Fifteen former employees of the Washington Redskins have alleged they were sexually harassed while working for the NFL team, according to a report.
The Washington Post reported that the women endured relentless sexual harassment and verbal abuse that was either ignored or condoned by the Redskins’ top team executives.
Emily Applegate, who began working for the team in 2014, was the only woman among the 15 to speak to the newspaper without asking for anonymity. The other 14 cited fear of litigation because of signed nondisclosure agreements that threatened legal action if they spoke negatively about the team, the Post reported.
Applegate said in one instance, the team’s former chief operating officer launched into an expletive-laced tirade and requested she wear a tight dress for a meeting with clients, “so the men in the room have something to look at,” the newspaper reported.
In another example, Applegate said a suite holder grabbed her friend’s backside during a game. When the woman complained, the team’s top sales executive was indifferent, Applegate told the Post.
Applegate’s comments were part of interviews conducted with more than 40 current and former employees, and a review of text messages and internal company documents, the newspaper reported. The alleged incidents took place between 2006 and 2019, and among the men accused of harassment and abuse are three former members of team owner Daniel Snyder’s inner circle and two longtime personnel department members.
Such members included Larry Michael, the Redskins’ longtime radio broadcaster; Alex Santos, the team’s director of pro personnel; Richard Mann II, assistant director of pro personnel; Dennis Greene, former president of business operations; and Mitch Gershman, former chief operating officer, the Post reported.
Michael, Mann and Santos left the team within the past week, ESPN reported.
Snyder declined to be interviewed, according to the Post.
In a statement, the Redskins said it had hired Washington attorney Beth Wilkinson and her firm, Wilkinson Walsh, “to conduct a thorough independent review of this entire matter and help the team set new employee standards for the future.”
“The Washington Redskins football team takes issues of employee conduct seriously,” the team said in its statement. “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.”
Snyder did release a statement on Friday reading in part, “The behavior described in yesterday’s Washington Post article has no place in our franchise or society.”
Read the statement here or below.
Applegate, 31, called her year with the team -- she left in 2015 -- as the “most miserable experience of my life.”
“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.”
In a telephone interview, Gershman denied Applegate’s allegations.
“I barely even remember who she is,” Gershman 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.”
None of the women accused Snyder or former team president Bruce Allen of sexual harassment, but were skeptical the men were unaware of the alleged behavior.
“I would assume Bruce (Allen) knew because he sat 30 feet away from me … and saw me sobbing at my desk several times every week,” Applegate told the Post.'
Allen, who was fired in December after 10 years with the team, did not respond to the newspaper’s request for comment.
Cox Media Group