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What you need to know from Roger Goodell’s testimony on Daniel Snyder, Commanders

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NFL commissioner Roger Goodell testified for hours Wednesday morning before the Oversight and Reform Committee of the House of Representatives. The committee is exploring the alleged misconduct of Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder and the NFL team’s extensive history of workplace and sexual harassment and human resources issues that triggered widespread complaints from cheerleaders and other female employees.

Roger Goodell testifies about Commanders/Daniel Snyder’s history of ‘toxic’ workplace culture

Goodell didn’t deny the past existence of significant problems, characterizing the NFC East franchise’s environment as “unprofessional and unacceptable” and “toxic” while adding that he is confident “the workplace at the Commanders today bears no resemblance to the workplace that has been described to this committee.”

Goodell acknowledged it was extremely bad, saying, “I have not seen a workplace in the NFL that is anywhere near what we saw in the context of that period of time for the Washington Commanders.”

Goodell’s virtual presence from New York was performed voluntarily. Goodell was peppered with questions for hours by Congress with the conversation veering away from Snyder’s misconduct, including an allegation he committed a sexual assault on a private jet in 2009, to extraneous issues such as Deflategate, Jack Del Rio being fined $100,000 by Ron Rivera for his comments on the Jan. 6 insurrection, Barstool’s Dave Portnoy not being credentialed by the league, and other unrelated issues such as inflation, gasoline prices, tampon shortages, and racism that crossed political party lines.

Committee to subpoena Daniel Snyder to testify

Snyder did not comply with a request to testify as he was in France on business.

That prompted Rep. Carolyn Maloney, the committee chair, to state that she will issue a subpoena for Snyder to appear next week.

“The Committee will not be deterred in its investigation to uncover the truth of workplace misconduct at the Washington Commanders,” Maloney said. “Mr. Snyder has not been held accountable. His refusal to testify sends a clear message that he is more concerned about protecting himself than coming clean with the American people. If the NFL is unwilling or unable to hold Mr. Snyder accountable, then I am prepared to do so.

“The NFL is unwilling or unable to hold Mr. Snyder accountable. That is why I am announcing now my intent to issue a subpoena for Mr. Snyder for a deposition next week. The committee will not be deterred in its investigation into the Washington Commanders.”

Goodell was asked if he feels Snyder has been held accountable for Commanders’ workplace conduct issues. He stated, “I do,” reiterating that dramatic changes have been enacted by the team to improve and prevent further workplace issues.

When Goodell was asked if he will remove Snyder from ownership, he replied accurately that he doesn’t hold that authority.

Goodell was pressed on whether Snyder will be held accountable for not voluntarily appearing before the committee.

“I do not have any responsibility for whether he appears before Congress,” Goodell said.

Snyder, widely criticized for overseeing an organization rife with scandals, cited business issues as to why he didn’t attend.

“Apparently, Mr. Snyder is in France, where he has docked his luxury yacht near a resort town,” Maloney said. “That should tell you just how much respect he has for women in the workplace.”

Former Washington safety Su’a Cravens rips Snyder

Su’a Cravens wrote on Twitter that he hopes Snyder is held accountable for his actions:

“I can’t wait until this poor excuse for a human being is forced to sell his team! He’s ruined so many careers and made life difficult for so many that did no wrong. Karma really comes full circle. The funds of the wicked will be transferred to the righteous!”

Goodell was explicitly asked if Snyder notified him that a woman accused him of harassment that led to a payment of $1.6 million, and he said, “I don’t recall.”

Goodell affirmed that a failure to notify would violate the NFL personal conduct policy. Goodell was asked multiple questions about why the Beth Wilkinson investigation wasn’t published in a written report, as other workplace investigations, including the Miami Dolphins bullying scandal, were, and he repeatedly cited the privacy of cooperating witnesses. When asked why that was the case when many witnesses have spoken publicly, Goodell didn’t have much of an answer.

Several times, Goodell pointed out that Mary Jo White is currently conducting an investigation into the Commanders, and the findings will be made public.

