Report: Washington paid $1.6 million to settle a sexual misconduct accusation against Daniel Snyder

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Washington owner Daniel Snyder remains determined to keep control of the franchise he purchased in 1999. That objective could become more challenging in the aftermath of the latest item from the Washington Post.

Will Hobson, Beth Reinhard, and Liz Clarke of the Post report that the Washington Football Team paid $1.6 million in 2009 to settle an allegation of sexual misconduct against Snyder. The payment was made to a female former employee of the team. The alleged incident occurred on Snyder’s private plane, while flying back from the Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas.

The settlement contained a confidentiality clause, a standard term whenever a deal of this nature is reached. The entity resolving the claims against it (individual or business) pays in part for legal certainty, and in part for silence. Whether the goal is to avoid public embarrassment and/or private entanglements or to simply prevent other disgruntled former employees from buying a ticket to what many corporate concerns regard as a lawsuit lottery, those who pay the money routinely request confidentiality — and those who receive the money routinely agree to it.

Thus, as a threshold matter, the disclosure of this incident undermines the arm’s-length transaction in which Snyder’s lawyers and the former employee’s lawyers engaged. The former employee, with the benefit of counsel, accepted the payment and in turn waived the right to take the case to court, where it would have become inherently and conspicuously public. The former employee, through her lawyers, agreed that the facts would not come to light as one of the terms of the payment received. The fact that someone breached the agreement, even if it was made 11 years ago, creates an obvious problem that should not be glossed over by media outlets that have a clear interest in reporting on things that otherwise would not be known.

As a reporter and the owner/operator of a football news organization, my default position becomes “more information is better.” As a former lawyer who negotiated confidential settlement agreements on both sides of the “v”, my default position always has been, “A deal is a deal.” If the person who agreed to keep the payment confidential wanted to publicize the incident, the person shouldn’t have accepted the money and instead should have filed a lawsuit and/or spoken to a reporter and/or held a press conference. Once the paperwork is signed, the commitment is made to not say anything to anyone, ever.

In this case, it’s possible that the leak doesn’t trace to the person who received the payment in exchange for a commitment to confidentiality. It’s possible someone who was or who still is connected to the organization blabbed. Regardless, and while this position won’t be popular within the context of an inherently unpopular NFL owner, this information was supposed to be kept secret.

Now that the cat has exited the bag, it doesn’t matter. (However, don’t be surprised if the uber-litigious Snyder scorches the earth on multiple points of the globe in search of anyone who has responsibility for speaking out of school.) Snyder potentially faces the same problem former Panthers owner Jerry Richardson encountered three years ago, when reported on four supposedly confidential settlement agreements arising from Richardson’s behavior.

Richardson sold the team over the revelations regarding his own alleged behavior. Snyder may not go so quietly. Regardless, and as Mark Leibovich wrote in Big Game: The NFL in Dangerous Times, “[T]he Jerry Richardson problem is not over. There is real concern that Jerry Richardson is the tip of the iceberg. With obscenely rich and powerful and aggressive people like NFL owners, there can be a commonness of not only acting in a brutish and entitled way, but also, simply, of being able to pay people off when they try to speak out. Needless to say, Richardson has no monopoly inside the membership on having engaged in outdated behavior. I think there will be other cases. The league fears there will be others.”

This is the first one that has come to light since Richardson. The question now becomes whether it will be enough to get Snyder to walk away (highly unlikely) or to persuade the NFL to try to make him run (less unlikely).

44 responses to “Report: Washington paid $1.6 million to settle a sexual misconduct accusation against Daniel Snyder

  1. Dont have any sympathy for people who do this kind of thing. Forcing the sell is the logical next step.

  2. Unless the other 31 owners have a completely clean closet, the NFL cant make a habit of forcing owners to sell.

  3. WR/WFT used to be one of the PREMIER franchises in the NFL. Under Snyder, for 20+ years, they have been a laughingstock. The NFL now has its “smoking gun” to get rid of this clown and put the team back under competent ownership.

