The NFL and Washington Football Team Must #ReleaseTheReport

On February 3, the House Oversight Committee Roundtable heard testimony about sexual harassment at the Washington Football Team—a microcosm of what we see every day at the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund. 

Anna Nunez and Emily Applegate talked about how sexual harassment is compounded by race discrimination and other types of harassment. Witnesses talked about how the person who harassed them was known to have harassed women previously in the workplace. Applegate and others talked about how they were afraid of retaliation and losing their jobs. Witnesses talked about how the harassment made them feel ashamed and worthless. Rachel Engleson related that she eventually quit her job, even though she did not have another position to go to.  

You can hear their own words here:  

Anna Nunez

Rachel Engleson

Emily Applegate

These are stories we know. 

Last year, we studied the requests for assistance we have received through TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund, and what we found tracks what the witnesses said.  

  • More than seven in 10 survivors who experienced workplace sexual harassment faced some form of retaliation, including termination, being sued for defamation, and denial of promotions. 
  • Nearly one in five people (18%) said they had experienced discrimination or harassment based on sex and other aspects of their identities. For example, they were harassed because they were a woman with a disability, a woman of color, or a woman born outside of the United States. 
  • More than one in five people (22%) said their experience of workplace sex harassment negatively impacted their economic or financial well-being. 
  • Nearly one in five people (19%) stated that the harassment had a damaging impact on their mental health. 
  • More than one in five people (21%) mentioned their perpetrator harassing multiple victims. 

After taking over the investigation from the Washinton Football Team, the NFL has reverted to the atrocious employer playbook. It has refused to release the report of that investigation—even though, as several speakers pointed out, a previous investigation led to a 250-page report about the inflation of footballs. And the NFL fined the current owner $10 million dollars, which sounds like a lot until you realize Synder’s net worth is about 2.6 billion and the Washington Football Team is valued at over 4 billion. During the time of this investigation and not releasing the report, the NFL agreed to make him the sole owner of the team.  

The workers who were harassed want the report released. Advocates want the report released. Members of Congress want the report released. It makes you wonder what the NFL and the Washington Football Team are hiding. As Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz pointed out, Congress has given the NFL a partial exemption from anti-trust laws, and local governments routinely give teams huge tax breaks. If decency and doing the right thing won’t move the NFL, Congress should keep up the pressure and use these money levers. The NFL must #ReleaseTheReport.