DC Attorney General Sues Washington Commanders and NFL Over Alleged Secret Deal to Deceive Fans


Team co-owners Dan and Tanya Snyder pose for a photo with current team members and alumni during the announcement of the Washington Football Team’s name change to the Washington Commanders at FedExField on Feb. 02, 2022 in Landover, Maryland.

Rob Carr | Getty Images

The Washington, DC Attorney General on Thursday charged commanders and owner Dan Snyder, as well as NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell, for allegedly misleading DC residents about the team’s allegedly toxic culture for its own financial gain.

Attorney General Karl Racine alleges that the team and owner lied to DC residents about allegations of the team’s toxic culture and sexual harassment in order to hide the truth from DC residents and protect profits.

Racine said Thursday that the NFL and Goodell have been working with Snyder and the commanders to mislead the public about an investigation into the allegations and the toxic culture that has perpetuated the organization over the years.

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“The commanders and the NFL secretly made an agreement about the investigation that the public knew nothing about,” Racine said, pointing to evidence gathered by his office.

Synder, who has owned the team since 1999, and its commanders have been the subject of recent investigations by both the House Oversight Committee and the NFL for sexual harassment and financial misconduct.

Representatives from the NFL and Commanders did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“We are bringing this case as a civil matter to a court with a fair trial for the defendants so that the public is given a sense of responsibility,” Racine said on Thursday.

As for the fines that the Commanders, Snyder, NFL, and Goodell can face, Racine also noted that under the Consumer Protection Act, each violation carries a maximum fine of $5,000, and that it “escalates quite easily and exponentially,” meaning potentially millions of dollars in fines.

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The attorney general is also demanding a court order releasing the findings of the 10-month investigation into the commanders’ corporate culture.

The NFL’s assessment is led by former chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Mary Jo White. The league has said White is still working on her assessment. On Thursday, Racine said he didn’t know where White’s investigation was.

The investigation into alleged financial irregularities has led to several other investigations.

The commanders and Snyder have previously denied allegations of wrongdoing.

Shortly after the House Oversight Committee sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission, the Virginia Attorney General and Racine also opened investigations into the team.

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ESPN reported last week that the US Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Virginia has opened a criminal investigation into the allegations of financial misconduct against the commanders.

Snyder recently put the team up for sale and hired Bank of America to facilitate the potential transaction, TBEN previously reported. The deal could value the commanders at as much as $7 billion. The NFL has said any deal must go through the finance committee and get approval from 24 of the NFL’s 32 teams.

Amazon founder and multi-billionaire Jeff Bezos and rapper and music industry giant Jay-Z are reportedly interested in bidding on the team.

This story is evolving. Come back for updates.