A former sponsor of the Washington Commanders has decided to end its relationship with the team, writing in an email it is “sincerely disappointed” over the franchise’s sexual misconduct scandal and the team’s handling of it.
Medliminal, a medical billing compliance company based in Manassas, Virginia, will not be renewing its sponsorship contract for the 2022 season, a Commanders spokesperson said.
The medical company told Boycott Dan, a fan-created website aimed at urging sponsors to cut ties with the Commanders and owner Dan Snyder, in an email that it won’t be continuing its sponsorship “indefinitely.” Medliminal has since removed the Commanders logo from its website, which was there Tuesday afternoon.
“We are sincerely disappointed in the Commanders handling of both the facts and allegations surrounding their organization,” Medliminal wrote in an email obtained by The Washington Times.
Medliminal did not respond to requests for comment. It is not clear if the company decided to end its sponsorship because of the team’s workplace misconduct or if there were other reasons.
The revelation came after the Boycott Dan site emailed the company asking it to take action. It was part of a push from the website, which asks fans to “Tell Corporate Sponsors of the Washington Commanders: Drop Dan or We Drop You.” On the webpage, fans can click on a corporate sponsor. The website then redirects them to a drafted email that they can send the company with their name included.
A Maryland woman started Boycott Dan after the Feb. 4 congressional roundtable in which a former employee accused Mr. Snyder of making unwanted advances at a work dinner. The website creator, who asked not to be identified over fears of retaliation from the Commanders owner, said she “reached a boiling point” after former cheerleader Tiffani Johnston told members of Congress that Mr. Snyder inappropriately touched her thigh underneath a table and tried to coax her into his limo when she worked for the team. The Maryland-based woman came up with the idea by talking with her husband and said she stayed up all night to get it done.
Boycott Dan, she said, has sent more than 8,000 emails from fans to sponsors associated with the team and the NFL. The woman said the cause is personal as she is a survivor of sexual assault and a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace. She said she has never worked for the Commanders.
“We felt we had to do something,” the woman said. “Washington football in the Washington, D.C., area is something sacred to my husband and I. We love it. … To see this happening, and to see this happening to women, it’s heartbreaking.”
The effort is reminiscent of the push by investors in the summer of 2020, who urged the team’s sponsors to cut ties with Washington over its use of its now-former moniker, the Redskins. That push was successful as FedEx, the naming rights sponsor for the team’s stadium, asked the team to change its name — and other companies such as Nike and Target stopped selling Redskins merchandise. Following the corporate pressure, Washington soon underwent a review of its name and then retired the moniker, calling itself the Washington Football Team until the beginning of February.
Medliminal so far is the only company to denounce the Commanders’ misconduct among those who have replied to Boycott Dan. Inova noted its sponsorship was already slated to end after the 2021 season. USAA wrote it would continue to monitor the situation for new details, but added the company is “encouraged by the steps the Washington Commanders organization has taken and continues to take to address its culture.”
After 40 women said they witnessed or experienced sexual harassment while working for the team, Washington revamped its business side in the summer of 2020 — hiring team President Jason Wright and a slew of other new executives. A third-party audit ordered by the NFL, written in January, found that the Commanders had made “substantial progress” in improving their workplace culture.
Since then, however, the NFL said it would open a new investigation into Ms. Johnston’s claims and has clashed with the Commanders over access to more than 100,000 documents requested from the House Oversight and Reform Committee. The league wrote in a letter to the committee that the Commanders were blocking a third-party server company from granting the league access to the documents. The league said it planned to turn over those documents to the committee. The House committee started its probe into the NFL in October following renewed scrutiny of the league’s decision to not release a written report after investigating Washington’s workplace culture.
In 2019, Washington announced Medliminal as a new sponsor, saying the company would play a “major role” in the team’s breast cancer awareness campaign. Former team quarterback Joe Theismann would serve as a spokesman who would “effectively highlight Medliminal’s medical cost-saving solutions to Redskins fans and business partners across the United States.”
• Matthew Paras can be reached at email@example.com.
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