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Former WFT lawyer sued NFL investigator to get documents destroyed

A former lawyer for the Washington Football Team "refused to be interviewed for the NFL’s probe into harassment at the organization," and he "sued the league’s lead investigator in an attempt to force her to destroy documents related to a sexual misconduct allegation against owner Daniel Snyder," according to Will Hobson of the WASHINGTON POST. The disclosure of court documents yesterday appeared to "bring to an end a months-long legal battle between the team and Beth Wilkinson, the lawyer who led the NFL investigation." The legal fight "appeared to end in a victory for the team," as several documents Wilkinson had attempted to file publicly last year were released yesterday "heavily, and in some cases entirely, redacted." The documents were filed in federal court in Alexandria as part of a "lawsuit filed -- and then dismissed -- in November" by former team general counsel David Donovan in an "effort to prevent Wilkinson from sharing information relating to the allegation by a former female employee of the team." Donovan "oversaw the investigation of the allegation" in '09, according to court documents and sources, and the team paid the former employee $1.6M as part of a "confidential settlement agreement." The alleged incident "occurred on Snyder’s private plane." Court records show that after Donovan dismissed the case in November, Wilkinson "attempted to publicly file several documents relating to her investigation." In December, the team’s lawyers "intervened to prevent their release"  (WASHINGTON POST, 9/9).

FAMILIAR NARRATIVE: In Richmond, Michael Phillips notes new WFT co-CEO Tanya Snyder on Tuesday made her first public comments in a podcast with ESPN’s Adam Schefter, but given the "opportunity to acknowledge the 42 women" involved in sexual misconduct cases against the team, Snyder kept the focus on herself and her family." To "suggest that Tanya and Dan are the same person is grossly unfair to both." Tanya "deserves commendation for starting the NFL’s 'think pink' breast cancer awareness campaign," and pinning the "worst of the last two decades on her is unfair." But in her attempt to turn the page, she "continued the family tradition of overlooking why the page needs turning in the first place." The Snyders have "done little to demonstrate they are the right people to steward Washington’s NFL team, on or off the field," only that they "possess the legal firepower to make sure they retain ownership." If she can implement change in the organization, it will "greatly benefit the city and the fan base." But Tuesday’s appearance, "glossing over the plight of the 42 women who alleged sexual harassment," shows that the family "still has trouble identifying the real victims" (RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH, 9/9).

KEEP THE PLACEHOLDER? SI.com's Robin Lundberg wrote there is "no need for a name change, just keep it the Washington Football Team." It is "unique and sounds prestigious." Lundberg: "I feel important whenever I say it. Which is a lot better than can be said for the previous moniker." Not to mention it "allows them to keep the same color scheme while in a sense maintaining a nod to their history." The only other name Lundberg would "even be remotely cool with is Red Wolves." If Washington Football Team "wasn’t a strong candidate," it "wouldn’t still be in the running" (SI.com, 9/8).

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