Thursday’s announcement of the penalties arising from years of workplace misconduct within the Washington Football Team included a very confusing element relating to the powers of owner Daniel Snyder. It’s now even more confusing.
The statement from the league had buried at the very bottom an assertion that “Tanya Snyder will assume responsibilities for all day-to-day team operations and represent the club at all league meetings and other league activities for at least the next several months,” and that “Dan Snyder will concentrate on a new stadium plan and other matters.”
It felt like a suspension that wasn’t called a suspension. Both the team and the league, however, insisted that the move by Daniel Snyder was “voluntary.”
Then, Mark Maske of the Washington Post reported that Commissioner Roger Goodell “must approve Daniel Snyder’s return to daily control.” This assertion obviously does not mesh with the notion that Snyder voluntarily stepped aside. If he walked away on his own, he can return whenever he wants.
Last night, an effort was made to get us to delete our story based on Maske’s tweet. It became clear that Snyder’s representatives were working both with the league and the Post to get the Maske report changed or erased. Our position was, and is, that our story will change only if: (1) Maske retracts his story; (2) the Commissioner refutes the Maske report on the record; or (3) Snyder refutes the Maske report on the record.
On Friday afternoon, Snyder’s lawyer, Jordan Siev, has issued a statement to ESPN refuting Maske’s report.
“Any suggestion that Commissioner Goodell must approve Dan Snyder’s return to daily control is false,” Siev said. “Dan was not suspended, so by definition he does not need to be reinstated to any position.”
Maske routinely breaks news on league matters, and he clearly has a highly-placed source at 345 Park Avenue. Maske has not retracted or changed his story. Neither Goodell nor anyone from the league has refuted Maske’s report.
To summarize, Maske has reported that Goodell must approve Snyder’s return to day-to-day control of the team. Maske has not retracted his report. Goodell has not refuted the report. Snyder has not personally refuted it; his lawyer has.
Snyder wants the public to think he chose to step aside and thus can return whenever he wants. He apparently believes he has that right. Time will tell whether Goodell agrees with that. Based on Maske’s report and the silence from the league office, Goodell quite possibly does not.