- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 14, 2021

Ten former Washington employees sent a letter to six of the NFL‘s corporate sponsors asking them to pressure the league to release a full report on the league’s investigation into the Washington Football Team’s workplace culture.

The open letter was sent Wednesday from the former employees who participated in the league’s investigation, which found Washington had a “very toxic” culture after more than 40 women said they were sexually harassed while working for the team.

The NFL is facing renewed calls to release the full findings after former Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden resigned due to leaked emails recently unearthed in the investigation, conducted by D.C. lawyer Beth Wilkinson and her law firm. Gruden used homophobic, racist and derogatory language in the messages, which were sent to Bruce Allen, who at the time was Washington‘s top executive. They were part of 650,000 emails obtained in the probe.

The letter was sent to Pepsi, Verizon, Amazon, Nike, Anheuser-Busch and Procter & Gamble.

“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,” the letter read. “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,” the employees wrote.

The move is a similar tactic used in last year’s efforts to get Washington to abandon the Redskins moniker. A group of investors sent a letter to the team’s sponsors as an effort to get them to pressure Washington to change its name.

Shortly after that letter was sent, FedEx, the team’s major sponsor, called for the name to be changed. That month, Washington officially retired the name.

The 10 employees who signed the letter include Emily Applegate, Megan Imbert, Brad Baker, Melanie Coburn, Dominique Dupras, Rachel Engleson, Alicia Klein, Ana Nunez, Brittany Pareti and Cara Trotter.

“While the NFL has refused to heed the calls for transparency and accountability from former WFT employees, advocacy groups, lawyers, or the media, it will have to heed such a call from its corporate sponsors,” they wrote. “If the league has shown us anything, it is that money, and only money, talks.

“We therefore ask that you join us in insisting on transparency and accountability, and in demanding that the NFL make the findings of this investigation public,” the letter read.

• Matthew Paras can be reached at mparas@washingtontimes.com.

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