Multiple teams are reportedly hoping that Dan Snyder is removed from his position as owner of the American Football team the Washington Commanders due to his alleged workplace misconduct and failure to secure a new stadium for the NFL franchise. The Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay delivered his own brutal verdict saying there’s “merit to removing him as owner.”
Irsay was speaking to reporters following the NFL owners’ meeting on Tuesday 18 October and the Colts CEO believes that while the vote to oust Snyder was unlikely to take place in the next few days, it could well happen after the conclusion of one of Snyder’s two ongoing investigations. Snyder is currently under investigation by former US attorney Mary Jo White for workplace culture which includes allegations he sexually harassed two women. The Commanders boss is also under investigation by the US House Committee on Oversight and Reform.
A total of 24 owner votes are needed to force a fellow owner to relinquish their team and Colts boss Irsay suggested in his comments to reporters that these votes may well exist but advises patience as the results of the investigation are pending.
So who is Dan Snyder and what is he accused of doing?
Who is Dan Snyder?
Snyder, 57, is an American businessman and owner of Washington Commadners, formerly known as Washington Redskins. His wealth came when he and his sister, Michelle, founded a wallboard advertising company called Snyder Communications LP. In 1996, Snyder became the youngest-ever CEO of a New York Stock Exchange listed company at the age of 32 and his top investors included the medai mogul Barry Diller.
In 2000, Snyder Communications was sold to the French advertising and marketing services group Havas in a transaction valued in excess of $2 billion - the largest transaction in the history of the advertising and marketing industry. Snyder bought what was then called the Washington Redskins in 1999 for $800 million and since his ownership, the team’s annual revenue has increased from more than $100m a year from 1999 to $245million.
Why is Snyder under investigation?
Snyder is currently under two investigations for workplace culture and financial impropriety. In July 2020 The Washington Post published a series of articles which alleged over 40 women, who were former employees of the organisation, had been sexually harassed and discriminated against by Snyder and other male executives, colleages and players of the team since at least 2006.
A year-long independent investigation, which was concluded in July 2021, found that incidents of sexual harassment, bullying and intimidation were commonplace throughout the organisation under his ownership with the team being fine $10million in response. On July 2022, Snyder then voluntarily testified before the Univeted States House Committee on Oversight and Reform regarding their own investigation the team’s history of workplace misconduct.
In March 2021, reports then surfaced to suggest Snyder may have intentionally under reported ticket sales to the NFL and IRS so he could pay a smaller share into the NFL’s Visiting Team Fund and keep more of the ticket revenue than he would otherwise be able to. The House Oversight Committee sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission in April 2022 which said Snyder had kept two separate financial ledgers since at least 2012. They also alleged Snyder would drive up proces by selling cheaper tickets in bulk to third party vendors, causing the remaining tickets to become far more expensive.
What has Jim Irsay said?
The Indianpolis Colts owner Jim Irsay spoke to reporters following the NFL owners’ autumn meeting saying: “I believe there’s merit to remove him as owner of the (Commanders). I think it’s something that we have to review, we have to look at all the evidence and be thorough in going forward, but I think it’s something that has to be given serious consideration.”
“I believe in the workplace today, the standard that the shield stands for in the NFL, that you have to stand for that and protect that. I just think once owners talk among each other they will arrive at the right decision. Unfortunately, I believe that’s the road we probably need to go down and we just need to finish the investigation, but it’s gravely concerning to me the things that have occured there over the last 20 years.
What was Dan Snyder’s letter to NFL owners?
In his latest move, Snyder has made attempts to convince his fellow NFL owners he his innocent. In a long letter to each owner, Snyder addressed the article from ESPN which claimed he had hired a private investigator to dig up ‘dirt’ on the other owners as well as the NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
In his letter, the 57-year-old said: “This is patently false and intended to erode the trust and goodwill between owners that I take quite seriously. I have never hired any private investigator to look into any owner or the Commissioner. I have never instructed or authorised my lawyers to hire any private investigator on my behalf for any such purpose. And I never would.”
The Commanders boss also added ESPN: “ignored our efforts to correct the many falsehoods in their article before its publication. Falsehoods and lies being spread about any of our organisations hurts our league, our players and our fans, and we simply cannot let them go unchallenged.”