There is a lot of smoke surrounding Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder. Even without the confirmed existence of an actual fire, the smoke draws the attention of its partners.
As reported by Jarrett Bell of United States todayone NFL owner said the group was “counting votes” regarding Snyder.
It would take 24 votes to get rid of him. Of course, that would only be the beginning, not the end. Snyder would certainly fight hard not to have to sell his business. Although the various members of the Club Oligarch accept the rules of life in the league, the antitrust violation that would emanate from 24 or more business owners forcing another business owner to sell his or her business is in plain sight.
Still, the other owners are nearing their breaking point with Snyder.
That’s not new. We’ve reported several times that Snyder is treading on thin ice. During Super Bowl week, we confirmed previous reports from 106.7 The Fan in DC that if the league had asked attorney Beth Wilkinson for a written recommendation following the completion of her 10-month investigation into chronic workplace misconduct in Washington, she would have recommended it Snyder being forced to sell.
The league assigned Mary Jo White, not Wilkinson, to investigate recent allegations of misconduct by former Washington staffer Tiffani Johnston against Snyder. We reported on the day of Super Bowl LVI, “As an owner-level source recently put it, the Johnston allegations could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back and prompts Snyder’s partners to take steps to push him out.”
That was before allegations of financial shortcomings. Among those allegations was a longtime employee’s claim that money was being withheld from Snyder’s partners.
As we have said many times here and in particular PFT Live, Snyder had so many issues and controversies and allegations that, regardless of the merits of each, at some point the mere existence of the issues, controversies and allegations was enough to justify throwing him out. At least one owner seems to agree with this position.
“There is growing frustration with the situation in Washington and not with a problem but with how much smoke there is,” an unnamed owner told Bell. “I think everyone will get tired of it.”
The folks not involved in NFL ownership are definitely fed up. The question is whether the owners are willing to hold Snyder to a standard that could potentially be applied to them in the future. That’s why he got a passport last year. That’s why the league hasn’t requested a written report from Wilkinson. If a report had been made, Snyder’s continued ownership of the team would have become untenable. And every other current and future owner should have worried that claims from disgruntled employees could trigger the same outcome for them.
Again, they didn’t protect Snyder by sweeping everything under the rug. They protected themselves.
It’s gotten to the point where they might not worry about it anymore. Where they may realize that neither of them need worry about the same standard because neither of them would ever be involved in so much controversy.
The financial irregularities become the potential icing on the poisonous cake. A source told us after the news broke that if Snyder actually picked up his partners’ pockets it would be his “death blow”.
Bell reiterates that reality with this quote from an unnamed owner: “If that happened, I think that’s the nail in the coffin.”
Bell also reports that during league meetings in March, owners “vehemently” raised concerns about the lack of a written report. Again, Commissioner Roger Goodell and the League, while helping Snyder directly, were doing the others a favor by not providing a roadmap for regime change. However, this lack of transparency has dogged the league for months, culminating in a congressional investigation.
The irony remains that the release of emails bringing down Raiders coach Jon Gruden sparked a belated effort to get the NFL and Commanders to be more transparent. Most likely, if it weren’t for Gruden’s hit job, Congress would never have shown up.
Some believe the Gruden emails were not released by the league office but by Snyder. Whoever did it, the suspects’ universe is small. When it turns out that Snyder lit the fuse on the bomb that ends up exploding in his face, he gets what he deserves. Then again, there’s a pretty good chance he still deserves it.
Add to that the fact that there’s evidence he’s not actually serving a suspension when he should be, and it’s very difficult to feel bad for Snyder about the direction this could be going.
Fire or not, the smoke keeps rising. In 2007, Goodell tightened the Personal Conduct Policy to justify punishing players who simply became entangled off the field, regardless of final convictions or admissions of guilt. If the league tends to apply the same standard for owners (and as in playmaker it isn’t), Snyder should be long gone.
Report: NFL owners ‘counting votes’ for possible downfall of Daniel Snyder, originally appeared on Pro Football Talk