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tv   NFL Commissioner Testifies on Washington Commanders Workplace Culture  CSPAN  June 22, 2022 11:08am-12:00pm EDT

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on -- a great job under duress the entire time he was the president. it was constant\by democrats because their lady in charge hillary clinton did not win. that's the unfortunate part because when the president wins everybody should say we are enjoying life and hopefully they will do the best for our country. unfortunately that's not what happened. so therefore you have >> we'll take you live now to capitol hill where nfl commissioner roger goodell is testifying on league's handling of complaints against the washington commanders and team owner dan snyder for its alleged toxic workplace environment.
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you are watching live coverage here on c-span. chair maloney: should remain muted to minimum nies background noise. will i recognize members verbally. but members retain the right to seek recognition verbally. in regular order. members will be recognized in seniority order for questions. lastly, if you want to be recognized outside of regular order, you may identify that in several ways. you may use the chat function. you may send an email to the majority staff. or you may unmute your mike to seek recognition. we will begin the hearing in just a moment. when i am told we are ready to begin the live stream. the committee will be in order. without objection, the chair is authorized to declare recess of the committee at any time. i now recognize myself for an
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opening statement. good morning, and thank all of you for being here. our hearing today is about protecting women and all workers from sexual harassment, intimidation, and bullying in the workplace. we will examine one notoriously toxic workplace, the washington commanders football team and the response from the nfl. during football season millions of americans tune in to watch their favorite teams. the nfl and its teams collect tens of billions in revenues. thanks in part to federal benefits. the nfl and its teams have one of the biggest platforms in america. so what happens in the nfl has consequences for the rest of our country.
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the committee launched an investigation last october after the nfl refused to release the findings of an internal investigation into the widespread sexual misconduct at the washington commanders. the committee requested these findings, but the nfl and the commanders have refused to produce them. while also withholding more than 40,000 documents collected in their internal review. this lack of transparency suggests that rather than protecting women the nfl is hoping to sweep this controversy under the rug just as powerful men like dan snyder have done for decades. today we will hear from roger goodell, commissioner of the nfl. i am glad he is participating and i hope we will finally get
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more transparency about what the nfl found and why mr. goodell has worked so hard to keep it secret. we also invited daniel snyder to testify today. but rather than show up and take responsibility for his actions, he chose to skip town. apparently mr. snyder is in france where he has docked his luxury kwra*t near a resort town. that should tell you just how much respect he has for women in the workplace. mr. snyder's absence is all the more telling given that the committee released new evidence today that mr. 123450euder -- mr. snyder himself fostered the commander's toxic workplace. according to top executives, he fired women but not men who engaged in relationships with
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other employees while defending male executives accused of sexual harassment. he kept employees from speaking out through a culture of fear. as one long time employee described mr. snyder's tactics, quote, if you don't obey, intimidate. if you still don't obey, terminate. finally, the employee added, quote, if that didn't work, buy them off. end quote. the committee has also uncovered evidence that mr. snyder conducted a shadow investigation to target his accusers, pin the blame on others, and influence the nfl's own internal review. he filed phony lawsuits to collect private phone records, emails, and text messages.
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the committee has a copy of a dossier created by mr. snyder using the information he collected. this dossier is absolutely astonishing and extremely disturbing. it shows the lengths mr. snyder went to to harass, intimidate, and silence his accusers, including journalists, attorneys, and former employees, anyone involved. it starts here just naming journalists that he wants to investigate and investigated. he sent private investigators to former cheerleaders' homes and he offered hush money to buy their silence. the nfl was aware of his actions but failed to stop him. we obtained a secret legal
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agreement between the nfl and the commanders that enabled mr. snyder to prevent the disclosure of documents and information including to this committee. some have argued that protecting women isn't worthy of this committee's time. i strongly disagree. and i'm not alone. in april 6 attorneys generals condemned the nfl for its ongoing failure to address sexual harassment and gender discrimination across the league. the nfl itself has launched new investigations based on evidence brought to light by the committee. for more than two decades dan snyder refused to protect the women who worked for him from the toxic culture he created.
