- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis said Wednesday he would like to see the NFL release a written report of its investigation into the Washington Football Team’s workplace misconduct — becoming the first NFL owner to call for the full findings to be made public. 

Davis spoke to reporters at the NFL’s fall owners meetings on the heels of his former coach, Jon Gruden, resigning over leaked emails uncovered during the investigation that found Gruden using homophobic and derogatory language in messages to former Washington president Bruce Allen. 

“Probably,” Davis said. “Yeah, I think that there should be (a written report released.) Especially with some of the things that, I guess, were [alleged]. Yeah, I believe so. I think people deserve it, especially the people that were quote, victims.”

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell reiterated in a press conference Tuesday that the league had no plans to release any further information. He said the league promised anonymity to those who participated in the investigation, and thus would not reveal more.

Goodell said he believed Washington owner Dan Snyder was held “accountable” by the league, citing the team’s $10 million fine and Snyder’s self-imposed exile, four months and counting, from daily operations of the franchise. 

Goodell, however, faced sharp criticism from former team employees who participated in the league’s investigation. Rachel Engleson, a former marketing director, tweeted she was never told a written report wouldn’t be released — only that her identity would be kept a secret. Megan Imbert, a former video producer, called Goodell’s comments “atrocious.” 

Others criticized Goodell for implying that Snyder had been suspended when the league said in July that the owner was voluntarily giving up day-to-day control for “several months” to his wife, Tanya. Snyder appears to have been at every Washington game so far this season and remains involved in long-term projects like the team’s search for a new stadium. 

By supporting those who have pushed the NFL to produce a written report, Davis appeared to break rank from other owners who either have supported the league’s statements or refused to weigh in. 

Jets owner Woody Johnson told reporters Tuesday that he didn’t have an opinion whether the league should release a full report, saying the matter was up to the league office.

“We’re here for football,” he said.

A day later, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones backed Goodell and the NFL’s handling of the investigation. The league let lead investigator and D.C. lawyer Beth Wilkinson oversee the review before verbally conveying her findings and recommendations to Goodell

“We are very satisfied with how the league handled it,” Jones told reporters. 

Davis, though, expressed frustration that the league did not inform his team of Gruden’s emails when they were uncovered during the nearly year-long investigation. Davis said the Raiders did not find out about the messages until various news publications brought them to the team’s attention.

Davis said he reached a confidential settlement with Gruden, who was four seasons into a 10-year, $100 million contract. He added he has since spoken with Gruden following his resignation.

“He’s hurt, he’s really hurt,” Davis said. “And I understand that. But he understands the ramifications of what he said.”

Asked if owners have the power to compel the NFL to produce a written report, Davis said he didn’t know.

“I believe that somebody should be looking at this,” Davis said, according to The Athletic. “The league feels that it’s been looked at. They claim that nobody said anything. … They’ve seen all the emails. They’ve seen everything. We have not.” 

Lisa Banks, a lawyer representing 40 women who participated in the league’s investigation, tweeted in light of Davis’ support: “Progress! Thank you Mark Davis. Which owner will step up next?” 

Banks and her partner, Debra Katz, also released a letter Wednesday that blasted Goodell for what they said were inaccurate claims during his press conference. The two wrote Goodell “misrepresented the wishes of our clients”  — adding they never requested a report be withheld from the public. 

If they had known this from the start, Banks and Katz wrote, their clients would have not participated in the investigation. 

“Let us be clear: Our clients do not wish any further ‘protection from you by withholding this report,” the letter reads. “Instead, they urge you to receive a written report of the findings of the investigation from Beth Wilkinson, take whatever steps are necessary to ensure the confidentiality for those who desire it, and make that report public.” 

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

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