The Washington, D.C., attorney general sued the Washington Commanders on Thursday, accusing the troubled NFL franchise of perpetuating “a toxic culture of sexual harassment.”
The team, owner Dan Snyder, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the league itself were named as defendants, accused of “colluding” to keep the franchise’s poor treatment of female employees under wraps, Washington, DC, Attorney General Karl Racine said.
The lawsuit uses language commonly found in consumer protection claims, accusing the defendants of lying to Washington residents to protect their business.
“In order to sell expensive tickets and merchandise and maintain the team as a profitable part of the League, Defendants need the Team to inspire public confidence and fan loyalty,” according to the civil action.
“But Defendants repeatedly attempted to bolster such confidence and loyalty through artful deception to the detriment of District consumers.”
Representatives for Snyder and the Commanders said they welcomed an examination of the club’s practices.
“We agree with AG Racine on one thing: the public needs to know the truth,” team lawyers John Brownlee and Stuart Nash said in a statement.
“Although the lawsuit repeats a lot of innuendo, half-truths and lies, we welcome this opportunity to defend the organization — for the first time — in a court of law and to establish, once and for all, what is fact and what is fiction.”
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy denied the allegations in the suit and questioned Racine’s legal strategy of claiming consumer fraud.
“We reject the legally unsound and factually baseless allegations made today by the DC Attorney General against the NFL and Commissioner Goodell and will vigorously defend against those claims,” McCarthy said in a statement afternoon Thursday.
The Commanders play their home games at FedEx Field in Prince George’s County, Maryland. The team had played at Robert F. Kennedy