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the nfl has also failed to protect these women. now i believe it is up to congress to protect them and millions more like them. we have introduced two bills along with committee members to do exactly that. our first bill, the accountability for workplace misconduct act, will require employers to conduct thorough investigations and share the outcome with victims, and it will prohibit employers from using nondisclosure agreements to conceal workplace misconduct. one of dan snyder's favorite tactics. our second bill is the professional images protection act. our investigation confirmed that the commanders secretly created lewd videos of cheerleaders for
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the private enjoyment of dan snyder. that is despicable. and our bill will create notice and consent requirements for employers who use their employees' professional images. let me also assure my colleagues that we can protect workers while also making progress on other important issues. just this month our committee held a crucial hearing on gun violence and violenced legislation to protect lgbtq i rights. and next week we'll be holding a bipartisan hearing with president biden's drug czar on the opioid crisis. but today our focus is on protecting women in the workplace. and i believe that issue merits our full attention. in february, the committee held a round table where we heard directly from several courageous former team employees.
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before i yield i'd like to remind everyone what they said about the harassment they endured and the need for accountability and they asked congress to act. we will now play a video. [video clip] >> i work first there, first bonus, first promotion, first office pot lock, first employee hire, first threat to physical violence by a supervisor, first hostile work environment, first public humiliation, first sexual assault. i learned that placing me strategically by the owner at a work dinner after the network event was not for me to discuss business but allow him, dan snyder, place his hand on my thigh under the table. those that sit here today and many others came forward at great personal risk.
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we did our part believing what we were doing would help employees across the country, but to our shock and our disappointment, the nfl did nothing. >> i stand before you here today reliving these live memories to try to make a change for other women and the league and the industry and workplace. there are just some of the stories that the washington commanders and nfl have tried so far to hide. i'd like to shine a light on the toxic workplace we entered and plead with the nfl to release the report from the investigation. >> this is not just about the washington football team, and its employees. it's about the millions of women in workplaces across the country who endure harassment every day in our everyday lives. >> today is when democrats and republicans can come together and ensure that what we experienced will not happen anywhere else throughout this country. today is when we can make a difference and we can show the american people how impactful
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congress can be. chair maloney: i yield to my good friend, the ranking member, mr. comer, for his opening statement. mr. comer: thank you, madam chair. the toxic work environment is one staff meeting or talking to leadership, where staff is humiliated or worse, demoted. where employees are retaliated against for raising questions about possible ethical breaches. where did this take place? away from the oval office at the office of science and technology policy within the executive office of the president. it started shortly after president biden's inauguration in 2021. the very day he was inaugurated the president said, and i quote, i'm not joking when i say this. if you ever work with me and i hear you treat another colleague with disrespect, talk down to someone, i will fire you on the spot.
