tomorrow.’
The statement from Snyder’s team attacked Racine’s office and appeared to take issue with the lack of forewarning about Thursday’s announcement.
‘The Commanders have fully cooperated with the AG’s investigation for nearly a year,’ the statement continued. ‘As recently as Monday, a lawyer for the team met with the AG who did not suggest at that time that he intended to take any action and, in fact, revealed fundamental misunderstandings of the underlying facts.
‘It is unfortunate that, in his final days in office, Mr. Racine appears more interested in making splashy headlines, based on offbeat legal theories, rather than doing the hard work of making the streets safe for our citizens, including bringing to justice the people who shot one of our players.’
Williams, Robinson’s agent, blasted the statement on Twitter: ‘Up until an hour ago, the Commanders handled the Brian Robinson situation with so much care, sincerity and class. And I was so grateful for all of it. Although I know that there are some great humans in that building, whoever is hiding behind this statement is not one of them.’
DC metro police have arrested a 17-year-old male for Robinson’s shooting. Contee said the juvenile has been charged with assault with intent to rob while armed.
Robinson was shot twice in the leg on August 28 in a busy area of northeast Washington. He has since undergone surgery and made his NFL debut and claimed the starting running back spot on the depth chart.
The reference to the ‘gold standard for workplaces in the NFL’ is curious, given that the team is under investigation by Congress over sexual harassment and hostile workplace claims
Both Jay-Z and Jeff Bezos are reportedly interested in buying the NFL’s Washington Commanders from embattled owner Dan Snyder
Byron Allen is reportedly readying a bid to take control of the NFL’s Washington Commanders
Actor Matthew McConaughey and his wife Camila Alves arrive for Monday Night Football action between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Washington Redskins at FedEx field on September 12, 2016 in Landover, Maryland
NBA player Kevin Durant attends the game between the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins at MetLife Stadium on September 24, 2015 in East Rutherford
Several billionaires are reportedly interested in purchasing the Commanders, including Boston Red Sox co-owner John Henry, who is rumored to be selling Liverpool FC.
However, Henry could face tough competition for the team from the reported bidding bloc of Jeff Bezos, Jay-Z and Matthew McConaughey.
Snyder, 57, has four interested potential buyers, Forbes reports. The Commanders (4-4) are worth roughly $5.6 billion – sixth best among NFL teams – according to Forbes. Snyder bought the club for a reported $800 million in 1999.
Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant, former Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, and entertainment mogul Byron Allen have also voiced interest in buying the team.
Both Jay-Z and Bezos were previously rumored to be interested in buying NFL teams, but instead made moves to partner with the league.
In 2019, the NFL announced a partnership with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation to organize live performances at league games, such as the halftime show at the Super Bowl.
Bezos, who ranks among the world’s richest men with an estimated net worth of $120 billion, owns Amazon, which bought the rights to Thursday Night Football for $1 billion per season.
A fan holds up a sign for CEO and founder of Amazon Jeff Bezos during a game between the New York Jets and Washington Redskins at FedExField on November 17, 2019 in Landover, Maryland. Bezos was linked to a potential sale at the time, but it never came to fruition
A Washington Commanders fan holds up a sign before a game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on October 30, 2022 in Indianapolis
A Washington Commanders fan looks on while wearing a sign that reads ‘Sell The Team’ during the second quarter between the Chicago Bears and the Washington Commanders at Soldier Field on October 13, 2022 in Chicago
News of a potential sale follows comments from Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay urging the NFL to remove Snyder as Commanders owner. Speaking at last month’s league meetings in New York, Irsay said ‘there’s merit’ to booting Snyder, who ranks as one of the least popular owners in professional sports.
For starters, the Commanders have been terrible since Snyder bought the club in 1999. Washington, a three-time Super Bowl winner and five-time NFL champion, has reached the postseason only six times over Snyder’s tenure. The current head coach, Ron Rivera, is Snyder’s 10th since taking control of the team.
Throughout Snyder’s tenure, the team has been criticized for its now-former nickname, the Redskins, which is considered offensive to Native Americans.
The Washington team finally rebranded in 2022 as the Commanders after dropping its Redskins name in 2020 under a wave scrutiny following the George Floyd protests.
