The idea that Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder cannot be removed from his perch by other owners is probably correct, barring a significant shift in circumstances. Snyder is under fire via both a congressional and NFL investigation and the subject of multiple allegations of scandal.
But it’s not because Snyder has collected “dirt” on his peers, the NFL office in New York, and commissioner Roger Goodell himself, thus possibly “blowing up” the league. That’s what an ESPN investigation alleged Thursday morning.
“They can’t fu-k with me,” the report quoted Snyder saying to confidants about other NFL owners and the league at large, according to the ESPN report.
“I don’t think that would be the reason Daniel Snyder is overtly pushed out by ownership,” a source close to an AFC owner told OutKick on Thursday afternoon. “You have to understand if this is true, which it may or may not be considering what (media) is like these days, it misses a couple of key points.”
Reasons Owners Might Not Vote Snyder Out
“These owners are not afraid of Dan Snyder or anybody else because people with that kind of power have been sued and threatened by the best of them and are quite unmoved by threats from anyone. Their reaction to Snyder maybe having so-called dirt on them would be, ‘Bring it on.’ That’s a minor tempest to most of these people.”
So if not that, what is keeping owners from forcing Snyder to sell his team via a three-fourths vote (24 of 32 owners) of the group?
“It’s because once that step is taken against one owner, it opens the door that never gets closed,” the source said. “I’ve heard it said multiple times by multiple owners. ‘If we start going after each other it’s not going to be long before we’ve got a circular firing squad.’
“Owners will sanction each other. That’s nothing unless you’re talking about draft picks. But they don’t want to vote somebody out because many recognize if they vote to force somebody out, somebody could eventually vote to force them out.
“And nobody wants to be next.”
Owner Precedent From The NBA
It probably does not escape the attention of some NFL owners that Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver felt enough pressure—following allegations he used the N-word multiple times and sexual innuendo with female employees—to sell the team.
And the path Sarver took may have been laid years ago by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling after the NBA banned him for life following the release of racist remarks he made.
NFL owners will meet in New York next Tuesday. Although the subject of Snyder may come up in private conversations among individual owners, it is not on the official agenda, the Associated Press reported.
So no matter the timing of ESPN’s report, nothing’s going to change anytime soon.
Moreover, the Commanders get an opportunity to defend themselves. And unlike the team on the field that has the eighth-worst scoring defense in the league, the club’s public relations arm is good.
Commanders Put Up A Defense
The Commanders have already denied the contents of the ESPN report in a statement sent to various media outlets. A team spokesperson called it “categorically untrue” and “clearly part of a well-funded, two-year campaign to coerce the sale of the team, which will continue to be unsuccessful.”
It should be noted that the Virginia attorney general has an ongoing open inquiry into the Commanders’ finances after the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform sent a letter to various officials citing potential issues.
But, again, the Commanders are defending their position.
The team denied allegations it withheld refundable season-ticket deposits from fans, outlining its stance in a letter sent to the Federal Trade Commission last spring. That letter included emails and other documents the team said refutes testimony given by a former employee.
The 19-page letter was a response to the Oversight and Reform Committee asking the FTC to investigate the team’s business dealings.
Former U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White, who was hired in February to investigate Snyder and the team for allegations of workplace misconduct, has reportedly expanded her investigation to include the financial concerns outlined by the congressional committee.
So, yes, it’s a mess for Snyder.
But he’s apparently a long way from being forced to sell.
Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero