The reactions to Daniel Snyder tell you all you need to know about the priorities of the NFL.
Hint: It’s the money.
Snyder is the worst owner in sports, and he doesn’t try to hide it. Now, though, the Football Billionaires Club is considering expulsion, but not for the reasons any decent person might think.
Snyder’s been accused of skimming the profits, which, apparently, is far worse than creating a toxic workplace, partaking in two bogus investigations, and obscuring the results from public view — all with the league’s implicit blessing. From concussion cover-up to protester demonization, the turpitude of the NFL owners knows no bounds. Just don’t mess with their money.
Daniel Snyder’s style has been poisonous, but it looks like a minor scam might end his days as an owner.
It’s like Al Capone landing in Alcatraz for tax evasion.
Snyder oversees a team that has been accused of rampant, consistent sexual misconduct and abusive behavior that had occurred both with Snyder’s knowledge and/or by Snyder himself.
NFL owners should have forced Snyder to sell in 2021, when, according to a report by a Washington radio station, the league’s investigator recommended he be forced to sell. But the NFL isn’t exactly known for its inclusive, nurturing environment: Consider that only five franchise owners — of the Vikings, 49ers, Falcons, Steelers, and Jeffrey Lurie and the Eagles — can even be considered moderate in their politics, as opposed to the oppressive conservatives Colin Kaepernick exposed the rest to be.
His fellow owners’ collective response to the investigation: Meh.
It’s not as if Snyder has brought any sort of glory or competence to their ranks.
After all, he spent the first two decades of his ownership refusing to change the team’s name from “Redskins,” which is a racist term. Then again, consider the team’s history. It was the last franchise to integrate, and its founder, George Preston Marshall, did so only upon threat of eviction from his stadium. Snyder was just being true to its heritage. Finally, in 2020, when FedEx threatened to end its naming-rights relationship with the team, Snyder retired the offensive moniker and logo — again, racism ended only by financial consequences. As a final, obscene gesture, Snyder made the announcement on corporate letterhead that featured the offensive moniker and logo.
Remember, it was the sponsor, not the league, that forced Snyder to change first to the Washington Football Team, then, in February, to the Washington Commanders.
Of course, Snyder’s crassness knows no bounds. On the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Snyder sold “Pentagon Flag Hats” for $23.99, and all proceeds went to Daniel Snyder. In the economic collapse of 2008, he filed 125 lawsuits against defaulting season-ticket holders despite claiming his team had a season-ticket waiting list of more than 200,000. His team has been accused at least twice of using its cheerleaders as enticements for clients’ amusement or executives’ viewing.
All heinous, right? But not heinous enough for NFL owners to take action.
Now that he’s been accused of withholding $5 million, the Gang of 32 might force Snyder to sell.
Show me the money
Accusations into Washington’s toxic workplace spurred an investigation of the team by ... the team. Shamed into another tack, the NFL took over the investigation. It resulted in a $10 million fine from the league and Snyder being urged to distance himself from the team — ridiculously light punishments.
Further, detailed results of the investigation were never made public. The investigation was so shadowy that, combined with leaked emails that forced the ouster of Raiders coach Jon Gruden, ironically, it spurred an investigation by the House Oversight Committee ... and this investigation brought forth more accusers, which begot another investigation.
Again, NFL owners didn’t bat an eye.
However, the congressional inquiry also reportedly has unearthed a bevy of alleged financial improprieties aimed at hiding revenues from the other 31 teams. These are revenues Washington is supposed to share.
According to USA Today, these allegations have moved NFL owners to consider forcing Snyder to sell the team. Owners upset with Snyder are trying to cobble together the 24 votes needed to force Snyder out.
Accusations of groping female employees and making surreptitious, lewd videos of team cheerleaders: Shoulder shrug.
Accusations of skimming millions from billionaires: Death penalty.