Live

Watch CBSN Live

Former Washington Football Team employees call on NFL sponsors to pressure league to release investigation findings

NFL won't release more from WFT investigation
NFL won't release more from WFT investigation... 04:06

The NFL is under fire. The league has reportedly found no other current team or league personnel to have sent emails containing racist, homophobic or misogynistic language other than an exchange of emails between former Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden and then-Washington Football Team president Bruce Allen.

Gruden quit this week over a series of offensive emails that were uncovered during the league's investigation of alleged misconduct by officials of the Washington Football Team. The NFL has refused to release a final report on that investigation.

Critics say the league is hiding other evidence of bias and bad behavior. 

Emily Applegate said she continues to live with the trauma she suffered while working as a marketing coordinator with the Washington Football Team a half-decade ago. 

"It's like day three and my immediate boss, who is the CMO, was already saying things to me about the way I looked, my appearance and then it just snowballed. He would take pictures of me on his phone which I didn't know all the time," Applegate told CBS News' Dana Jacobson. 

Applegate was one of the first women to speak out about Washington's workplace culture. An ensuing league investigation concluded the team had a toxic culture rife with sexual harassment. But after more than 100 interviews and 650,000 emails obtained, no formal written report was released. The only major punishment: a $10 million fine for team owner Daniel Snyder.

"It's completely re-victimizing," Applegate said. "It's telling us that everything that we went through, every personal detail that we shared, was not important enough to make any kind of change."

But Applegate hasn't given up. This week, she and nine other former Washington employees turned to the NFL's biggest sponsors, calling on them to pressure the league to release the findings of the investigation to the public. 

"When you have a sponsor paying you millions of dollars and they're telling you, you know what we want to see this, too, that's going to do the most damage," said Applegate. 

In the letter to sponsors, the group wrote, "The consequence of Mr. Goodell's decisions around this investigation, and the lack of any meaningful action against Dan Snyder, is to tell women and survivors everywhere: 'You and your experiences do not matter to the NFL'..." 

CBS News reached out to the six major NFL sponsors mentioned in the letter but have not heard back. 

Jacobson asked Amy Trask, who was the first female CEO in the league and is now an NFL analyst for CBS Sports, if going to the sponsors and trying to apply pressure is a smart way to try to incentivize the NFL or force their hand.

"It's a tried and true method, so I'm not surprised that they are doing it, but I don't know if it will work," Trask said. 

But for Applegate, the fight extends far beyond the NFL.  

"This isn't just a sports issue, this is an issue throughout any industry. In order for us to make a great change, why not start with one of the most recognized organizations in the world," said Applegate. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.