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Sources: Redskins executive Dennis Greene resigns

May 31, 2018 - 9:38 am
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By Craig Hoffman

Redskins executive Dennis Greene has resigned, 106.7 The Fan has learned.

Greene was the Redskins President of Business Operations until the hiring of Brian Lafemina two weeks ago. Lafemina assumed both the COO and President of Business Operations titles. In response to an inquiry at the time, a team spokesman said Greene was still with the organization.

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Though it was never publicly announced, Greene was listed as the President of Hospitality on the Redskins official website as early as Thursday morning. The move was made before the publication of a new New York Times story Thursday morning that includes unflattering details about Greene’s involvement with the Redskins Ambassador Cheerleader program.

Greene joined the Redskins organization in 2001 as a Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. He worked for multiple Fortune 500 companies before joining the organization. He was also a board member for Dick Clark Productions until 2012.

The New York Times named Greene as one of two executives in Costa Rica who attended a nightclub with sponsors and nine Redskins cheerleaders, some of which told The Times they felt like escorts. The cheerleaders also told The Times they were uncomfortable that Greene and former Redskins executive Lon Rosenberg were present at the nightclub, but cheerleading director Stephanie Jojokian was not. It is unclear at this time if Greene was removed directly as a result of the investigation into the Costa Rica allegations or for other reasons.

In light of the recent allegations made to The Times, The Fan reviewed its own suite holder contract that it held with the Redskins from 2010-2012. The agreement was between CBS Radio and the team. The Fan, which is now owned by Entercom, was owned by CBS at the time.

Visits by "Ambassador Cheerleaders" are on the first page of the document. Visits from the ambassadors during games are listed as the fourth item the station would receive behind tickets, guest passes and parking passes. The clause, listed as (d), under "Other Benefits" on page 1 of the agreement, reads as follows:

d.     Ambassador Cheerleader Visits: Licensee shall receive a Redskins Ambassador Cheerleader suite visit during each Washington Redskins home game during the term of this Agreement.

Ambassador Cheerleaders are not a part of the actual cheer squad, but are defined on the Redskins website as follows:

The Washington Redskins Cheerleader Ambassadors consist of ladies from all over the country and are an extension of the Redskins Cheerleaders.

Selected during the Redskins Cheerleaders auditions process every April, the Ambassadors' main focus is interacting with fans during all Redskins home games at FedExField.

While the Redskins Cheerleaders captivate fans with energetic dance routines, the Ambassadors are in the Bud Light Party Pavilion, Touchdown Club and Suites--and even in the stands--bringing a personal, up-close interaction with fans.

The other benefits listed on the agreement are access to other suite holder events, such as chalk talks and an annual golf tournament, FedEx Field events and a Super Bowl trip.

Multiple sources familiar with the purchasing process for suite holder agreements say that the team offered options in regards to "added value" along with the suites, as present in the CBS Radio contract. For instance, Willie Teel -- the suite holder mentioned in the original New York Times story -- got to go on the calendar shoot trip as part of his agreement.

Added value is standard in suite contracts around the league. It is not known how many teams offer access to cheerleaders and in what ways, however a new New York Times story published Thursday morning names at least four teams that have similar groups to the Redskins Ambassador Cheerleaders. The Times names the Patriots, Saints and Texans along with the Redskins.

In the terms and conditions portion of the The Fan’s suites contract, there is a "conduct" clause. The clause says that the suite holder is responsible for any behavior in the suite, including by their guests. There are no specific clauses in relation to the cheerleaders and conduct. Any inappropriate conduct by a fan towards a cheerleader could be taken care of under the conduct clause at the explicit discretion of stadium staff. One former team employee told The Washington Post they have witnessed a fan get ejected for kissing a cheerleader on the cheek.

Presumably, this would also be true at team sponsored tailgate parties, where one ambassador told The Times intoxicated men would grab them and hug them, and make inappropriate comments. Another ambassador said she would use a fake name when signing autographs because she wanted the interaction to end as quickly as possible.

However, per The Times' reporting, it was actually Greene, not fans, who drew the most consistent fear. From the article:

One of the worst parts of the day was the morning inspection.

Dennis Greene was head of business operations for the Redskins from 2007 until several weeks ago, when he was replaced by a new hire, but he is still in charge of hospitality and suites. He is ultimately in charge of the ambassador program, and his job is to sell suites and keep the suite-holders happy. He would have the ambassadors line up so he could examine them and choose two to accompany him to suites during the game.

“He would look each of us up and down and say, I want that one and that one, and everyone hated when you got selected for that,” a former ambassador said of the lineups that occurred just a few years ago. “It was humiliating, like we were cattle.”

In the aftermath of the initial article, multiple cheerleaders spoke out to defend the team, and particularly cheer director Stephanie Jojokian. Stephanie Dettmar, a captain on the 2013 team, wrote the following on Facebook:

As a former captain, I am deeply saddened and disheartened by the idea that women with whom I was on the team with did not feel comfortable expressing their concerns until now. Stephanie appoints captains, co-captains and sideline assistants for the very purpose of creating layers of leadership and influence to: 1) lead by example 2) ensure everyone on the team felt supported, cared for, and heard, and 3) help drive continuous improvements on the team.

Current and former cheerleaders, as well as additional people around the team, including the body paint artist who worked with the women on multiple shoots -- including the 2013 trip to Costa Rica -- have used the hashtag #ImWithJoJo on social media to show their support for Jojokian. The above post (and others) seem to suggest there was effort to protect the women on the team, and that Jojokian did rebuff ideas involving the cheerleaders at times. While these accounts are public through social media, The Fan has not spoken with any of the five women who came forward to The Times.

What remains unclear is the power structure above Jojokian, and how those people treated and viewed the cheer squad, from leveraging them for suite sales to asking them to work at rates that might not comply with U.S. labor laws based on hourly rates.

Per The Times, Greene was in charge of the ambassador program. He is no longer with the organization. A follow up question on the future of the ambassador program, as well as the status of the ongoing investigation, had not been returned by a Redskins spokesperson at the time of publication.

The Redskins put out multiple statements on the matter after the first New York Times article. First was a statement to The Times that ran in the original reporting. When The Fan submitted a series of follow up questions, the team referred to that statement.

Two days later the team released an additional statement from team president Bruce Allen. The statement said they were investigating the matter of the 2013 trip and are taking the matter seriously despite multiple firsthand accounts that contradict the details.

The team also helped facilitate an appearance by two former cheer captains who were on the team in 2013. The two women, Rachel Gill and Charo Bishop, asked to speak out, and the team connected them with NBC News and helped arrange their travel to New York to appear on Today. Anchor Savannah Guthrie mischaracterized this arrangement at the beginning of the segment with the former captains, saying the team asked them to speak out.

No ambassadors have spoken on the record outside of the unnamed women who spoke to The Times. This story will be updated as new information becomes available.

Follow Redskins reporter Craig Hoffman on Twitter