The NFL has tiptoed around Commanders owner Daniel Snyder in recent years. Soon, they could be trying to curb stomp him.
The Washington Post reports that the sentiment among team owners has “shifted significantly” as the league awaits the findings of both a Congressional investigation and an NFL-commissioned study conducted by Mary Jo White.
Per the Post, “multiple owners” have said in recent days that they believe “serious consideration” could be given to attempting to shed Snyder, “either by convincing him to sell his franchise or by voting to remove him.”
“He needs to sell,” an unnamed owner told the Post. “Some of us need to go to him and tell him that he needs to sell.” The same owner predicted that “there will be a movement” to dump Snyder.
“We need to get 24 votes,” the owner told the Post.
Indeed they do. But it may not be easy. While Snyder has few friends or allies, one of them is Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. Jones could lead the charge to ensure that seven others join Jones and Snyder in opposing an involuntary effort to push Snyder out, after more than 20 years in charge. Other owners could align with that effort, given a concern about the setting of a precedent that could be used in time against them.
The organization understandably has attempted to focus on the present and future, not the past. It’s not surprising, then, that Commanders president Jason Wright would issue this statement to the Post: “We are making important progress on a cultural transformation to ensure our workplace is inclusive and safe for all. The League has publicly recognized our efforts, and independent experts regularly examining our journey on this accord have confirmed this progress. We are relentlessly focused on continuous improvement at every level of the organization so that we can be a gold standard organization in all facets.”
That glosses over, as the team always does, the question of whether Snyder engaged in misconduct, the extent of it, and what the proper consequences should be. The league and the team consistently and stubbornly have hidden that information from public view.
On July 1, 2021, the league announced the punishment imposed on the organization as a result of attorney Beth Wilkinson’s 11-month investigation. The league did not disclose any findings regarding Snyder’s conduct or Wilkinson’s recommendations for handling him. PFT confirmed earlier this year a report from 106.7 The Fan in D.C. that Wilkinson would have recommended that the league force Snyder to sell, if she had been asked to reduce her recommendations to writing.
The resistance to act against Snyder could change with the White investigation, or with the Oversight Committee’s ongoing probe.
In May, Jarrett Bell of USA Today reported that some owners were counting votes toward the magic number of 24. PFT reported in February that the allegations resulting in White’s follow-up investigation could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
Still, the league likely has opted to tread lightly for a reason. If Snyder’s alleged misdeeds result in Snyder being forced out, other owners could face similar allegations and eventual predicaments. Also, Snyder likely would refuse to go, using litigation in any court of competent jurisdiction to fight his partners. He likewise could choose to share details of similar behavior regarding other owners to the media, if such evidence exists and if Snyder is privy to it.
Some owners apparently don’t care. Whether that number reaches a critical mass of two dozen remains to be seen.