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no ifs, ands, or butts. joe biden said that. it did not take long for those words to ring hollow. the white house council -- koupl's office refused to hold actors accountable. for all we know it may still be hamming. have we had a single hearing about the hostile work environment at president biden's top science office? no. have democrats even sent a single oversight letter about it? no. a core responsibility of this committee to conduct oversight of the executive branch. but this entire congress, democrats have turned a blind eye to the biden administration. instead, the oversight committee's investigating a single private organization for workplace misconduct that took place years ago. let me be clear, no one should be subjected to a hostile work
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environment. and bad actors must be held accountable. the workplace misconduct that is the topic of today's hearing has already been subject to investigations, fines, settlements, and very intense media scrutiny. new leadership has been installed and improved workplace policies implemented without congressional involvement. during the democrats' so-called investigation this committee has held a round table, two transcribed interviews, two depositions, and now this hearing. democrats whose top economic concern is that the nfl is not collecting enough money, even urged the federal trade commission to open an investigation based solely on the testimony of a former employee with an ax to grind. democrats' playbook is to focus on the past and ignore the present and future. all these taxpayer dollars to reinvestigate what has already been investigated. no new punishments have been
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href individual against the commanders because they have already faced consequence force their hostile workplace. the no new relief has granted to any of the aggrieved parties because congress has no authority to provide relief in any of these instances. no additional workplace improvements have been made due to this investigation, because unlike the office of science and technology policy, the workplace overhaul has already begun. i would ask why congress must tackle the nfl football team's workplace and not a white house office or own members. i think we know the answer. democrats are more committed to politics than our committee's mission. our committee's mission is government efficiency and effectiveness. our committee's mission is to protect taxpayer dollars from government fraud, waste, and mismanagement. our committee's mission is to hold government more accountable. instead of conducting oversight
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of the federal government, democrats investigate the private sector. while our nation struggles under the weight of growing inflation and rising gas price, democrats are demanding oil and gas companies decrease production. they did it right here in this committee with the oil c.e.o.'s down there. mr. khanna was the first one to ask each energy c.e.o., would you pledge to cut production. now we know where the 3rez's -- where the president's headed in saudi arabia. the chairwoman subpoenaed the oil c.e.o.'s after they produced thousands of documents. while americans are suffering from the effects of the biden's border crisis, including fentanyl streaming across the border and killing our deems, democrats have examined paychecks for soccer stars and held numerous hearings to demonize the oil and gas industry and push the radical green new deal climate agenda. while mothers are struggling to find infant formula on store shelves, democrats held a hearing on pet flee -- fly and tick collars.
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it's no surprise an organization gave the democrats an f in oversight. this committee is failing the american people. i urge the chairwoman to get back to the core mission of the oversight committee and do what the american people elected us to do, conduct oversight of the federal government and the biden administration. which is on a path to destroy america. let's hold hearings and conduct oversight on the crises affecting americans today. 40-year high inflation. skyrocketing gas prices. out-of-stock baby formula. raging border crisis. surging fentanyl overdoses. and our tanking stock market. the american people expect us to be their voice in washington. it's past time we start doing what we were sent here to do. with that, madam chair, i yield back. chair maloney: the gentleman yield back. i now recognize the gentleman from illinois, mr. krishnamoorthi, for an opening statement. mr. krishnamoorthi: thank you, madam chair. i'd like to address why we are here today. we are here because sexual
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harassment remains a big problem in the workplace. even as we tackle other challenges in our country, we must end sexual harassment. each year millions of fans, including myself, enjoy the nfl. nfl teams, coaches, and players influence public opinion on sensitive topics, too. for boys and young men, that means taking cues as to how they should treat women. and for girls and young women, cues how they should be treated. that reality is why it's so important that the nfl hold itself to a, quote, higher standard, as commissioner goodell has said, and why the nfl must ensure that those who fail to meet that standard are held accountable. for the washington commanders, that reckoning, unfortunately, has not come. by its own admission the nfl says, quote, the work plays culture of the commanders was not only unprofessional but toxic for far too long. numerous women have accused team officials, including the current owner, of sexual misconduct.