Past reports regarding Snyder and the team’s conduct

Prior to the hearing, the committee released a report alleging that Snyder conducted a “shadow investigation” about the allegations with the Commanders.

In the 29-page memo, the Oversight Committee cited an eight-month investigation where Snyder investigated whistle-blowers and journalists to determine who were sources for Washington Post articles and sought to blame former team president Bruce Allen for the workplace issues.

The memo noted how Snyder used a common-interest legal agreement from the team and the league to provide “derogatory information” about cooperating sources.

The memo noted how Snyder filed a defamation lawsuit against an India-based website to obtain phone records, emails, and other documents.

“A close examination of Mr. Snyder’s [petitions] suggests that his focus was not on discovering the sources of the MEAWW articles but on those who were behind the Washington Post exposés,” the memo stated. It further added these efforts “may be less of a bona fide effort to obtain evidence supportive of the claims in the Indian Action, than they are an effort to burden and harass individuals formerly associated with the Washington Football Team who may have acted as sources for The Washington Post.”

Committee: Snyder ‘sexualized’ cheerleaders

The committee reached the conclusion that Snyder “sexualized” the cheerleaders and ordered the firing of two cheerleaders for having “romantic relationships” with former tight end Chris Cooley.

“The female employees were fired, the male employee was — there were no repercussions other than he was restricted from additional sex with the cheerleaders,” the deposition stated. “Snyder’s decision was part of a pattern of firing female employees who engaged in consensual sexual relationships with male members of the team’s football operations in order to ‘minimize distractions, temptations for players.’”

Additionally, former personnel executive Alex Santos was fired for sexually harassing female employees and reporters who covered the team. Former Commanders broadcaster and executive Larry Michael was caught on video making inappropriate comments and had been accused of multiple instances of sexual misconduct. He resigned from his job after the Washington Post reported the allegations.

Goodell sees positive changes

Prior to his appearance, Goodell read in its entirety a six-page statement that cited the problems with the Commanders and the improvements he has seen, including new policies and hiring Jason Wright as team president to replace Allen.

“Let me start by expressing my gratitude to the men and women who shared their experiences during the investigation, and to Beth Wilkinson and her team, who did their work with the highest degree of integrity and professionalism,” Goodell said.

“It required substantial courage for many to relive their painful experiences and tell their individual stories. No one should experience workplaces like the one they described, especially not in the National Football League. I can say to every victim unequivocally that their willingness to come forward has contributed to a substantially improved workplace. It is clear to me that the workplace in Washington was unprofessional and unacceptable in numerous respects: bullying, widespread disrespect toward colleagues, use of demeaning language, public embarrassment, and harassment.

“Moreover, for a prolonged period of time the Commanders had a woefully deficient HR function, particularly with respect to reporting practices and recordkeeping. As a result, we imposed unprecedented discipline on the club – monetary penalties of well over $10 million, and requirements that the club implement a series of recommendations and allow an outside firm to conduct regular reviews of their workplace.

“In addition, for the past year, Daniel Snyder has not attended League or committee meetings, and to the best of my knowledge, has not been involved in day-to-day operations at the Commanders. The cheerleader program has been entirely revamped and is now a co-ed dance team under new leadership.

“And the most recent independent workplace report, which we have shared with the committee, confirms that an entirely new, highly-skilled, and diverse management team is in place and that there has been a ‘substantial transformation of [the team’s] culture, leadership, and Human Resources practices.’ To be clear – the workplace at the Commanders today bears no resemblance to the workplace that has been described to this committee.”

As for the confidentiality issues Goodell repeatedly cited, he stated:

“We did not receive a written report of Ms. Wilkinson’s findings for compelling reasons that continue to this day,” Goodell said. “A critical element of any workplace review is broad participation by both current and former employees. Encouraging employees to come forward and share their experiences, which were frequently painful and emotional was essential to identifying both the organization’s failures and how to fix them. To encourage this participation, Ms. Wilkinson promised confidentiality to any current or former employee.

