An already long week turned into a long Thursday night for the Washington Football Team.
The New York Times obtained more emails that were gathered as part of the NFL’s investigation into a toxic workplace in Washington.
Those emails show Jeff Pash, the league’s general counsel, joking about minority hiring with former Washington president Bruce Allen.
Meanwhile the current administration continued its damage cleanup from the decision to give fans three days’ notice that legendary player Sean Taylor’s number would be retired at Sunday’s game.
In an extensive apology posted to the team’s website, current president Jason Wright said the project had been in the works for months, but it was wrong to save the announcement for so close to the game.
“We thought that saving the news for a game week reveal was the best way to focus the message on Sean and his legacy,” Wright wrote. “We didn’t realize that so many of you wanted to make a trip to FedExField to be present for this moment — a true lack of understanding of what you, the lifeblood of this franchise, needed to mourn our collective loss and celebrate Sean’s legacy.”
Wright added that he felt “a pit in my stomach knowing how we have let so many of you down.”
He announced the team would livestream the festivities for those who couldn’t make it in person, and the commemorative rally towels that will be given out will be sold online for $21 each, Taylor’s uniform number, with proceeds going to a charitable cause designated by his daughter, Jackie Taylor.
That controversy felt like small potatoes, though, compared with the latest Times’ report.
The leak is further evidence that the NFL gathered a number of damaging documents in its inquiry into owner Dan Snyder, which ended with no written report and only minor sanctions for the team.
Pash, who advises NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, lent a sympathetic ear to Allen as he complained about the 2016 hiring of Jocelyn Moore, a Black woman who was brought on to be the league’s chief lobbyist.
“Curious — is there a rule against hiring Libertarians, Independents or even a Republican?” Allen asked, according to the Times.
“No,” Pash replied, “but it can sometimes look that way!”
The newspaper reported that Allen replied: “We have the Rooney rule (to promote minority candidates) … So I’m going to propose a Lincoln Rule at the next meeting.”
The NFL told the paper the e-mails had been taken out of context.
Note: Washington has ruled out WRs Curtis Samuel (groin) and Cam Sims (hamstring) for Sunday’s game. The team will also be without offensive linemen Brandon Scherff (knee) and Sam Cosmi (ankle). Receiver Terry McLaurin missed Friday’s practice with a hamstring injury, but coach Ron Rivera said the decision was made out of an “abundance of caution” and McLaurin is unlikely to miss Sunday’s game.