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several years ago, another house oversight committee chair opened an inquiry into sexual harassment charges, that time involving u.s.a. gymnastics, explaining they set the rules and policies that govern the sport of gymnastics and has a significant responsibility to its sport and athletes. that person was, republican chair tray gowdy. we agree. and similarly the nfl sets the rules and policies affecting pro football. it, too, has a serious responsibility to uphold this sport. as one of america's most visible workplaces, the nfl also sets the tone for how employers handle sexual harassment. our colleagues on the other side have raise add number of issues worthy of this committee's attention from gas prices to the opioid crisis. we must continue to address those. but at the same time we must tackle sexual harassment, not just for the sake of the commanders' former employees,
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but also for our constituents. today we must send a clear message that the conduct that took place in the commanders organization is never acceptable. not in the nfl. and not anywhere. thank you. i yield back. chair maloney: the gentleman yields back. i now recognize the gentlelady from north carolina, representative foxx, for an opening statement. ms. foxx: thank you, madam chairman. madam chairman, i would like to echo the ranking member's comments today. this administration is doing all it can to annihilate america. it's like nero fiddling while the country burns. it's been wildly reported that approximately 72% of americans think the united states is on the wrong track. chairwoman, with unanimous consent i would like to submit this tph*bz poll for the -- nbc news bowl for the record -- poll for the record. chair maloney: so ordered. ms. foxx: are we looking into
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what caused the 40-year high inflation rate? no. are we examining how the f.d.a. and biden administration failed to address the baby formula shortage? no. are we examining how and why teens are purchasing illicit drugs on social media leading to a record number of overdoses? no. what about the crisis at the southern border, are we doing anything to address the massive humanitarian and national security catastrophe? no. instead, this is another day when this committee failed to do what the american people have elected us to do. last week we had a hearing on pet collars. today a hearing over a single nfl team about workplace conduct that occurred years ago. as the ranking member mentioned in his opening remarks, no one, no one should be subjected to a hostile work environment. bad actors must be held accountable. this hearing is just another example of democrats failing to conduct meaningful oversight of
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the biden administration and the ongoing catastrophes fueled by president biden's incompetent policies. the nfl investigated this conduct and ultimately the team bun p*upbished the bad actors. the nfl is currently investigating additional claims made. as we sit here today, many american families are wondering how they'll find formula for their babies or formula dependent children. families are wondering how they'll pay for gas to get to their jobs or pay for groceries. families are struggling to make ends meet and the biden administration continues to stand on the sidelines sticking to their message that a recession is not inevitable. families are feeling the squeeze now and there is no end in sight. children are suffering from extreme learning loss because democrats bowed to the teachers unions and kept school closed for 18 months in some deep blue areas of this country. the issues of the washington commanders and the nfl are the last thing on americans' minds.
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what is this committee doing to help families working to fix their wounded children and put food on the table? nothing. we must re-evaluate our priorities as members of the oversight committee and refocus our energies over overseeing the biden administration and the -- on overseeing the biden administration and the federal government to ensure the american people are not left behind. thank you. i yield back. chair maloney: the gentlelady yields back. now we will introduce our witness. we will hear from george goodel, the commissioner of the national football league. the witness will be unmuted so we can swear him in. please raise your right-hand. do you swear to affirm that the testimony you are about to give is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help you god. commissioner goodell: i do. chair maloney: let the record show the witness answered in the affirmative. thank you.
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without objection, your written statements will be made part of the record. with that, mr. goodell, are you now recognized for your testimony. commissioner goodell: thank you. good morning, chairwoman maloney, ranking member comber, and members of the committee. i am roger goodell, commissioner of the national football league and i'm here today to discuss the nfl's efforts to promote safe and respectful workplaces, including at the washington commanders. the commanders are one of 32 nfl clubs. each of which is managed by its ownership and executives and have their own workplaces and policies. two years ago, the commanders asked me to recommend independent counsel to address workplace issues and recommend changes to implayoff the workplace -- to improve the workplace culture. we identified several candidates and the club selected beth will kin is e, a distinguished former federal prosecutor. approximately six weeks later, the club asked my office to assume oversight of the firm's