“For this reason, shortly after we assumed oversight of Ms. Wilkinson’s work, we determined that a comprehensive oral briefing would best allow us to receive the information necessary both to evaluate the workplace as it was, and to ensure that the team put in place the policies and processes to reform that workplace — all while preserving the confidentiality of those who participated in the investigation.

“Oral reports are often used by the NFL and other organizations in conducting internal investigations and for other issues. If appropriate, we will make public a summary of the key findings, as we did here. We have been open and direct about the fact that the workplace culture at the Commanders was not only unprofessional, but toxic for far too long.

“I am aware that some victims, including those who appeared before this committee, each of whom was invited to participate in Beth Wilkinson’s investigation, have chosen to share their experiences publicly and I fully respect that choice. Many others made a different choice and it is my responsibility to honor the commitment to protect their confidentiality.”

Several Republican committee members, including James Comer of Kentucky, took issue with Congress investigating the NFL, a private business.

It got heated.

Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) asked Maloney, “What is the purpose of continuing this?” as she banged the gavel calling for order.

His loud reply: “You can bang the gavel all you want, I don’t care.”





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First day of Deshaun Watson disciplinary hearing in Delaware concludes, second day set for Wednesday

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The legal team for Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson made their case before jointly appointed disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson in Delaware on Tuesday during the first day of a disciplinary hearing.

Opening statements began at 9 a.m. ET, and the second day of the proceedings will commence on Wednesday.

Day 1 of Deshaun Watson disciplinary hearing concludes

The hearings are held in Delaware, and it’s unclear how many days it will take, per a source.

Watson, represented by NFL Players Association outside counsel Jeffrey Kessler and Houston-based attorney Rusty Hardin, has been accused of multiple violations of the NFL personal conduct policy after being sued and settling 20 of 24 civil lawsuits with female massage therapists accusing him of sexual misconduct. Watson

The NFL investigation, led by senior vice president and special counsel for investigations Lisa Friel, a former Manhattan, NY chief sex crimes prosecutor, is pushing for an indefinite suspension of at least one year, according to league sources.

Watson’s legal team is requesting no punishment or a much lesser sanction based on precedent, evidence, and the slight consequences for NFL owners Robert Kraft, Jerry Jones, and Daniel Snyder, according to sources.

This marks the first case heard by Robinson, a former U.S. District Judge now practicing law in Delaware, under a new system after the collective bargaining agreement that was amended two years ago.

The three-time Pro Bowl selection and former first-round draft pick from Clemson reached a confidential settlement with 20 of 24 plaintiffs represented by Houston-based attorney Tony Buzbee. Buzbee has subsequently added the Houston Texans, Watson’s former employer, as a defendant, alleging that they “enabled” his “behavior.”

Robinson is expected to issue a ruling in advance of training camp. One source predicted the ruling could come as soon as within one week after the hearing is completed.

The NFL and the players union have previously attempted to strike a compromise on a settlement of a proposed punishment of Watson, who didn’t play last season and was paid his full $10.54 million salary after requesting a trade from the Texans. However, sources emphasized that they never came close to a deal.

The reasoning from the league behind a potential indefinite suspension, as the NFL imposed in the Michael Vick dog fighting scandal and Ray Rice’s domestic violence case, would be to give them flexibility to potentially impose further discipline in case other allegations of misconduct surfaced. Although no DNA, audio, or video evidence exists in the cases, according to multiple sources, the NFL will use text messages, depositions, and interviews to make its argument.

Under NFL rules governing personal conduct policy matters, Watson has the right to appeal to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. The appeal could also be heard by another appointed officer.

When the settlement was reached, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in an email to Pro Football Network that the settlement wouldn’t affect the ongoing league investigation, writing, “Today’s development has no impact on the collectively bargained disciplinary process.”

