Today, ten former Washington Football Team (WFT) employees called upon six of the top corporate sponsors of the National Football League (NFL) to demand transparency from the NFL and urge the League to release the findings of the independent investigation into widespread sexual harassment and abuse at the WFT.
In the letter, the former employees, represented by attorneys Lisa Banks and Debra Katz, write:
“We call on you as corporate citizens and sponsors of the NFL, who ostensibly care about ensuring a workplace for women that is free from harassment and abuse, to demand transparency from the League related to this scandal. Until a written report is conveyed to the NFL and made public, we will not know the extent of the harm that occurred, or the reasons this culture was allowed to fester for so long. Most importantly, we will not know whether the actions taken by the WFT are appropriate to address the underlying problems that we, and others like us, reported to Ms. Wilkinson. As corporations that care about women and equity, both inside and outside the workplace, and with consumers and shareholders who expect you to uphold these values, you should not be a party to the efforts of the NFL to obfuscate the truth and to deny validation to so many brave women and men who came forward in the hope that the NFL would take action to right a clear wrong.”
This week, emails released from the Wilkinson investigation exposed the offensive behavior of Jon Gruden, the now former head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. It is unacceptable that the only person to be held accountable since the completion of the WFT investigation is the coach of a different team, while the WFT and its owner escaped with only a fine after decades of documented harassment and abuse at every level of the organization. The release of the Gruden emails shows how important transparency is to achieving accountability and justice. The former employees of the WFT deserve this as well.
Former WFT employees, advocacy groups, lawyers, and the media have all called for the findings to be made public. Because the NFL has refused to act, it’s time for the League’s corporate sponsors, including Verizon, Amazon, Nike, Anheuser-Busch companies, PepsiCo, and Procter & Gamble, to step in and join the demands for transparency and accountability for these brave former employees of the WFT.