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work. the firm conduct add competitive review of the workplace at the club, interviewing more than 150 witnesses. as a result, we gained a clear understanding of what the workplace had been at the commanders, how it had begun to change, and what further steps were needed to support our ultimate goal of transforming that workplace to one that is safe and productive for all of its employees. let me start by expressing my gratitude to the men and women who share their experiences during the investigation and to beth will kin is e-- wilkinsen and her team. it required substantial courage for many to relive the painful experience and tell their individual stories. no one, no one should experience workplaces like the one they described. especially not in the national football league. i can say to every victim
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unequivocally that their willingness to come forward has contributed to a substantially improved workplace. it is clear to me that the workplace in washington was unprofessional and unacceptable in numerous respects. bullying, widespread disrespect toward colleagues, use of kphaoepbing language, public em-- tkphaoepbing language, public embarrassment. moreover, for a long period of time, the demanders had a woefully deficient h.r. function. especially to practices and record keeping. as a result we imposed unprecedented discipline on the club. monetary penalties of well over $10 million. and requirements that the club implement a series of recommendations and allow an outside firm to conduct regular review of their workplace. in addition, for the past year daniel snyder has not attended league or committee meetings, and to the best of my knowledge has not been involved in
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day-to-day operations of the commanders. the cheerleader program has been entirely revamped and is now a coed dance team under new leadership. and the most recent independent workplace report, which we have shared with the committee, confirms an entirely new highly skilled and diverse management team is in place and that there has been, quote, substantial transformation of the team's culture, leadership, and human resources practices, end quote. to be clear, the workplace of the commanders today bears no resemblance to the workplace that has been described to this committee. we did not receive a written report of the findings for compelling reasons that continue to this day. a critical element of any workplace review is broad participation by both current and former employees. encouraging employees to come forward and share their experiences, which were frequently painful and emotional, was essential to
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identifying both the organization's failures and how to fix them. to encourage this participation, it was promised confidentiality to any current or former employee. for this reason, shortly after we assumed oversight of the work, we determined a comprehensive oral briefing was best to allow to us receive the information necessary both to evaluate the workplace as it was, and to ensure that the team put in phraes the -- place the policies and process to perform that workplace. all while preserving the could have tkepbgsality of those who participated -- confidentiality of those who participated in the investigation. oral reports are often used by the nfl and other organizations in conducting internal investigations. and for other issues. if appropriate, we will make public a summary of the key findings as we did here. we have been open and direct about the fact that the workplace culture of the commanders was not only unprofessional, but toxic for
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far too long. i am aware some victims, including those who appeared before this committee, each of whom was invited to participate in the investigation, have chosen to share their experiences publicly. and i fully respect that choice. many others made a different choice and it is my responsibility to honor the commitment to protect their confidentiality. i am confident that should there be another investigation of the nfl or clubs where similar discretion is desired, future witnesses will feel comfortable sharing their experiences knowing that we do not go back on our word. when the committee has asked questions or requested documents which could violate witness privacy, we have asserted privilege. we will continue to do so to safeguard our commitment. earlier this year the committee heard testimony from several former employees that included new and direct allegations against mr. snyder.
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we promptly engaged former u.s. attorney mary jo white to investigate those allegations. because those new allegations were brought to the committee in a public setting, we will share the results of that investigation when completed and take additional disciplinary action if warranted. since the committee opened its inquiry last october, we have fully cooperated, producing more than 460,000 pages of documents. responding to many written questions, engaging in numerous discussions with committee staff, and i am appearing voluntarily today. we have not allowed the commanders or its ownership or counsel to direct or make decisions regarding the work that was done by the firm. the work currently under way by mary jo white or this committee's inquiry. finally, i want to address the committee's review of nondisclosure agreements of the our policies do not allow a club
