Daniel Snyder’s fellow billionaires have forgiven and overlooked too many sins to count. But now that he allegedly touched the money, it sounds like he finally crossed a bridge too far.
The NFL owners are “counting votes,” according to USA Today, the latest sign the league may actually force Snyder to sell the Washington Commanders. They were OK with looking the other way on the toxic culture inside the franchise and the accusations of rampant sexual harassment. But now Snyder is the target of two investigations — by the Federal Trade Commission and Virginia attorney general’s office — into alleged financial improprieties. Among the allegations: A former team official told the House Oversight Committee the team cooked its books to hide ticket sales that were supposed to be thrown into the NFL’s revenue-sharing pot.
If true, the NFL is preparing to go nuclear. From the report:
By “counting votes,” the message is clear: Some would support an ouster forcing Snyder to sell his franchise for what would likely be a record amount. It would take 24 votes – three-fourths of the NFL’s ownership membership – to pass a measure to oust Snyder from the club.
Of course, it’s premature for such a drastic measure as the investigations, fueled by a whistleblower who previously worked for the franchise, are ongoing.
By the same token, it’s significant that fellow owners are weighing options.
“For the first time, there’s been chatter,” the second team owner told USA Today Sports. “We should really think about doing something if they find something there.”
If the NFL actually tried to do something, it would likely kick off complete mayhem. Snyder is not going to go quietly into the night; he will hire an army of attorneys and try every legal maneuver possible to hold onto the Commanders. Would the NFL’s internal rules actually hold up in front of, say, the Supreme Court? And who knows what skeletons — on both sides — would get thrown out into the open once a free-for-all breaks out. Jon Gruden cannot be the only person who acted inappropriately over email, for instance.
The possibility of the Commanders being on the market would also be fascinating. This is one of the NFL’s most storied teams. The name has been changed. Ron Rivera is a proven, respected head coach, The team has been relatively decent for a while now (seven or more wins in six of the last seven seasons). They might even have a quarterback if Carson Wentz finds himself. And most importantly, Snyder’s exit would likely grease the skids for a new stadium in the District.
Chelsea is about to sell for just over $3 billion across the pond in a forced sale. Could the Commanders fetch $4 billion on the open market? Get Jeff Bezos on the phone.
James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]