Commanders owner Dan Snyder declines to appear at congressional hearing; Commissioner Roger Goodell accepts invitation to testify

Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder has declined to appear at a U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing next week.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has accepted the committee's invitation, however, and will testify virtually, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported.

Snyder responded with a letter from his attorney to the committee's June 1 request for the owner to appear as part of the Congressional investigation into the Commanders' workplace conduct.

The letter explains that Snyder "has a longstanding Commanders-related business conflict and is out of the country on the first and only date the Committee has proposed for the hearing," which is June 22.

"Although Mr. Snyder remains willing to cooperate with the Committee -- as he has done in the past -- for the reasons set forth below," Snyder's attorney, Karen Patton Seymour, writes, "he is unable to accept the Committee's invitation to testify at the scheduled hearing."

Lisa Banks and Debra Katz, the attorneys representing former Commanders employees alleging misconduct, called in a statement for Congress to subpoena Snyder.

"We, along with our clients, are disappointed but not surprised that Dan Snyder does not have the courage to appear voluntarily," the statement reads. "We fully expect the Committee will issue a subpoena to compel Mr. Snyder to appear. It is time that Mr. Snyder learns that he is not above the law."

Goodell was also invited to testify on June 1.

"The NFL has cooperated extensively throughout the committee's lengthy investigation of the Washington commanders, including by producing more than 460,000 pages of documents and responding to numerous questions in writing and in conversations with the committee's staff," league spokesperson Brian McCarthy said in a statement in reply to the initial request.

Congress launched an investigation into the Washington franchise's workplace misconduct in Oct. 2021 after the league did not release a report detailing the findings of an independent probe into the matter.

Washington hired lawyer Beth Wilkinson in the summer of 2020 to look into allegations of sexual harassment and other improper conduct within the organization. The league later took over that investigation and fined the team $10 million in July and said the culture at the club was "toxic" and ownership and senior officials paid little attention to sexual harassment and other workplace issues.

Snyder has stepped away from day-to-day operations, but the lack of a written report prompted Congress' inquiry.

At a Congressional roundtable in February, new allegations of misconduct against Snyder emerged during testimony from a former team employee. In response to the allegations made during the roundtable, Snyder issued a statement apologizing for "misconduct" that previously took place within his organization but said any allegations "leveled against me personally" were "outright lies."

After testimony from former employees, Congress' investigation also expanded to the organization's finances. In April, the U.S. House Oversight Committee sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission saying it found evidence the Commanders might have engaged in potentially unlawful financial conduct for more than a decade by withholding ticket revenue from visiting teams and refundable deposits from fans.

Washington has denied any allegations of financial impropriety.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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