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to use and n.d.a. from someone participating in league investigation. nobody who wished to speak to the firm was prevented from doing so by an n.d.a. we also believe that people who come forward and want to maintain their privacy should be allowed to do so. the assurance that it was safe to participate and people could rely on the promise to protect their privacy allowed us to do a thorough review and make the necessary changes in the workplace. i have been and remain committed to ensuring that all employees of the nfl and the 32 clubs work in a professional and supportive environment that is free from discrimination, harassment, or other forms of illegal or unprofessional conduct. thank you for inviting me today. will i do my best to answer your questions -- i will do my best to answer your questions. chair maloney: thank you for your testimony and coming today. i recognize myself--
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>> madam chair, a parliamentary inquiry. chair maloney: the gentleman is recognized. >> madam chair, the u.s. supreme court case u.s. vs. watkins makes clear congress' investigative power must be related to and in 23ur9ance of a legitimate task of congress. especially in light of the testimony by mr. goodell, how does continuing this hearing actually relate to a legitimate task of congress in the face of record high inflation, record high gas prices, a cleatly -- completely unsecured border, a fentanyl crisis that is killing more people between the ages of 18 and 45 than any other cause in the united states, baby formula crisis, a tampon crisis. madam chair, the commissioner has just detailed in his own testimony that the washington commanders, r*bgs, whenever you choose to call them have been held accountable. they have made necessary reforms to the organization. mr. donalds: you have a chair here from mr. -- chair maloney: the gentleman will suspend. the gentleman will suspend. mr. donalds: what is the purpose
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of this hearing? chair maloney: the gentleman will suspend. this is not about a stated parliamentary inquiry. chair maloney: the gentleman will suspend. mr. tko*pbdz: you can bang the gavel you want but i don't care. what is the purpose of continuing this. that is the parliamentary inquirery. how does -- chair maloney: the gentleman will suspend. mr. donalds: how does it. chair maloney: we have put forward two important pieces of legislation. i now recognize myself for five minutes for questions. the nfl's decision not to release the findings of an investigation into the toxic workplace culture at the washington commanders denied victims earn the american peopln people of a full accounting of what transpired at the team for the past 20 years. today the committee released new
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evidence documenting the toxic workplace at the commanders, details that the nfl had not previously made public. we found that dan snyder refused to discipline coaching staff accused of sexual harassment. instead, according to one executive, he tried to, quote, make the problem go away. end quote. we found that mr. snyder approved the firing of a cheerleader for having a relationship with a male team member, but took no action against the male employee. and we found that mr. snyder orbg straighted -- orchestrated a shadow investigation, sending private investigators to the homes of former employees, terrifying them. offering hush money, and compiling a dossier on his
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accusers. commissioner goodell, do you think this is acceptable behavior for the owner of an nfl team? mr. goodell. commissioner goodell: chairwoman maloney, that is exactly why we took this issue so seriously. it's exactly why we engaged in independent investigation with beth and her firm. she had full access to be able to engage with -- chair maloney: reclaiming mytime. i have very limited time. thank you for appearing and your testimony. we don't know how much more information is still out there. because the nfl has refused to make the findings of the will kin -- wilkensen public. yes or no, will you commit today to providing this committee the full findings of the nfl's internal investigation while protecting the identifies of the
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confidential witnesses? commissioner goodell: we gave a summary report, chair woman. the report was broad in its nature but specific to the fact that the culture at the washington football team for too long was toxic and incorrect. we made a commitment to protect their identifies. we are going to continue to do that. and make sure that we -- chair maloney: commissioner, reclaiming -- respectfully, mr. commissioner, reclaiming my time. we have limited time. you have claimed you are withholding this information because you are protecting the privacy of witnesses. but many victims, even in this room, and witnesses have publicly stated that they want, they want this information to be released. and the nfl has made other investigations public. i thank you for that. including the 2014 investigation
