It’s already been a rough summer for the Washington Redskins, and things got a lot worse after 15 former female employees alleged widespread sexual harassment and verbal abuse in the team’s front office.
The Washington Post has the story from these former employees, based on interviews with than 40 current and former employees. Take a look at the extensive list of allegations: it chronicles an environment where female employees were regularly harassed and belittled, with no recourse for having the offense behavior stop. Typically these were entry-level employees as well–the most vulnerable in the organization.
The team responded before the story’s publication with the firing of three employees, including longtime radio broadcaster Larry Michael and Alex Santos, the team’s director of pro personnel. Washington also retained D.C. attorney Beth Wilkinson and her firm, Wilkinson Walsh, “to conduct a thorough independent review of this entire matter and help the team set new employee standards for the future,” according to a statement issued by the team.
And you can expect other similar stories to start appearing in coming months from all corners of the sports world: if you think this is a problem limited to only the Redskins or even only the NFL, you will be in for some rude awakenings.
As noted, it has been a terrible month for the Redskins and owner Dan Snyder, who had clearly been hoping to launch a new era for the franchise with the hiring of Ron Rivera as coach. The Redskins moniker had survived years of criticism and calls for change thanks to Snyder’s insistence that the name would never be altered, but broad societal trends–accelerated in recent months after the death of George Floyd at the hand of Minneapolis police officers–forced Snyder’s hand and caused the team to announce a name and branding change was imminent. Those trends included calls from major team sponsors like Nike and PepsiCo and emphasized by FedEx CEO Fred Smith.
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