Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) during a congressional hearing on the Washington Commanders’ workplace misconduct allegations asked NFL commissioner Roger Goodell about Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy and Commanders coach Jack Del Rio.
During the questionnaire part of Wednesday’s hearing, Jordan asked Goodell why he banned Portnoy from attending NFL games, noting that the Barstool Sports CEO and founder is a sports journalist.
The BigLead.com reported that Portnoy and his company were banned from attending NFL games in 2015 after Barstool publicly called out Goodell for his response to the “Deflategate” controversy surrounding then-New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
“You believe in the First Amendment, don’t you?” Jordan asked Goodell.
“Yes, Congressman,” Goodell replied.
“Why do you ban Dave Portnoy from NFL games? He’s a journalist. In fact, he’s a sports journalist,” Jordan asked. “Why is he banned?”
“Congressman, I’m not familiar with that issue,” Goodell replied to Jordan. “I’m happy to check with my staff, but I’m unaware of that.”
Jordan then mentioned that Portnoy, whom multiple women have accused of sexual assault, is an established journalist who interviewed former President Trump, saying, “Seems to me, [if you] can get into the White House, you should be able to get into a football game.”
The lawmaker also asked Goodell if the Commanders were right to fine Del Rio $100,000 for his remarks on the Jan 6, 2021, attack at the Capitol, in which he referred to the deadly insurrection as a “dust-up” and compared the riot to the nationwide protests against police brutality that took place in 2020 after George Floyd’s death.
“Do you agree with the Washington Redskins decision to find Jack Del Rio $100,000?” Jordan asked Goodell, referring to the Commanders’ previous moniker.
“That was a decision that was made by coach Rivera,” Goodell replied, referring to Commanders’ head coach Ron Rivera. “Again, as I stated earlier, they are responsible for monitoring and managing their own workplace. He made that decision on his own.”
Goodell and Jordan continued to go back and forth on the matter, with Goodell mentioning that Rivera “took a lot of factors into consideration” for disciplinary action for Del Rio’s remarks.
Jordan’s questions came as Goodell testified before the House Oversight and Reform Committee about the Commanders’ workplace misconduct allegations, telling the panel in his opening statement that the team and owner Dan Snyder had an “unacceptable” workplace culture, but that it has since been addressed.
“It is clear to me that the workplace in Washington was unprofessional and unacceptable in numerous respects: bullying, widespread disrespect toward colleagues, use of demeaning language, public embarrassment, and harassment,” Goodell told the committee, adding that the team has made changes in the years past and the league took disciplinary action against Snyder, as well.
Committee Chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) also announced her intent to issue a subpoena toward Snyder, who last week declined the panel’s invitation to testify on the matter.
The committee launched its investigation into the Washington, D.C.-based NFL franchise last year. The NFL launched a second investigation into the team earlier this year after a former cheerleader and team employee Tiffani Johnston testified at the roundtable hearing that Snyder sexually harassed her during a work-related dinner.
The Hill has reached out to Jordan’s office for comment.
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