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into the workplace misconduct at the miami dolphins. respectfully, mr. commissioner, for full accountability we must have transparency. mr. snyder, of course, has refused to testify today. we thank you for making the dolphins report public. we'd like to have the wilkensen's report public. i'm asking you what specific steps will the nfl take to hold mr. snyder accountable for refusing to testify before congress. commissioner goodell: madam chairwoman, do i not -- i do not have any responsibility whether he appears before congress. it is not my choice. chair maloney: let me stop you right here. mr. snyder has not been held accountable. his refusal to testify sends a clear message that he is more concerned about protecting
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himself than coming clean with the american people. if the nfl is unwilling or unable to hold mr. snyder accountable, then i am prepared to do so. that is why i am announcing now my intent to issue a subpoena for the testimony of mr. snyder for a deposition next week. the committee will not be deterred in its investigation to uncover the truth of workplace misconduct at the washington commanders. finally, i would like to talk about how we are going to fix this problem. not just expose it, but fix it. last week along with many of my colleagues, we introduced two bills to ensure that employers like dan snyder cannot abuse nondisclosure agreements to silence employees and cannot film their employees and use it, use the films without their
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consent. commissioner, do you support the intent of these legislative reforms? commissioner goodell: yes, madam chairwoman. we have had an opportunity to be able to see your outline of this legislation and both these legislation and concept we certainly support it. would be happy to work with your staff. while i have the microphone, i would also like to say respectfully that dan snyder has been held accountable. as i mentioned in the opening, he faced unprecedented discipline, including financial fines, being removed and away from the team at his request. for a period of time, up to a year now, already. secondly, more importantly, transformation of that organization that has gone on in the last year which is really important to the employees that are there now. i hope because of the
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individuals that came forward in the context of this investigation they helped us make those changes. we accepted every one of the workplace recommendations and we think that it's had a-h a dramatic impact as you have seen from the independent audit that was done just before your hearing back in february that indicated a substantial transformation of the organization. which was our ultimate objective. chair maloney: thank you very much for your testimony. i want to thank you for your support of the legislation. which we intend to pass and protect employees not only at the commanders but across this nation. i yield back. i now recognize -- >> madam chairman. chair maloney: mr. -- >> parliament inquiry, following up on what mr. donalds raised, by what authority is this committee investigating a
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private business, a private entity to hold this hearing? what authority do we have? can you cite me that? chair maloney: we have authority to investigate anything and everything. and we have putting forward legislation. you are now recognized. >> anything and everything. we'll remember that madam chair in january. total embarrassment. chair maloney: ms. foxx, you are recognized for five minutes. ms. foxx: i thank you, madam chair. mr. good all -- mr. goodell, i am disappointed this committee's hearing today squandering yet another opportunity to address the many issues facing our country. we have a chance to do something for the american people, but just like the biden administration this committee is sitting on its hands. today's hearing is merely a distraction from skyrocketing inflation, unaffordable groceries, record gas, and energy prices, supply chain
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issues, and our open southern border. as we have heard in your testimony, the nfl has submitted more than $460,000 pages of documents, responded to many -- 460,000 pages of documents, responded to many requests, it seems to me an awful lot of committee -- rather taxpayer resources were expended to investigate the commanders and the nfl which are both private organizations that do not employ government officials and are not in the purview of this committee. do you believe this committee's investigation is good use of taxpayer funds? commissioner goodell: that a question for me? ms. foxx: yes, sir. commissioner goodell: that is not a determination that i should be making. i understand the importance of your responsibilities. i can't be the one who would tell you what you need to be focused on.
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we believe and we understand our responsibility in the nfl in today's society. we understand that. we do hold ourselves accountable. we hold ourselves to a high standard. we believe that we addressed this issue responsibly. fairly by protecting not only the people who came forward to help us address this, but also making sure that we saw that transformation in the washington commanders organization. which is really a significant transformation. ms. foxx: to follow up what my colleagues are saying. this committee has no jurisdiction over private entities. our jurisdiction is on government entities. i want to reiterate i think what you said. you have no doubts about the independence of the investigation or its findings, correct? commissioner goodell: i do not. ms. foxx: do you believe that a congressional investigation would reach a different or quote better conclusion than an independent investigation conducting on behalf of the nfl?
