Would the NFL Really Want To Part Ways With Daniel Snyder?
The Washington Commanders workplace culture has been a topic in the NFL for the last two years. Since the Washington Post published a series of pieces in July 2020 claiming that over 40 women, office workers and cheerleaders, had been sexually harassed and discriminated by Snyder and other executives, the franchise has gone through several off-the-field questions. It could very well be more than enough for the league to try and force Daniel Snyder to sell the team, but that's not necessarily how owners operate.
First, Washington started an internal investigation, but the NFL has since assumed the case. An independent investigation led by lawyer Beth Wilkinson found a series of misconduct, and the league fined the franchise $10 million. Daniel Snyder was also forced to give up his role for a few months, and his wife, Tanya, ran the franchise.
There are other questions still open, though. Last year, Raiders coach Jon Gruden's resignation came after leaks of emails he sent with sexist, racist and homophobic remarks. Those emails were conversations between Gruden and Washington's former president Bruce Allen. Earlier this year, the US Congress opened investigations concerning the allegations, but also because of potential financial impropriety. The Commanders deny all allegations made by the House Oversight Committee.
While investigating the workplace issues, the House Oversight Committee reportedly obtained evidence that the Commanders may have underreported their ticket revenue to the NFL in order to reduce the amount of money the team shared with its league counterparts.
"Senior Washington Commanders’ executives, including team owner Dan Snyder, may have engaged in a troubling, long-running, and potentially unlawful pattern of financial conduct that may have victimized thousands of team fans and the National Football League (NFL). According to information obtained by the Committee, including emails, documents, and statements from former employees, the Commanders may have intentionally withheld millions of dollars in refundable deposits owed to fans, and concealed revenues that were owed to the NFL as part of the League’s revenue-sharing agreement", says the press release written by the Committee.
This evidence might lead the fellow owners to decide it's too much for Snyder. But it's difficult to imagine such a drastic decision. First, the league needs 24 votes among the 31 other owners in order to force Snyder to sell the team. Moreover, owners wouldn't want to give precedent for possible future cases. They are protecting themselves.
The most similar example:
Recently, there was another owner involved in team workplace cultural issues. In 2017, Sports Illustrated reported that at least four employees reached settlements with then Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson because of "sexually suggestive language behavior" directed at women and racial slur directed at an African-American scout.
But there was a significant difference in Richardson's case. He decided by himself that the best way to solve the issue was to sell the franchise at the end of the season. Therefore, six months after the first reports, Richardson sold the Panthers to David Tepper for $2.2 billion. It wasn't, legally speaking, a decision made by fellow owners. But, the indications so far have been that Snyder isn't interested in selling the Commanders.
USA Today has recently reported that some NFL owners are counting votes to find out if they are able to force the issue. But there is one major factor: while most owners probably don't want to do business with Snyder anymore, forcing the sale would almost certainly generate another set of legal proceedings. They know Snyder would sue the league, which could potentially bring new investigations and findings to light.
The best-case scenario for the owners is if Daniel Snyder decides he's had enough trouble and wants out. Don't count on that. And don't count on other owners running him out of the league, either.