Tuesday October 3, 2023

Lawyers Ask Congress to Remove Commanders Cheerleader Photos

  • Letter went to the GOP side of House Oversight Committee, days after its memo was released.
  • The memo from GOP minority of committee included several images of cheerleaders.
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About an hour before the House Oversight Committee’s Democrat majority released the final report on its Washington Commanders investigation on Thursday, the Republican side of the Congressional body served up its prebuttal. 

The memo also contained several cheerleaders images extracted from former Commanders executive Bruce Allen’s email account. Most were Commanders cheerleaders whose faces were obscured in an attempt to hide their identities. 

Debra Katz and Lisa Banks, who represent more than 40 former Commanders employees, called for photographs “be removed at once from Congressional servers, websites, and if applicable, the Congressional record” in a letter to current ranking member Rep. James Comer (R-Kentucky) obtained by Front Office Sports on Tuesday. 

“These photographs, which show women’s breasts, buttocks, and genital areas, were apparently disseminated to advance team owner Daniel Snyder’s persistent but discredited narrative that Bruce Allen, and not Mr. Snyder, was responsible for the sexually hostile and misogynistic team culture,”  Katz and Banks wrote. 

“Our clients are both humiliated and incensed by the GOP’s reckless dissemination of these photographs in an official Congressional document. They also feel retaliated against by Republican Committee members who have apparently chosen to embarrass them publicly for coming forward. There was simply no legitimate reason for GOP members to have done this, and it has caused our clients additional and unnecessary pain”

In response to the letter, the a Republican aide for the Oversight Committee released the following statement:

“From the start, Democrats cherry-picked facts to support their fabricated narrative rather than conduct a fulsome investigation. Republicans issued an internal memo that included information showing that there is more evidence to be considered. Prior to circulating the internal memo, committee staff took steps to ensure all sensitive images involving cheerleaders were redacted and their identities kept confidential. As we have said from the beginning, the Oversight Committee is not the proper venue for this investigation. Oversight Republicans intend to return the Committee to its primary responsibilities of rooting out waste, fraud, and abuse in the federal government.”

Melanie Coburn, a former Commanders cheerleader and marketing director told FOS that despite GOP staff’s redaction attempts, the women in the photos were easy to identify. 

“They are devastated,” said Coburn, who has been among the most vocal critics of the franchise’s workplace issues. “They feel victimized again. It’s like bonkers to me that people in Congress would do this because it feels like it’s creeping up on revenge porn.”

In the memo, the Republican Oversight Committee staff again took issue with the majority’s probe. The memo stated that Allen’s conduct in which the GOP side of the committee wrote the Oversight Committee’s investigation honed in on Snyder as top executives like Allen escaped scrutiny. 

“These emails show that under Allen’s leadership, there was a toxic workplace—one that has since been reformed based on independent third-party reviews of the team’s culture,” the memo stated.

Comer will take over as chair of the Oversight Committee when the House changes to GOP control next month.

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“They are only interested in collecting enough accusations to launch a public pressure campaign to remove Daniel Snyder as team owner,” the memo read. “Committee Democrats’ behavior throughout this investigation shows their objectives are purely political.”

The GOP memo also shared more homophobic, racist, and misogynistic emails from Allen’s team email account in exchanges with ReliaQuest Bowl President and CEO Jim McVay, Jon Gruden,  Hooters co-founder Ed Droste and others. 

The men were also on email chains where the cheerleader photos were shared. 

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