  4. Snyder is trying to beat James Dolan as the worst owner in sports. Pretty bad when you make Mike Brown look decent

  5. So everyone should think they can do whatever they want to women as long as they have some power and a lot of money.

    Disgusting and unfortunately almost half the country supports and worships a pathetic slob that leads on this.

  6. Snyder has ruined that team for 21 years. Get him out for that alone on top of being slimy sleazeball.

  7. Where there’s smoke there is fire and after the story came out about the WFT executive that wanted to get the raw footage from the calender photoshoot that had the women nude, I believe there’s fire.

  8. I can’t help but bear in mind how big $ draws out a lot more extortion and scammers trying for easy money than you would think. Luck out onto a little oil on your property or something and you will be enlightened.

  9. I don’t understand how anyone can be a fan of this franchise until there is a completely overhaul of the ownership and front office.

  10. Sexual Harassment has been an unacceptable ‘thing’ (sorry ladies-no disrespect) for decades.

    The owner knows that much. That is all it should ever take to know, to NOT do it.

    Remember boys, it’s someone’s sister, wife, or even mother.
    It just shouldn’t be happening.
    Agree with other posters- take his team away- and do it before the new stadium pumps up the teams value- we don’t want that little guy laughing all the way to the bank.

  11. Mike: You report that it was the TEAM that paid the claim, not Snyder personally. Do you have any input on why the team had to pay it rather than Snyder?

  12. 11 years ago this agreement was signed. With all the other revelations that have come out no one should believe the league office didn’t have some idea of what’s going on. And may be going on across the league. YET, Goodall stood by and watched the Belt Buckle Dan run the team into the ground. Snyder needs to be gone ASAP and the FBI needs to investigate the league office for what they know about this matter and others.

  13. Mike: You report that it was the TEAM that paid the claim, not Snyder personally. Do you have any input on why the team had to pay it rather than Snyder?


    The team paid it so that Snyder can write it off as a business expense. You know, a cost of doing business.

  14. Bad enough for a single guy to be accused of something like that. Wonder what Snyder’s wife thinks about this kind of stuff.

  15. If there was ever any doubt about what a sleazebag this tyrant is…there wasn’t… clearly anyone with half a brain now knows he has no business being an NFL owner! These old rich guys, like Roger Ailes, Jerry Richardson, Synder, and yes, Trump, think because they’re powerful and rich they can assault women and BRAG about it, or just buy them off with no consequences. In Trump’s case he got freakin’ elected…in Snyder’s case hopefully the NFL will do something about this. We’ll see…. Getting rid of Snyder would be the best thing that could happen for Washington fans and the League overall….

  16. shoepik says:
    December 22, 2020 at 11:00 am
    I can’t help but bear in mind how big $ draws out a lot more extortion and scammers trying for easy money than you would think. Luck out onto a little oil on your property or something and you will be enlightened


    While there is merit to your statement about the nature of people and easy money, its also true that people will abuse power. Having a lot of money doesn’t mean you have a lot of class.

  17. Can’t wait to hear from the Snyder apologists on this one. You can spot a slime ball a mile away, and this bit of news is just validation for most of us.

  18. shanemcshane says:
    December 22, 2020 at 1:07 pm
    Prove it —————————————————– Prove what?

  19. Prove it

    Really? This matter was subject to litigation and zillions of attorneys? Do you think the 1.6M settlement and confidential, nondisclosure agreement was related to a lost play book? SMH.

  20. Lose one Daniel Snyder, gain one David Tepper.

    Why is the NFL so bad at vetting owners?

  21. I wonder how that guy even has the guts to show his face at owners meetings, as I can’t imagine they aren’t all disgusted with him, as are most of the team’s fans. He likely is holding on since, other than his money, the team ownership gives him his only self worth.

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