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commissioner goodell: i have tremendous regard for beth and her team. they were thorough, they were competitive -- comprehensive, we made sure the n.d.a.'s did not block access to any of the people. it was their choice to participate. we had over 150 people who came forward. we believe, we understand what the environment was at the washington commanders for far too long. it was unacceptable. unprofessional. and we dealt with that. i think we have now seen a dramatic turn around in a short period of time. i think that will be important for all of us. ms. foxx: i think the allegations against the commanders were disturbing and appreciate you have taken them seriously in your role as commissioner. you have also worked hard to promote incluescy ofity specifically around -- inclusivity especially around football. can you tell me more about why that's important and what the nfl is doing in this space and
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particularly talk about the importance of having women in day-to-day leadership roles such as tanya snyder's. commissioner goodell: congresswoman, we think it's diversity is an important element to our success. it's fundamental to what we do. we believe that having the best people, diverse people, including women and people of color, people that can contribute to the nfl to make us better. that's a foundational issue for us. we have many programs to try to create that. it's an ongoing effort. it will always be. we will never reach the goal line as we say in football. we do believe that we have made significant progress, but we are committed to making more progress. i think the work that's being done here has made the nfl better. i also think hopefully it's been a shining light for others to see that we have taken on our issues and made significant improvement that people can see. ms. foxx: i thank you for being here today and for testifying
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voluntarily. i yield back, madam chair. chair maloney: the gentlelady yields back. before i recognize the gentlewoman from the district of columbia, ms. norton, i would like to clarify what i said before. this committee has the authority to investigate conduct within congress' legislative jurisdiction. and that includes protecting women in the workplace. and this committee and my colleagues and i have already introduced two bills to address the problems that we saw in our investigation. and i'll be glad to share them with anyone on the committee. >> just a question. chair maloney: i would -- you have a point of order? mr. jordan: clarification. chair maloney: no. clarification. mr. jordan: when you said you had the authority to investigate anything and everything you didn't mean that? chair maloney: i just clarified what i said. mr. jordan: you didn't mean it when you said anything and everything. chair maloney: reclaiming mytime.
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some of my colleagues across the aisle have suggested that our investigation into workplace misconduct at the nfl is a waste of time. i strongly disagree. the issue of sexual harassment is one of the most prominent and one of the most prominent and respected workplaces in this country and a cover-up on behalf of a powerful owner should matter to all of us. it's even more surprising given that this committee has investigated sexual harassment and assault in sports, including when republicans were in the majority. in 2018 under the leadership of then republican chairman trey gowdy, the committee launched a bipartisan investigation into u.s.a. gymnastics' handling of allegations against larry nassar. a letter to the u.s.a.
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gymnastics signed by chairman gowdy, then ranking member ms. foxx, member cummings, also ms. foxx and myself the committee wrote, and i quote, sexual assault should not be tolerated, but when it does occur, it is imperative that swift and immediate action be taken to stop the abuse, prevent it from occurring, and address its effects, end quote. i would like to enter the letter into the record, without objection, so ordered. and we are here today to hold another sport governing body accountable. because the nfl has failed the thousands of employees that work for teams across the country. and that failure has endangered women across the nfl and sent a powerful message to every workplace that accountability is optional. my time has expired. the gentlelady is recognized,
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ms. norton. i place the letter in the record. ms. norton: thank you, madam chair. mr. goodell, in 2014 the nfl sraoe advise -- revised its personnel conduct policy. i want to discuss the passage of that. it said ownership and club or league management have traditionally been held to a higher standard and will be subject to more significancies dis phreupb when violations of the -- discipline when violations of the permanent conduct policy occur. mr. goodell, can you explain why the league holds owners to a higher standard of conduct? commissioner goodell: because they are ultimately accountable for what happens in their organization. they set the standard. and all of us in the nfl hold
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ourselves accountable to that. miss tkpworton: well -- ms. norton: well said, sir. i completely agree with that. but dan snyder appears with respect to dan snyder, it appears that did not happen. before taking over the investigation, you admitted the nfl was monitoring the internal investigation, but as the committee investigation -- our committee's investigation confirmed, in july of 2020 allegations of potential misconduct by mr. snyder were known by the investigators in the matter you were monitoring. mr. goodell, did the nfl know about the 2009 allegations of sexual misconduct against
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mr. snyder before it took over the investigation? yes or no. commissioner goodell: we did know about the 2009 allegations by july of 2000. we made sure that our independent investigator was aware of those allegations. >> we'll leave this now to keep our over 40-year commitment to congressional coverage. you can continue watching this via mobile video app c-span now. the u.s. house about to gavel back in today. lawmakers will consider two bills. and to establishment advanced research projects agency for health focused on accelerating biomedical innovation. live coverage of the house here on c-span. warfare, the ukrainians whose cities are a heap of rubble, whose towns are now


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