In 2021, Snyder bought out minority partners Fred Smith, Dwight Schar and Bob Rothman for a reported $875 million after years of infighting.
Smith, Schar and Rothman have been hoping to sell their shares for much of 2020. In fact, Smith reportedly negotiated a $900 million sale for the shares, according to the Washington Post, but Snyder blocked the sale, prompting Smith, Schar and Rothman to sue him in federal court.
The team’s former minority owners consisted of FedEx Corp. CEO Fred Smith, Black Diamond Capital chairman Robert Rothman (right) and NVR Inc. board chairman Dwight Schar (left), who controlled a combined 40 percent stake worth roughly $1.4billion, according to Forbes’ $3.4billion valuation in 2019. They have since sold their shares to Snyder amid a contentious breakup between the ownership group
FedEx Corp. CEO Fred Smith (pictured) thought he found a buyer for the Commanders in 2020, but the deal was never finalized because Snyder was refusing to sell at the time
In response, Snyder sued an Indian media company, MEA Worldwide, claiming they took part in a smear campaign against him that was organized by Schar in order to force him to sell his stake.
The club currently faces a criminal investigation in Virginia, where the Commanders are accused of financial malpractice for allegedly swindling season ticket holders out of security deposits and improperly withholding ticket revenue from NFL teams. The Commanders have denied these claims.
Furthermore, the Commanders are the subject of a congressional investigation into sexual harassment and hostile workplace allegations.
Various reports have detailed claims of sexual harassment made by female ex-employees against male co-workers and supervisors, many of whom have since been dismissed.
Sexual harassment allegations against team employees ranged from inappropriate comments to the creation of a lewd behind-the-scenes video from a cheerleader calendar shoot in 2008, according to a 2020 Washington Post report that first publicized the claims.
Furthermore, a former cheerleader also alleged that team owner Dan Snyder suggested that she join his ‘close friend’ in a hotel room in 2004 so they ‘could get to know each other.’
Redskins cheerleaders seen dancing as part of a 2004 event, where Tiffany Bacon Scourby claims Snyder suggested she spend some time with a close friend of his in a nearby hotel room
Ex-Commanders employee Tiffani Johnston told Congress’ Oversight Committee that Snyder once groped her thigh during a team dinner and pushed her toward his limousine with his hand on her lower back. Snyder has denied the allegation
Those revelations prompted a team investigation handled independently by DC-area attorney Beth Wilkinson, but the league quickly assumed control of that probe with Wilkinson’s team reporting to the commissioner’s office.
The NFL then issued a $10 million fine to punish the club (which is worth an estimated $4.2 billion) and Snyder volunteered to cede day-to-day control of the team to his wife, Tanya.
But the league’s refusal to release a report on its investigation, citing privacy concerns of witnesses, prompted the Oversight Committee to launch its own investigation into the team, Snyder, and even the NFL.
That investigation has led to more allegations of sexual harassment. Specifically, former team employee Tiffani Johnston testified in February that Snyder grabbed her thigh at a team dinner and pressured her to get into a limousine – claims that Snyder has since denied.
Johnston’s testimony triggered a new league investigation that’s currently being led by Mary Jo White, a former US attorney and chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
WASHINGTON COMMANDERS SEXUAL HARASSMENT FALLOUT:
Team owner Dan Snyder: There are several outstanding allegations against Snyder.
A former cheerleader named Tiffany Bacon Scourby told the Washington Post that Snyder suggested that she join his ‘close friend’ in a hotel room in 2004 so they ‘could get to know each other.’
In February of 2022, a female former employee told HBO that she saw Snyder laughing and puffing on a cigar while watching a male executive grope her female co-worker’s backside in Snyder’s private suite at FedEx Field.
Another former employee, Tiffani Mattingly Johnston, said Snyder put his hand on her knee once at a dinner and later pressured her to get into his limousine, which she refused.
Snyder privately settled one sexual harassment allegation in 2009 for $1.6 million following an incident aboard his private plane, according to the Washington Post. The woman, a former club employee, claims Snyder asked her for sex, groped her and attempted to remove her clothes while the pair were on a team plane returning from Las Vegas.
