Amid another ugly season on the field, the Washington Football Team and owner Daniel Snyder are now facing even more alarming allegations off the field against the organization.
In July, the Washington Post, detailed a toxic culture of sexual harassment inside the organization. In an ongoing chronicle revealing the toxic culture of Snyder’s organization, the Washington Post has continued to releasing damning allegations about Snyder’s team. The latest came on Friday, with new information detailing the issues in Washington.
The focus is once again on the organization’s treatment of the cheerleaders. The New York Times spoke to several of the team’s former cheerleaders in 2018, detailing multiple incidents of sexual misconduct, harassment and intimidation. Since then, more former cheerleaders and team employees have come forward to discuss their experiences with Snyder’s organization.
Donald Wells, who worked for Snyder as the director of the cheerleading squad from 1997-2009, detailed a moment when Snyder allegedly threatened him.
“You better keep them skinny with big t–s or I’ll f—ing kill you,” Wells says Snyder told him during a charity event in 2004.
Wells told the Washington Post that he felt comfortable coming forward only after learning Snyder allegedly had another team employee splice together lewd videos of the cheerleader for him. Snyder has denied the allegations and the club hired a prominent attorney to investigate its culture over the years before the WaPo released its first story.
Under Snyder’s direction, the organization reportedly had a strict moral code for the cheerleaders that explicitly forbade them from taking part in what the club deemed “tasteless” videos or from dating players.
Not only did the cheerleaders often feel violated and harassed by the organization, but the overall poor treatment extended to their work hours and pay. As detailed in the story, Washington’s cheerleaders earned only $75 for each home game until five years ago, with the women often working up to 12-hour shifts.
The cheerleaders were also required to sell the team’s annual swimsuit calendar, with a quota reportedly set for at least 50 calendars. If they fell short of the mark, they would have to pay the multi-billion dollar organization back for the unsold calendars. For some women making around $1,000 per year from the team, being required to pay back hundreds of dollars was even more costly.
While Washington gave women the option of whether or not to pose topless or in body paint for the calendar shoot, there were allegedly consequences if they chose not to do it. As one former cheerleader told the Washington Post, she wasn’t given her own month on the calendar after refusing to dress the way the organization preferred.
The organization would send the cheerleaders to serve as entertainment for corporate sponsors and even allegedly sent them to private yacht parties and homes. Furthermore, the calendar shoot was turned into a revenue-generating opportunity, with fans allowed to potentially buy access to watch the photoshoot in 2006-07.
Minority team stakeholders Frederick Smith and Dwight Schar have reportedly pushed for Snyder to sell the team, but the expectation remains he will continue to remain in control until eventually passing it down in the family.