Daniel Snyder was fined $60 million, by far the largest penalty ever imposed against an NFL team owner, after he was found to have sexually assaulted a woman who was a former cheerleader and marketing employee for the Washington Commanders.
The findings were reported by Mary Jo White, a former federal prosecutor and chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, who spent 17 months investigating allegations of widespread sexual harassment against executives on the team, including Snyder, as well as claims of financial impropriety. The allegations were made as part of a congressional investigation prompted by the league's refusal to release details of its first investigation into claims of workplace harassment on the team in 2021.
The NFL released its findings Thursday afternoon, soon after 31 other clubs unanimously approved the sale of Commander to an investment group led by Josh Harris for $6.05 billion, a record for an American professional sports team.
The investigation found credible claims made by Tiffani Johnston, a former team employee, who said that Snyder put his hand on her thigh without her consent at a gala dinner in 2005 or 2006, and that he then attempted to push her into the back seat of his car after the event. The report said his testimony was supported by contemporary evidence and witnesses.
“The behavior evidenced in Ms. White's findings has no place in the NFL,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “We strive for a safe, respectful and professional workplace. What happened to Ms. Johnston is inappropriate and against NFL values.”
The investigation also supports claims by former Washington ticket executive Jason Friedman that teams intentionally protected and withheld revenue that was meant to be split among the league's 32 teams. According to the report, approximately $11 million of shareable income was confirmed to have been improperly withheld.
The investigators wrote that they could neither conclude nor rule out that Snyder directed or participated in these revenue protections, but that “at the very least, he was aware of certain efforts to minimize revenue sharing.”
Asked to clarify how the league determines the amount of the fine, Goodell replied, “That is the settlement of all unresolved issues including Mary Jo White's findings. It was something the finance committee considered, recommended unanimously, and membership was unanimously accepted.”
Snyder was also punished for not cooperating with White's investigation.