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Report – 15 women allege sexual misconduct by former Washington employees
6:29 PM ET
  • ESPN News Services

Fifteen women who previously worked for Washington‘s NFL organization have alleged sexual harassment and verbal abuse by former scouts and members of owner Daniel Snyder’s inner circle, The Washington Post reported Thursday.

Among those accused of misconduct are former director of pro personnel Alex Santos and former assistant director of pro personnel Richard Mann II, as well as longtime radio play-by-play announcer and senior vice president Larry Michael. All three departed the organization within the past week.

Others named in the report are former president of business operations Dennis Greene and former chief operating officer Mitch Gershman, who, along with Michael, were considered part of Snyder’s “inner circle,” according to the Post.

There are no allegations against Snyder or former longtime general manager Bruce Allen, who was fired at the end of the 2019 season after 10 years with the franchise.

“These matters as reported are serious, disturbing and contrary to the NFL’s values,” said the NFL in a statement released Friday morning. “Everyone in the NFL has the right to work in an environment free from any and all forms of harassment. Washington has engaged outside counsel to conduct a thorough investigation into these allegations. The club has pledged that it will give its full cooperation to the investigator and we expect the club and all employees to do so. We will meet with the attorneys upon the conclusion of their investigation and take any action based on the findings.”

Snyder declined several requests for an interview, according to the Post. Allen also did not reply to interview requests.

“The Washington Redskins football team takes issues of employee conduct seriously,” the team said in a statement to the Post. “While we do not speak to specific employee situations publicly, when new allegations of conduct are brought forward that are contrary to these policies, we address them promptly.”

In a text to ESPN’s John Keim, first-year Washington coach Ron Rivera, who was hired on New Year’s Day and given control of football operations, said that the culture within the organization would change.

“Biggest thing is that we have to move forward from this and make sure everybody understands we have policies that we will follow and that we have an open door policy with no retribution,” Rivera said. “Plus my daughter works for the team and I sure as hell am not going to allow any of this!”

The allegations of sexual harassment and toxic workplace culture, which spanned from 2006 to 2019, were raised by 15 women, all but one of whom spoke to the Post on the condition of anonymity, with some having signed nondisclosure agreements with the team.

Santos, who was fired this week, is accused by six former employees and two reporters who covered the team of commenting about their bodies and making unwelcome overtures, according to the Post. He declined comment.

In text messages obtained by the Post, Mann, also fired within the past week, shared with a female employee his conversation with coworkers about whether she had undergone breast enhancement surgery. He also declined comment.

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Jason Reid of The Undefeated says the NFL “will have to investigate” the workplace misconduct allegations against the Washington NFL organization that have happened under Daniel Snyder’s watch.

Greene, who resigned in May 2018 after it was reported that he had sold access to Washington cheerleaders, including attendance at a 2013 calendar photo shoot in Costa Rica, is named in the Post report for having encouraged members of the sales staff to wear revealing clothing and flirt with suiteholders. He declined comment for the Post’s story.

Emily Applegate, the only former Washington female employee named in the Post report, said that Gershman verbally abused her over minor workplace issues and also complimented her body.

“I barely even remember who she is,” Gershman, who left the team in 2015, told the Post. “I thought the Redskins was a great place to work. … I would apologize to anyone who thought that I was verbally abusive.”

Seven former employees alleged to the Post that Michael, who announced Wednesday he was retiring after 16 years with the team, routinely spoke about the physical appearance of female colleagues in a sexual and disparaging manner, including a college-aged intern in a comment that was caught on a “hot mic” in 2018. An attorney for Michael declined comment to ESPN, saying there was no statement at this time.

The team has hired D.C. attorney Beth Wilkinson of Wilkinson Walsh LLP to review the organization’s protocols, including its culture, policies and allegations of workplace misconduct, Wilkinson confirmed in a statement Thursday.

Wilkinson has represented the NFL in a suit challenging the league’s Sunday Ticket Package and also has successfully represented the NCAA and Major League Baseball in class-action suits. She also assisted Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation process in addressing allegations of sexual misconduct.

It had previously been reported that three minority shareholders are seeking to sell their interests in the team. The minority shareholders have hired the investment bank Moag & Co. to vet buyers, a league source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Thursday.

The allegations come on the heels of the team’s announcement Monday that it would be retiring its nickname and logo after completing a thorough review that began on July 3.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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