His accuser had agreed not to sue the team or disclose her allegations as part of the settlement, but The Washington Post made them public in June 2022. The newspaper obtained a letter by a team attorney that detailed her allegations while arguing the claims were not credible.
Furthermore, the billionaire is accused of belittling executives, according to three members of the executive staff. Specifically, it’s claimed that he ridiculed an employee named Dennis Greene for being a college cheerleader, once allegedly ordering him to do cartwheels for his amusement. Snyder temporarily handed over day-to-day control of the club to his wife, Tanya, as the club was fined $10 million by the NFL. He now faces a criminal investigation in Virginia, where the club is accused of financial malpractice for allegedly swindling season ticket holders out of security deposits and improperly withholding ticket revenue from NFL teams. The Commanders have denied these claims.
Dan Snyder (left) still owns the Washington Football Team, but temporarily ceded day-to-day control of the franchise following the NFL’s investigation into sexual harassment claims against the club. He has since accused now-former team president Bruce Allen (right) of conspiring to spread false information about him to an Indian website
Chief operating officer Mitch Gershman: Former team employee Emily Applegate said he would routinely compliment her body while also regularly berating her for insignificant problems, like printer malfunctions. Her allegations were supported by two other female former employees. When contacted, Gershman told The Post, ‘I barely even remember who she is,’ adding that he ‘would apologize to anyone who thought I was verbally abusive.’ Gershman left the team in 2015.
Team president Bruce Allen: Although Allen was not accused of sexual harassment or verbal abuse, Applegate claims he must have known about her problems because ‘he sat 30 feet away from me… and saw me sobbing at my desk several times a week.’ The brother of former Virginia Governor and US Senator George Allen, Bruce found himself at the center of Jon Gruden’s email controversy in October of 2021 when the now-former Raiders coach’s racist, homophobic messages were mysteriously leaked to the media. Ultimately the emails led to Gruden’s dismissal as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. Bruce Allen was fired after the 2019 season, when Washington went 3-13.
Former Washington Redskins director of pro personnel Alex Santos
Director of pro personnel Alex Santos: Six former employees and two reporters who covered the team told the Washington Post that Santos made inappropriate remarks to them about their appearances. He also asked them if they were interested in him romantically. In 2019, he allegedly pinched Rhiannon Walker, a reporter for The Athletic, and told her she had ‘an ass like a wagon.’ This resulted in an internal investigation. Another reporter, the Ringer’s Nora Princiotti, also accused Santos of harassing her. Santos, who declined to speak with The Post, was fired in July of 2020.
Team radio play-by-play announcer Larry Michael: Seven former employees told The Post that ‘the voice of the Washington Redskins’ frequently talked openly about female co-workers looks, often making sexually disparaging remarks. He was once caught on a ‘hot mic’ in 2018 discussing the looks of one intern, six sources told The Post. He is also accused of ordering employees to edit together a video of lewd behind-the-scenes outtakes from a 2008 calendar shoot. Michael, who declined to speak with The Post, retired after 16 seasons in July of 2020.
Former radio announcer Larry Michael (left) and former assistant director of pro personnel Richard Mann II (right)
Assistant director of pro personnel Richard Mann II: In a text message obtained by The Post, Mann told a female colleague that he and other men in the office debated whether she had plastic surgery on her breasts. He also warned another female coworker to expect an ‘inappropriate hug’ from him, adding, ‘don’t worry that will be a stapler in my pocket, nothing else.’ Mann declined to speak with The Post after being fired in July of 2020.
Former president of business operations Dennis Greene
President of business operations Dennis Greene: Five former employees told The Post that Greene asked female sales staffers to wear revealing outfits and flirt with wealthy season ticket holders and suite holders. Greene worked for the club for 17 years until 2018, when it was revealed that he had sold access to team cheerleaders at a bikini photo shoot in Costa Rica as part of a ticket package. According to a New York Times investigation, the 2013 calendar shoot did not involve any sex, but team officials did worry the cheerleaders by taking their passports. Some cheerleaders say they were required to be topless, although the shoot did not include any nudity. After a 14-hour shoot one day, nine of the 36 cheerleaders were reportedly asked to escort suite holders to a local nightclub. Several of the women began to cry, according to the Times. Greene declined to comment and has not worked for the team since he resigned in 2018.