The Washington Football Team paid out a $1.6 million settlement in 2009 over a sexual misconduct claim against the squad’s embattled owner Dan Snyder, according to a Tuesday report.
The alleged incident involving a female employee occurred on Snyder’s private plane in February 2009, during a return flight from the Academy of Country Music Awards, a person familiar with the matter told the Washington Post.
The staffer reported the alleged incident two months later and was later fired, the newspaper reported.
The confidential settlement comes as the NFL probes an alleged culture of rampant sexual harassment at the organization after more than 40 female employees came forward.
Snyder and a team spokesman declined to comment on the settlement, according to the report.
The agreement, signed on July 22, does not describe the alleged misconduct and Snyder did not acknowledge any wrongdoing.
As part of the settlement, the team’s then-chief operating officer Mitch Gershman provided the woman with a letter of recommendation, calling her “well-respected by her colleagues here at The Washington Redskins and around the NFL” and saying she would be an “asset to another organization,” the newspaper said.
The team changed its name in 2020 from the Washington Redskins due to pressure from major corporate sponsors — a move Snyder had resisted for years despite public outrage over the use of the offensive slur.
The team’s lawyers are fighting to keep a 2009 settlement that surfaced during the NFL’s sexual harassment investigation under wraps. In November, David Donovan, the team’s former general counsel, sued to stop the release of details of the agreement. The Washington Post said this is likely the same settlement involving the incident on Snyder’s plane.
A Saturday New York Times story described the mounting tensions between Snyder and three minority owners trying to sell their shares and the tangle of related lawsuits. The partners have accused Syder of mismanaging the team he has owned since 1999.
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