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15 women accuse ex-Washington Redskins officials of sexual harassment

15 women accuse ex-Washington Redskins officials of sexual harassment
The women made no allegations against team owner Daniel Snyder (C) but expressed skepticism that he was unaware of the alleged misconduct. File Photo by Roger L. Wollenberg/UPI | License Photo

July 16 (UPI) -- Fifteen former female employees on Thursday accused multiple members of the Washington Redskins organization, including former scouts and members of owner Daniel Snyder's inner circle, of sexual harassment and verbal abuse.

The Washington Post reported the allegations span most of Snyder's tenure as owner, running from 2006-19. The accusations fell into two categories: unwelcome overtures or sexual comments, and encouragement to wear revealing clothing and flirt with clients to close sales deals.

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Among those accused of misconduct are former radio play-by-play announcer Larry Michael, former director of pro personnel Alex Santos and former assistant director of pro personnel Richard Mann III, the report said. All three left the franchise within the past week.

Former President of business operations Dennis Greene and former Chief Operating Officer Mitch Gershman also were accused of misconduct, according to the Post.

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The women made no allegations against Snyder or former longtime General Manager Bruce Allen, who was fired in December after spending 10 years with the organization. According to the report, the accusers expressed skepticism that Snyder and Allen were unaware of the alleged misconduct.

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"The Washington Redskins football team takes issues of employee conduct seriously," the team said in a 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."

Washington head coach Ron Rivera told ESPN the culture within the franchise would change moving forward.

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"Biggest thing is that we have to move forward from this and make sure everybody understands we have policies that we will follow and that we have an open door policy with no retribution," Rivera said in a text message. "Plus my daughter works for the team and I sure as hell am not going to allow any of this!"

Earlier Thursday, the NFL team hired Washington, D.C., attorney Beth Wilkinson of Wilkinson Walsh LLP to review the organization's protocols, including its policies, culture and allegations of workplace misconduct.

The allegations come after the team's announcement Monday that it will retire its "Redskins" nickname and logo after completing a thorough review that started July 3.

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Washington's decision to retire the nickname comes amid pressure from several sponsors, including FedEx, Nike, Amazon and PepsiCo.

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FedEx, Nike and PepsiCo each received letters signed by 87 investment firms and shareholders worth more than $600 billion asking the companies to disassociate from the NFL franchise unless it changes the controversial team name. Some retailers, including Amazon and Walmart, also have stopped selling Washington merchandise.

Washington's three minority shareholders are currently attempting to sell their interests in the team. According to ESPN, the minority shareholders recently hired the investment bank Moag & Company to find potential buyers.

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