Plaintiffs’ attorney Tony Buzbee has also filed a lawsuit against the Houston Texans, lawsuit alleging they enabled Watson’s behavior by providing a membership to the Houstonian hotel and spa and giving him a nondisclosure agreement for vendors. The Texans have stated previously they had no knowledge of Watson’s alleged misconduct.

Watson was not charged by two Texas grand juries. He has maintained his innocence throughout the legal process.

“I’ve been honest and I’ve been truthful about my stance and that’s I never forced anyone, I never assaulted anyone,” Watson said during a recent minicamp press conference. “So, that’s what I’ve been saying it from the beginning and I’m going to continue to do that until all the facts come out on the legal side. I have to continue to just go with the process with my legal team and the court of law.”



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Which kicker has scored the most fantasy football points in a single game?

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The role of kickers in fantasy football leagues is becoming much more of a debate, and the recency of our list of the most fantasy football points by a kicker in a single game demonstrates why. With all of the top scores on this list of leading fantasy performances in a single game coming since 2000, it is somewhat clear why the role of kickers is so controversial. With the volatile position able to change a contest, let’s examine which kickers sit among the top 10 for the most fantasy points scored in a single game.

The role of kickers in the NFL and consequently fantasy football has evolved over time. Prior to the merger, kickers were not always specialists and often served other roles. Take George Blanda, for example, who was both a kicker and QB. If we included premerger scores, Blanda would top this list with 36.8 fantasy points. However, the majority of those points would come from his role as a QB.

Therefore, we have set the benchmark for this article at the merger (1970) between the AFL and NFL. That allows us to keep the scoring consistent across the position as well as with the rest of this series of articles. The data for this article comes from Pro Football Reference. The scoring sees 1 point for an extra point, 3 points for field goals, and 2 bonus points for field goals of 50 yards or more.

T-8) Greg Zuerlein | 23 fantasy points

Rams at Cowboys | Week 4 | Oct. 1, 2017

Greg Zuerlein’s reputation as a kicker has earned him the nicknames “Greg the Leg” and “Legatron.” His best performance from a fantasy perspective came in Week 4 of the 2017 season. Zuerlein was a perfect 9 for 9 as he scored seven field goals and kicked two extra points. Zuerlein scored 23 of the Rams’ 35 points as they defeated the Cowboys 35-30.

T-8) Jeff Wilkins | 23 fantasy points

Rams vs. Chargers | Week 5 | Oct. 1, 2000

The oldest performance on this list also makes it back-to-back appearances from Rams players. Wilkins spent 11 years with the Rams and played 171 games, but his best performance came in 2000. Wilkins’ performance was more balanced than Zuerlein’s as he kicked five field goals and six extra points. One of those field goals was also over 50 yards.

T-8) Blair Walsh | 23 fantasy points

Vikings vs. Giants | Week 16 | Dec. 27, 2015

Unlike Wilkins and Zuerlein, Blair Walsh was not perfect in this 2015 performance. However, with five field goals and going 4 of 5 on extra points, he also posted 23 fantasy points. Despite just nine kicks, two were from more than 50 yards, giving Walsh 23 points and having him tie for eighth on this list of the most fantasy points by a kicker in a single game.

T-8) Jason Sanders | 23 fantasy points

Dolphins at Jets | Week 14 | Dec. 8, 2019

This performance on the list has a very different look to it. Jason Sanders scored all 21 points for the Dolphins in this game as he made 7 of 8 attempts. Included in that was a 53-yard field goal to give him 23 fantasy points for the game.

T-6) Blair Walsh | 24 fantasy points

Vikings at Rams | Week 15 | Dec. 16, 2012

Walsh makes his second appearance on our list of the most fantasy points by a kicker in a single game. In this game, Walsh kicked three extra points and five field goals for 18 of the Vikings’ 36 points. With three field goals of 50 or more, Walsh finished the game with 24 fantasy points.

T-6) Jason Myers | 24 fantasy points

Jets vs. Colts | Week 6 | Oct. 14, 2018

Jason Myers kicked a combined 10 field goals and extra points as the Jets prevailed 42-34 over the Colts. Myers had three extra points and seven field goals to score a total of 24 fantasy points.

