As it turns out, Jim Irsay is all of us.
The Colts owner, who either deliberately or inadvertently has seized an opportunity to alter his NFL legacy, continues to talk openly about the league’s past and looming handling of Commanders owner Daniel Snyder. It’s now clear that Irsay’s concerns extend beyond Snyder to the manner in which the league office has dealt with him.
To summarize, the league imposed vague sanctions on Snyder based on an investigation conducted by attorney Beth Wilkinson. Currently, the league is awaiting the outcome of a follow-up investigation conducted by attorney Mary Jo White. (As Commanders outside counsel John Brownlee told #PFTPM on Thursday, White has not yet interviewed Snyder as part of her review.)
“I’m not sure how [the White] report’s going to come out,” Irsay told the Washington Post. “But what already has come out is extremely disturbing, and I disagree with the process. And I most likely disagree that we haven’t discussed something more severe such as him being removed as owner. As I said, it’s not something that I’m saying we should do. I’m saying it’s something that has to be given serious consideration.”
Irsay has a clear problem with the manner in which the league office determined the punishment of Snyder based on the Wilkinson report. Irsay said that the issue never came up among the full membership.
“It’s not just what was handed down, the $10 million fine and this so-called suspension that I still don’t really understand,” Irsay said, “because I told [Commissioner] Roger [Goodell] and spoke about it at our meeting, that: ‘Look, I’ve been in the league 52 years. I wasn’t even asked about this, not consulted one time.'”
Per the Post, Irsay referred to Snyder’s “so-called suspension” on several occasions. It’s an appropriate term, given rampant inconsistencies and disagreements regarding whether it is still in place, and whether it was even a suspension in the first place. On October 18, for example, Goodell said Snyder’s status hasn’t changed. On Thursday, Brownlee said that Snyder became free to return to all club duties on November 1. Of last year.
Irsay also pointed out that he has no personal animosity for Snyder.
“It has to do with the toxic environment that was in that workplace for such a long period of time,” Irsay said. “And owners are expected to oversee everything that’s going on below them and that’s an assumed responsibility. . . . And I also don’t believe you can say, ‘Well, I didn’t know this. I didn’t know that.’ I don’t buy that at all. . . .
“Like I said, I think there’s merit to consider removal. But I’m not ready to cast my vote until I hear the last report, until we discuss it as a group. But you have to be able to discuss things as a group. . . . I’m into transparency, and I’m into the owners running the league. That’s what it’s about. It’s our league. . . . Owners have to be directly involved and be very active and involved in massive decisions like this.”
The problem that owners who think like Irsay may face is that the White report could lack the meat to merit removal. The Wilkinson report (which never was even created because, apparently. the league office didn’t want her thoughts reduced to writing) may have been the one with the goods on Snyder — especially since it’s been reported by 106.7 The Fan in D.C., and confirmed by PFT, that if Wilkinson had been asked for a written recommendation regarding Snyder’s status as owner, she would have recommended that he be required to sell.
Regardless of how it plays out, Irsay is taking a stand for what he believes is right. In a roomful of oligarchs, it’s good to see that one of them gets it. The question becomes whether 23 more eventually will, too.