NFL intervenes in Washington ownership litigation

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The NFL prefers not to air out dirty laundry in public. Now that Dan Snyder’s soiled sweatshirt is flapping in the breeze, the league is getting involved.

Daniel Kaplan of TheAthletic.com reports that the league officially has intervened in the lawsuit filed by Washington’s minority owners regarding Snyder’s effort to selectively exercise his right of first refusal. The three shareholders — Fred Smith, Robert Rothman, and Dwight Schar — want to sell their interest (roughly 40 percent) in bulk. Snyder wants to match the offer as to Smith and Rothman, but not as to Schar.

Although, as Kaplan notes, the league has not yet filed any paperwork explaining the basis for its intervention in the case, it’s likely that the league will argue that all such disputes must be resolved through the league’s internal procedures.

Smith, Rothman, and Schar surely assume that they’ll get a better resolution before a truly neutral party, and not from the Commissioner or his designee or whatever specific protocol that league rules require in order to stack the deck in favor of whatever outcome the league would prefer.

It’s the latest development in a wide-ranging docket of litigation sparked by the squabbles between Snyder and his minority shareholders.