Redskins Inner Circle Accused of Sexual Harassment

Adds to Controversy of Name Change Amid Corona & BLM

In addition to team name change pressure, 15 women who previously worked for the Washington Redskins organization have alleged sexual harassment and verbal abuse by former scouts and members of owner Daniel Snyder’s inner circle, the Washington Post reported Thursday.

Among those accused of misconduct are former director of pro personnel Alex Santos and former assistant director of pro personnel Richard Mann II, as well as radio play-by-play announcer Larry Michael. All three departed the organization within the past week.

Others named in the report are former president of business operations Dennis Greene and former chief operating officer Mitch Gershman, who, along with Michael, were considered part of Snyder’s “inner circle,” according to the Post.

There are no allegations against Snyder or former longtime general manager Bruce Allen, who was fired last December after 10 years with the franchise.

Snyder declined several requests for an interview, according to the Post. Allen also did not reply to interview requests. The NFL has not yet responded to an ESPN request for comment

“The Washington Redskins football team takes issues of employee conduct seriously,” the team said in a statement to the Post. “While we do not speak to specific employee situations publicly, when new allegations of conduct are brought forward that are contrary to these policies, we address them promptly.”

In a text to ESPN’s John Keim, first-year Washington coach Ron Rivera said that the culture within the organization would change moving forward.

“Biggest thing is that we have to move forward from this and make sure everybody understands we have policies that we will follow and that we have an open-door policy with no retribution,” Rivera said. “Plus my daughter works for the team and I sure as hell am not going to allow any of this!”

The allegations of sexual harassment and toxic workplace culture, which spanned from 2006 to 2019, were raised by 15 women, all but one of whom spoke to the Post on the condition of anonymity, with some having signed nondisclosure agreements with the team.

Santos, who was fired this week, is accused by six former employees and two reporters who covered the team of commenting about their bodies and making unwelcome overtures, according to the Post. He declined comment.

In text messages obtained by the Post, Mann, also fired within the past week, shared with a female employee his conversation with coworkers about whether she had undergone breast enhancement surgery. He also declined comment.

Greene, who resigned in May 2018 after reportedly selling access to Redskins cheerleaders, including attendance at a 2013 calendar photo shoot in Costa Rica, is named in the Post report for having encouraged members of the sales staff to wear revealing clothing and flirt with suite holders. He declined comment for the Post’s story.

Emily Applegate, the only former Washington female employee named in the Post report, said that Gershman was verbally abusive toward her over minor workplace issues and also complimented her body.

“I barely even remember who she is,” Gershman, who left the team in 2015, told the Post. “I thought the Redskins was a great place to work … I would apologize to anyone who thought that I was verbally abusive.”

Seven former employees alleged to the Post that Michael, who retired Wednesday, routinely spoke about the physical appearance of female colleagues in a sexual and disparaging manner, including a college-aged intern in a comment that was caught on a “hot mic” in 2018. An attorney for Michael declined comment to ESPN, saying there was no statement at this time.

The team has hired D.C. attorney Beth Wilkinson of Wilkinson Walsh LLP to review the organization’s protocols, including its culture, policies and allegations of workplace misconduct, Wilkinson confirmed in a statement on Thursday.

Wilkinson has represented the NFL in a suit challenging the league’s Sunday Ticket Package and has also successfully represented the NCAA and Major League Baseball in class-action suits. She also assisted Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation process in addressing allegations of sexual misconduct.

It has been reported that three minority shareholders are seeking to sell their interests in the team.

The minority shareholders have hired the investment bank Moag & Company to vet buyers and sell their stake in the team, a league source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The allegations come on the heels of the team’s announcement Monday that it would be retiring its nickname and logo after completing a thorough review that began on July 3.