T-3) Cairo Santos | 25 fantasy points

Chiefs at Bengals | Week 4 | Oct. 4, 2015

In a game where the Bengals’ defense blunted the Chiefs’ offense, Cairo Santos provided all of the scoring for Kansas City. Santos kicked seven field goals, two from more than 50 yards, to finish with 25 fantasy points in this Week 4 contest.

T-3) Stephen Gostkowski | 25 fantasy points

Titans at Vikings | Week 3 | Sept. 27, 2020

Stephen Gostkowski is best known for his time with the New England Patriots. However, his appearance on this list of the most fantasy points by a kicker in a single game came while he played for the Titans. Gostkowski had one extra point and six field goals as the Titans won 31-30. Three of those field goals were from over 50 yards to leave Gostkowski with 25 fantasy points.

T-3) Billy Cundiff | 25 fantasy points

Cowboys at Giants | Week 2 | Sept. 15, 2003

Billy Cundiff was a key contributor in the Dallas Cowboys’ 35-32 victory over the New York Giants. He kicked two extra points and went 7 for 8 on field goals in a fantastic performance. One of those field goals came as time expired in the fourth quarter to tie the game before another in overtime won the game for Dallas. Cundiff’s game-tying field goal was a 52-yarder, giving him 25 fantasy points.

2) Jay Feely | 27.5 fantasy points

Cardinals vs. Broncos | Week 14 | Dec. 12, 2010

Jay Feely finds himself second on the list of the most fantasy points by a kicker in a single game thanks to being the only player on the list to score some of his points by finding the end zone. Feely actually scored six consecutive times in this game against the Broncos.

Five of them were field goals, with a five-yard rush and subsequent extra point in the middle. Feely would kick another three extra points as the Cardinals ran out 43-13 victors. He finished with five field goals, four extra points, five rushing yards, and a rushing touchdown for 27.5 fantasy points.

Which kicker has scored the most fantasy points in a single game?

1) Rob Bironas | 28 fantasy points

Titans at Texans | Week 7 | Oct. 21, 2007

Rob Bironas is the kicker that tops our list with the most fantasy points in a single game. The performance came in a 38-36 victory for the Titans over the Texans, with Bironas kicking a game-winning field goal as time expired. Bironas would kick a total of eight field goals — two of more than 50 yards — and two extra points. He finishes atop this list with 28 fantasy points in Week 7 of the 2007 season.



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Why Commanders WR Terry McLaurin’s three-year contract extension stands out

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The financial windfall for elite wide receivers continues to unfold. The Washington Commanders struck a three-year, $71 million contract extension with wide receiver Terry McLaurin, according to league sources. The contract was negotiated by agents Buddy Baker and Tony Bonagura of Exclusive Sports along with Commanders executive Rob Rogers.

Terry McLaurin, Commanders agree to three-year extension

Per a source, 76% of McLaurin’s deal is guaranteed at signing, including a $28 million signing bonus.

McLaurin is one of the top young wide receivers in the NFL. The Commanders standout skipped minicamp after previously choosing to not attend voluntary organized team activities.

Heading into the final year of his rookie contract, McLaurin was originally due a $2.79 million base salary. Now, he’s netted a huge payday.

McLaurin has done everything the Commanders could have hoped for. Head coach Ron Rivera told reporters at minicamp he understands what the former Ohio State standout is doing and expressed confidence that something would ultimately be worked out.

Now, it has.

McLaurin had 1,053 yards and five touchdowns last season on 77 receptions. He’s incredibly valuable to an offense that’s hoping to revive the career of quarterback Carson Wentz.

This is an extremely positive development for the NFC East franchise. They’ve rewarded one of their top young players and established that they will take care of their homegrown players when they’ve earned a new deal.

This is regarded as a true win-win. The Commanders avoided drama with McLaurin and have taken care of business.



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