The popcorn is popping in advance of Wednesday’s testimony from Commissioner Roger Goodell before the U.S. House Committee on Oversight & Reform. At 11:00 a.m. ET, the Committee will be gaveled to order, and Goodell will be called to answer questions.
The inquiry focuses both on the misconduct that apparently existed for years within the Washington Commanders organization and on the league’s clumsy (but largely effective, until someone weaponized portions of the emails gathered by Wilkinson to take out Jon Gruden) effort to hide all facts, findings, and recommendations. As to the latter, there’s a fair question to ask.
Who wanted to keep it secret, the league or the team?
There’s an argument to be made that team owner Daniel Snyder doesn’t care if it all comes out. If he has any amount of self-awareness, he knows he’s widely reviled. If everything comes out involving everything that happened within the organization under his leadership, how many people will feel any differently about him than they already do?
If anything, transparency would pull others into the spotlight, others who allegedly or actually did things they shouldn’t have done. For now, two specific allegations have been tied to Snyder. Maybe those are the only two. Maybe others would end up taking much more shrapnel if the full findings were released.
And that could be exactly what the league is trying to avoid. We’ve seen emails Gruden exchanged with former Washington president Bruce Allen. We’ve seen emails sent back and forth between Allen and NFL general counsel Jeff Pash. Who else would be implicated by the full range of evidence, if it was made public?
Early on, I suggested that the league is keeping things quiet because if the full facts, findings, and recommendations came out, it would be untenable for Snyder to continue as the owner of the team. What if Snyder doesn’t care? What if he refuses to voluntarily sell, ever?
It’s entirely possible that the league is more intent on keeping things secret than Snyder. Especially since full transparency could set a precedent that would become problematic for other owners who could see a complaint from a disgruntled employee spiral into an audit of the full business that turns over the right stone to reveal the silver bullet that forces an owner with a far weaker will to fight than Snyder to cash out and leave.