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NFL facing new investigation into workplace discrimination from AGs of California, New York

The NFL is now being investigated by the Attorneys General of two of the largest U.S. states.

Attorneys General Letitia James of New York and Rob Bonta of California announced Thursday that they are starting a joint investigation into allegations of workplace discrimination at the NFL. They've already issued a subpoena to the NFL, asking them to turn over all relevant information.

“No person should ever have to endure harassment, discrimination, or abuse in the workplace,” James said in a press release. “No matter how powerful or influential, no institution is above the law, and we will ensure the NFL is held accountable.”

“California will not tolerate any form of discrimination,” Bonta added. “We have serious concerns about the NFL’s role in creating an extremely hostile and detrimental work environment. No company is too big or popular to avoid being held responsible for their actions.”

The NFL intends to fully cooperate with the investigation, the league said in a statement via the New York Times, adding “these allegations are entirely inconsistent with the N.F.L.’s values and practices."

“Our policies are intended not only to comply with all applicable laws but to foster a workplace free from harassment, intimidation and discrimination,” the statement said.

The NFL, including commissioner Roger Goodell, is being investigated for workplace discrimination by the New York and California AGs. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
The NFL, including commissioner Roger Goodell, is being investigated for workplace discrimination by the New York and California AGs. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

NFL facing intense scrutiny over recent lawsuits

James and Bonta cited a Feb. 2022 New York Times article about workplace discrimination at the NFL itself, in which over 30 former female employees alleged they had been treated unfairly by the league due to their gender and sometimes their race as well. The allegations ranged from the denial of raises and promotions to inappropriate and aggressive physical contact in the workplace, and at least one Black woman was offered an "exit package" from the NFL after she told HR she felt her supervisor was biased.

But James and Bonta also mentioned other lawsuits. One was a suit brought by former NFL Enterprises executive Jennifer Love, who helped develop and launch NFL Network in the early 2000s and in 2010 became the first female vice president at NFL Media Group. She alleges she experienced age and gender discrimination from her colleagues and higher-ups as well as a hostile work environment, specifically mentioning two of her male VP colleagues who allegedly wouldn't speak to her or even acknowledge her presence. Other suits brought up in the press release involve female employees who were allegedly sexually harassed or experienced targeted racial discrimination at work.

And beyond those suits, the NFL and several other teams have been sued by former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores and several other Black NFL coaches, alleging racial discrimination in hiring practices. They were investigated by Congress alongside Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder regarding a shocking number of sexual harassment and workplace discrimination claims.

The NFL has around 1,100 employees spread across offices in California, New York, and New Jersey. As of 2022, approximately 37% were women and 30% were people of color.