Redwood and other women who advised the N.F.L. said that the league reacted fastest when it perceived that it had an image problem or was under financial pressure, and since few sponsors walked away from the league after the Rice case, organizational reform has been slow.
“As long as they generate revenue, why bother to change?” Redwood said.
The team in Washington has hired the law firm Wilkinson Walsh to review the claims of the women who told The Washington Post that they were sexually harassed while employed by the team. Snyder, the team’s owner, said on Friday in a statement that the behavior described in the article published Thursday “has no place in our franchise or society.”
“This story has strengthened my commitment to setting a new culture and standard for our team, a process that began with the hiring of Coach Rivera earlier this year,” he said in the statement, referring to Ron Rivera, who was hired in December 2019.
The league, in a statement, said the allegations “are serious, disturbing and contrary to the N.F.L.’s values.”
Sunu P. Chandy, the legal director for the National Women’s Law Center, said league and team leaders should immediately re-evaluate and change how they run their male-dominated workplaces, including by installing multiple mechanisms to report harassment and abuse so that every employee can be comfortable at work every day.
“If I was in charge of the N.F.L., I would be asking myself, ‘What kind of culture are we creating here with any team affiliated with us?’” she said, adding that leaders can, and should, decide to be a force for good and not just remain complacent.
One of the hurdles to changing behavior in the N.F.L. is the structure of the league itself. Like most sports leagues, the N.F.L. is essentially a trade organization with 32 franchises across the United States. It has control over some functions, like negotiating broadcast contracts and labor agreements, and it handles marketing and the scheduling of games, but each team is run as its own business entity.