Oversight Committee hearing is no vacation for Commanders owner Daniel Snyder

The alarm bells were loud enough to be heard all the way in France.

Daniel Snyder might have thought he’d outsmarted the Congressional Committee on Oversight and Reform with his fortuitously timed vacation, confident that Roger Goodell’s experience as a human shield for NFL owners and Washington’s inability to resist grandstanding and hysteria would prevent anything meaningful from coming out of Wednesday’s hearing. But amidst the clown-show moments, of which there were plenty during the 2½-hour hearing, there were indications that Snyder-and the NFL-face serious trouble, and his days of dodging accountability might be over.

“A cover-up on behalf of a powerful owner,” committee chair Carolyn Maloney said, “should matter to all of us.”

Snyder’s first problem is that Maloney doesn’t really care if the Washington Commanders’ owner agrees that his team’s toxic workplace is the business of the committee or whether he wants to meet with its members. He’s going to have to, because Maloney announced during the hearing that she will issue a subpoena compelling him to testify next week.

Commanders owner Daniel Snyder

That means Snyder will have to answer, under oath, questions about the sexual assault allegations raised against him in 2009 and the $ 1.6 million he paid to make them go away. About the misogynistic behavior he tolerated, and several have said he enabled, for years. About his efforts to intimidate former employees and subvert the NFL’s investigation. About his “exile” from his team’s operations.

Among other things.

Whatever Snyder says is all but assured of becoming public, which carries the risk of legal exposure for him as well as the certainty of embarrassment for the NFL. He could plead the Fifth but that will, impossible as it might seem, only make him look worse.

It has always been a mystery to me why Goodell and the NFL have fought so hard to protect Snyder, who has been nothing but trouble for the league. Nothing that Goodell said or was revealed in the hearing did anything to clear that up.

Goodell acknowledged that he “did not recall” Snyder telling the NFL in 2009 that he was the subject of a sexual assault and harassment complaint by a former Commanders employee. That was in direct violation of the NFL’s personal conduct policy which, as of 2008, required players, coaches and team executives to alert the league to such allegations.

Follow USA TODAY Sports columnist Nancy Armor on Twitter @nrarmour.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Daniel Snyder has ducked accountability long enough

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