Just when the NFL team formerly known as the Washington “Redskins” seemed to have turned the corner from controversy last week, 15 women accused several former employees of sexual harassment and verbal abuse.
None of the accused men still work for the franchise. Last week, the club fired the director of player personnel, Alex Santos, and his assistant director, Richard Mann II. Larry Michael, the radio voice of the team for 16 years, announced his retirement on Wednesday. Other accused personnel had previously left. The allegations cover incidents from 2006 through 2019.
The Washington Post reported Thursday on the alleged inappropriate actions and remarks. They said Santos made unwelcome advances and comments and pinched a woman on the hip. Mann sent improper sexual text messages, the women said.
They also described Michael’s allegedly disparaging and sexual speech toward women, including once on a hot mic. Other accusations included a team executive telling women to wear revealing clothing and flirt with suite holders.
“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,” said Emily Applegate, the only woman to speak on the record.
In a statement Friday, majority team owner Dan Snyder apologized on behalf of the team, decrying the behavior and vowing to set higher standards. He has hired a Washington firm to address the accusations and review team policies and culture.
Earlier in the week, the franchise announced it would drop the 87-year-old name “Redskins” and its Indian head logo, which many saw as a slur against Native Americans. Increasing pressure from corporate sponsors finally pushed Snyder to make the change after resisting for years. —Sharon Dierberger