The congressional committee looking into Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder sent its harshest statement yet on Monday morning.
“His refusal to testify sends an unmistakable signal that Mr. Snyder has something to hide and is afraid of coming clean to the American public and addressing major worker protection concerns facing the NFL,” a spokesperson wrote in a statement.
The U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform will convene Wednesday to address multiple accusations of sexual harassment within the team when it was named the Washington Redskins, as well as the conduct of the NFL in declining to release a written report by attorney Beth Wilkinson that found numerous workplace issues.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has accepted an invitation to testify, and will do so virtually.
Snyder declined his initial invitation to testify, citing that he had “longstanding plans to be out of the country on business matters on that date,” and offering, through his attorney, a number of issues with how the committee has handled the inquiry.
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Snyder’s yacht, Lady S, is docked at Cannes at the moment, in the French Mediterranean, according to an internet tracking service.
Documents obtained by the Richmond Times-Dispatch show that his private plane landed in nearby Nice on June 4, and that co-owner Tanya Snyder’s private plane has also been in Europe during the past month.
This week, Cannes is hosting the Cannes Lions awards, a large gathering for major corporate PR and marketing executives that celebrates “the world’s most extraordinary creative thinking.”
In 2019, the New York Post reported that Snyder was at the event seeking a corporate naming sponsor for a potential new stadium, but the team denied that at the time, saying that Snyder was merely attending.
The committee has subpoena power but has yet to use it to compel Snyder’s testimony and, given the short amount of time before Wednesday’s hearing, it’s likely that any such mandate would have to occur at a later hearing.
The committee has said it will meet Wednesday at 10 a.m. regardless of Snyder’s participation.
“The Committee will not be deterred in its investigation to uncover the truth of workplace misconduct at the Washington Commanders,” the spokesperson wrote.
On Monday morning, attorney Karen Patton Seymour, who is representing Snyder, sent a letter reiterating her side’s issues with the process.
Among other things, they are asking for advance knowledge of any documents that would be presented, as well as assurances about the scope of questioning.
“With respect to a request that the Committee often grants for other witnesses — a copy of the documents the Committee intends to use in questioning — the Committee stated in its June 17 letter that the only documents that it is willing to share in advance are those that the Commanders have already produced in connection with this inquiry,” Seymour wrote.
“The Snyders and the Team remain fully willing to cooperate with the Committee, and are eager to share the cultural transformation undertaken by the Commanders if the Committee is interested in obtaining that information in a manner consistent with appropriate due process and fairness protections.”