As the NFL and the Commanders await the results of the second investigation regarding owner Daniel Snyder, a fundamental disagreement lingers regarding the punishment imposed after the first investigation.
Appearing on a special Thursday edition of #PFTPM, lawyer John Brownlee of Holland & Knight, outside counsel for the Commanders, was asked when the restrictions on Snyder that were imposed on July 1, 2021 ended. Brownlee said that they ended in late 2021.
“Well, it ended November first,” Brownlee said. “Now, [Snyder] could go to all the games and I think he did go to the games even during that time period, but there were other restrictions as far as going out to the facility and those kinds of things that he didn’t do, because of that sanction that was imposed by the NFL. . . Once November firrst came and went, he was free to do whatever he wanted to do. There were no restrictions. That being said, I still think that they agreed because of everything that was going on, that it was in the best interest of the team for him not to do certain things.”
The explanation sharply conflicts with things repeatedly said by Commissioner Roger Goodell, as recently as earlier this month. Indeed, when PFT asked the league office for comment on Thursday regarding Brownlee’s contention, the NFL directed us to the fact that Goodell said on October 18 as to Snyder’s status, “It hasn’t changed. There’s been no change.”
In late March 2022, Goodell said that “Dan Snyder has not been involved in day-to-day operations,” and that Goodell “[doesn’t] believe he’s been in the facility at all.” Three months later, in sworn testimony to the House Oversight Committee, Goodell said “to the best of my knowledge, [Snyder] has not been involved in day-to-day operations at the Commanders.”
While Brownlee didn’t expressly say that Snyder has returned to his prior role, Brownlee made it clear that, in the team’s estimation, Snyder was free to do so as of nearly one year ago. That characterization meshes with the league’s consistent position that Snyder remains subject to league-imposed restrictions.
Brownlee added that, since November 1 of last year, Snyder has curtailed certain activities “by his own choice.”
“Obviously in consultation with Tanya, I think at the end of the day, listen, these are two people that love this team, that love the league,” Brownlee said. “They’ve been a part of it for a long time. They love the community, they want to win. And yet he recognizes that with, with everything that goes on, he can be a distraction to the players and the owners. And he doesn’t want that because he cares for them too much. And so he has pulled back and he is, but he’s done that voluntarily.”
The league would say otherwise. The league has said otherwise. The lingering conflict adds just another layer to confusion to a strange situation for the NFL and the Commanders.