15 former employees allege sexual harassment while working for Washington NFL team

The women, former employees, alleged that they were the subject of unwanted sexual comments and told to wear revealing clothing during their employment.

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By Doha Madani

More than a dozen women have come forward alleging that they were harassed during their employment for the Washington NFL team, according to a Washington Post article published Thursday.

Emily Applegate, a former marketing employee for the team, spoke on the record with the Washington Post while another 14 women chose to speak on the condition of anonymity. Applegate and the other women alleged that they were the subject of unwanted sexual comments and told to wear revealing clothing or flirt with clients during their employment. Applegate was the only former employee willing to be named by the Post.

The Washington Post does not report that any of the 15 women filed a complaint with the team or with any outside organization.

“It was the most miserable experience of my life,” Applegate, who worked with the organization from 2014 to 2015, told the newspaper. “And we all tolerated it, because we knew if we complained — and they reminded us of this — there were 1,000 people out there who would take our job in a heartbeat.”

Their allegations span a total of 13 years, from 2006 to 2019, and name at least three of majority team owner Dan Snyder’s “inner circle.”

The Washington Post also spoke to two female sports reporters, Rhiannon Walker and Nora Princiotti, who covered the Washington team and alleged that they received unwanted advances from a senior member of the team's staff.

Snyder is not accused of sexual misconduct, but the women told the Post that they blame the owner for “understaffed human resources department and what they viewed as a sophomoric culture of verbal abuse among top executives that they believed played a role in how those executives treated their employees.”

When asked for comment on the allegations by NBC News, the Washington team referred to statements given to the Post.

Washington NFL team owner Daniel Snyder stands on the field prior to the National Football League game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ on Sept. 29, 2019.Rich Graessle / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images file

The team told the Post that they hired Washington attorney Beth Wilkinson and her firm, Wilkinson Walsh, to conduct an independent review of the accusations.

“The Washington Redskins football team takes issues of employee conduct seriously … 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,” the team’s statement to the Washington Post said.

Snyder said in a statement Friday that the behavior described in the Post article "has no place in our franchise or society."

"This story has strengthened my commitment to setting a new culture and standard for our team, a process that began with the hiring of Coach Rivera earlier this year," Snyder said, adding that Wilkinson and her firm were told to do a "full, unbiased investigation and make any and all requisite recommendations."

"Upon completion of her work, we will institute new policies and procedures and strengthen our human resources infrastructure to not only avoid these issues in the future but most importantly create a team culture that is respectful and inclusive of all," the statement said.

The team has made headlines recently as renewed scrutiny and pressure mounted for the organization to retire its team name and logo, long condemned as an anti-Indigenous slur. The team announced Monday that it would begin looking for a new name, two weeks after it announced it would conduct a "thorough review" of its brand.

Minyvonne Burke contributed.