The NFL failed to fully comply with members of Congress’ deadline to turn over all documents related to the league’s investigation into the Washington Football Team’s workplace misconduct.
Democratic Reps. Carolyn B. Maloney of New York and Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois on Friday called for the league to “commit to complete transparency.”
The two lawmakers, who sit on the House Oversight and Reform Committee, gave the NFL until Thursday to comply with the request, which was made Oct. 21 in a nine-page letter to Commissioner Roger Goodell.
The letter, which also asked the league to answer a list of questions, was sent after renewed calls from the public for the NFL to release the full findings of the investigation after former Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden resigned over leaked emails uncovered in the review.
Mr. Goodell told reporters last week the league would “be cooperative” with Congress.
“Commissioner Goodell said the NFL will cooperate with Congress, and we expect him to make good on that promise by producing the documents requested,” said Ms. Maloney, chairwoman of the Oversight and Reform Committee.
An NFL spokesman said in a statement the league has cooperated with part of Congress’ request and is “in the process” of identifying the requested documents.
“The NFL on Thursday submitted responses to the questions in the committee’s Oct. 21 letter,” league spokesman Brian McCarthy said. “As we have discussed with the committee, we are in the process of identifying responsive documents while working through issues of privilege and anonymity promised to participants in the investigation.”
In July, the NFL fined the Washington Football Team $10 million for its “very toxic” workplace culture. More than 40 women said they were sexually harassed while working for the team.
The league, however, was criticized for not releasing a full written report and instead issuing only partial findings of the investigation. NFL officials defended the move, citing privacy concerns.
Ms. Maloney said Congress has a responsibility to “combat harassment and discrimination” in the workplace.
Ms. Maloney and Mr. Krishnamoorthi also called for Washington’s former employees to be released from non-disclosure agreements so they could speak publicly.
“While Commissioner Roger Goodell has told the press that victims and witnesses are free to take their story public, he should know many of them do not have that option,” Mr. Krishnamoorthi said. “Dan Snyder, the owner of the Washington Football Team, has saddled them with gag orders, preventing them from coming forward due to fear of retaliation. If the NFL and the WFT are serious about addressing, among other things, sexual harassment within their organizations, they must allow these individuals to speak freely.
“The NFL has committed to producing documents. We look forward to seeing them,” he said.
It is not clear how the committee will react if the NFL does not fully comply. The House Oversight and Reform Committee has the power to issue subpoenas, and Ms. Maloney recently issued them to a handful of oil companies that refused to provide documents the committee requested into an investigation into the companies’ role in contributing to climate change.
A public hearing is also another option, according to numerous legal scholars.