Daniel Snyder was fined $60 million, by far the largest penalty ever levied against an N.F.L. team owner, after he was found to have sexually harassed a woman who was both a former cheerleader and marketing employee for the Washington Commanders.
The findings were reported by Mary Jo White, a former federal prosecutor and chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, who spent 17 months looking into allegations of widespread sexual harassment against executives at the team, including Snyder, as well as claims of financial improprieties. Those allegations were made as part of a congressional inquiry prompted by the league’s refusal to release the details of its first investigation into workplace harassment claims at the team in 2021.
The N.F.L. released those findings on Thursday afternoon, immediately after the 31 other clubs unanimously approved the sale of the Commanders to an investment group led by Josh Harris for $6.05 billion, a record for an American pro sports team.
The investigation found credible claims made by Tiffani Johnston, the former team employee, who said that Snyder put his hand on her thigh without her consent at a work dinner in 2005 or 2006, and that he later attempted to push her toward the back seat of his car after the event. The report said her account was supported by evidence and contemporaneous witnesses.
“The conduct substantiated in Ms. White’s findings has no place in the N.F.L.,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “We strive for workplaces that are safe, respectful and professional. What Ms. Johnston experienced is inappropriate and contrary to the N.F.L.’s values.”
The investigation also substantiated claims by a former Washington ticket executive, Jason Friedman, who said the team intentionally shielded and withheld revenues that were intended to be shared among the league’s 32 teams. According to the report, about $11 million in shareable revenues were confirmed to have been improperly withheld.
The investigators wrote that they could neither conclude nor rule out that Snyder directed or participated in this revenue-shielding, but that “at a minimum, he was aware of certain efforts to minimize revenue sharing.”
Asked to clarify how the league determined the amount of the fine, Goodell responded, “It was a resolution of all the outstanding matters including Mary Jo White’s findings. It was something that the finance committee considered, recommended unanimously and the membership accepted unanimously.”
Snyder was also penalized for not cooperating with White’s investigation.