The Washington Football Team and “scandal” seem to go together. In fact, the ABC hit series starring Kerry Washington is based in Washington, D.C.
Since owner Daniel Snyder purchased this football team in 1999, there’s been an over-abundance of scandals, PR disasters and allegations.
In many ways the team formerly known as the Redskins has become the poster franchise for out of touch and culturally oblivious ownership. If not for the superhuman performances of former PR head Tony Wyllie, the backlash against Syder’s ownership of the Redskins would probably be irreversible.
The two scandals that have emerged in the past two seasons take the cake.
In another blow to the integrity of the franchise, current team trainer Ryan Vermillion is under investigation for illegally distributing prescription drugs.
— Michael Ray Vines (@RedskinYankee) October 5, 2021
Two weeks ago federal agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) raided the WFT training facility in Ashburn. They then raided Vermillion’s home located not too far from the team’s training facility.
Vermillion was immediately placed on administrative leave and did not accompany the team to Atlanta this past Sunday. Head coach Ron Rivera has this to say about the situation:
“That’s what we’re trying to correct, that’s what we’re trying to fix, but for whatever reason, we just keep getting drawn back into things.”
Cheerleader Scandals & Sexual Harrasment
In 2020, a scathing report of the culture toward women depicted the team in a troubling light as over 40 women who were former employees of the franchise claimed they had been sexually harassed and discriminated against by players, team execs and even co-workers since 2006.
Snyder was fined $10 million (chump change to a billionaire) and he also voluntarily stepped away from the franchise’s day-to-day operation. His wife Tanya is now handling those duties, which for all intents and purposes means Snyder is still pulling the strings.
From cheerleader scandals to signing players accused of domestic abuse to alleged misogyny and sexual harrassment in the workplace to Synder’s refusal to change the racist team name until he was basically forced to do it, WFT has earned itself a low standing when it comes to public perception.
The fact that the franchise hasn’t been to a Super Bowl since 1992 doesn’t help either.
Since Snyder’s been the controlling owner he’s made some really outlandish decisions. He hried college coach Steve Spurrier and signed overrrated Albert Haynesworth to a $100 million contract. Who can forget him charging fans to see training camp or firing head coach Marty Schottenheimer over control?
Maybe he thought he could buy a Super Bowl when he signed past-their-prime Deion Sanders, Bruce Smith, and Jeff George. Snyder has made myriad terrible decisions since he purchased this once proud franchise who is now the butt of many jokes.
More Culture Failures
Vermillion is a trainer, so by law it’s illegal for him to distribute prescription drugs of any kind; only team doctors can distribute those.
Prior to joining the WFT Vermillion was employed by the Panthers for 18 seasons, including nine (2011-19) under current WFT head coach Ron Rivera. Rivera hired him in D.C., as he’s done so many other former Panthers colleagues, in an attempt to change the rotten culture that had become the WFT under the aforementioned Snyder.
This situation is still pretty fluid, but on Saturday the team also placed its assistant trainer Doug Quon on administrative leave as well.
The team has brought back longtime trainer Bubba Tyer, who retired in 2009. Tyer spent 37 years on the medical staff, with 25 coming as the head athletic trainer. Nearly half of his time was under Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs (1981-92 and 2004-2007).