When it comes to legal issues, Commanders owner Daniel Snyder likes to be aggressive. When it comes to the ongoing Congressional investigation of Snyder and the Commanders, Snyder has made his most aggressive move yet.
Via Michael Phillips of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, lawyers representing the Commanders sent a nine-page letter to the House Oversight Committee regarding the group’s effort to examine workplace practices on Snyder’s watch.
The letter makes various accusations and includes inflammatory rhetoric, like this: “From the beginning, the Committee set out with a singular purpose — to destroy Dan Snyder and his family and attempt, with deception, innuendo, and half-truths, to drive him from the National Football League. This investigation reeks of the lowest form of politics and its only purpose is personal destruction.”
The letter also called the investigation a “politically inspired hatchet job.”
It’s a bold strategy for Snyder to paint himself as a victim, given that he has largely managed to avoid full and complete accountability for things that happened within the organization he owns and operates.
The letter also points to a sharp conflict in testimony given to the Committee by Snyder and former team president Bruce Allen. Although the Committee has yet to release all or part of the transcripts of their respective marathon depositions, the letter urges the Committee to ignore Allen’s version of the events. This implies that Allen gave testimony that would be harmful to Snyder.
“It is widely acknowledged that the single most significant step the Team took to remedy its toxic workplace was to rid itself of Mr. Allen,” the letter contends. “The fraternity-house culture that Mr. Allen instilled in the Commanders organization is the principal reason that the Commanders came under investigation in the first place.”
It’s unclear why Snyder has opted to take such a strong position, especially at a time when the Committee’s activities had seemingly subsided. The letter possibly is aimed at undermining the Committee as it prepares to make its next significant move, perhaps by disclosing some of Snyder’s or Allen’s deposition transcripts.
The move also could anger and alienate the Committee, prompting the group to become more determined to release publicly testimony that paints Snyder in an unflattering light.
Regardless of Snyder’s grievances regarding the work of the Committee, he continues to benefit from the fact that the league has kept any evidence developed during Beth Wilkinson’s investigation secret. Whatever the findings, Snyder has been removed from his day-to-day role and still not reinstated, for more than 15 months.
If Snyder is concerned about fairness or whatever, let’s just see the facts as Wilkinson determined them to be. Snyder can then chime in, as he sees fit.
However this plays out, it’s a strange development for a man who should still be on the defensive to go so aggressively on the offensive. Although it fits with Snyder’s approach to past controversies, it’s hard not to think that he’s trying to poison the well at a time when he fears it’s about to become a geyser.