Another NFL owner is in trouble — this time for the alleged remarks he made as the United States ambassador to the United Kingdom under President Donald Trump.
CNN reports that Woody Johnson, who co-owns the New York Jets with his brother Christopher, prompted an investigation by a State Department watchdog for allegedly making racist and sexist comments to staff members while in his diplomatic role. He also is being investigated for misusing his government position to help the president’s personal business, including pushing to move the British Open major golf tournament to a Trump resort in Scotland.
Johnson allegedly made racist generalizations about Black men. His sexist remarks were tied to talking about how women looked and dressed.
Johnson has served as UK ambassador for nearly three years, since August 2017. When CNN asked him about the allegations, Johnson didn’t deny them, and concluded with an overarching statement about his service.
“I greatly value the extraordinary work that each and every member of the team does to strengthen and deepen our vital alliance,” he told CNN.
Per CNN’s sources, here’s a more detailed account of Johnson’s alleged racism and sexism:
— Being agitated about a Black History Month event in February 2018, to the point of questioning why Black leaders needed a separate month to celebrate Black history
— Arguing that Black fathers not remaining with their families was the “real challenge”
— Holding official embassy gatherings at old men-only London clubs, excluding female diplomats
— Talking about how many pretty women were present at public events
— Preferring female employees because they were cheaper and worked harder
— Being agitated about “a feminist event” for International Women’s Day
After the Washington Post report last week that detailed sexual harassment accusations in the Washington NFL organization under Daniel Snyder and with the league starting to better embrace social justice initiatives to fight systemic racism this offseason, this isn’t a good look.
Since taking the ambassadorship, it’s notable that Woody Johnson removed himself from the Jets’ operations, with Christopher Johnson, the minority owner, now overseeing the organization as both the Jets’ chairman and CEO. But the NFL, as it should, is still paying close watch on what comes of the State Department probe.
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