NFL sources reportedly believe Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder has "no shame" and "doesn't care that he's hated," which is why he isn't willing to sell the franchise despite external pressure and a potential multibillion-dollar profit.
"I keep wondering: Why is he still doing this? Why isn't he selling the team? There is no way out. There's no end game," a senior NFL executive told ESPN's Don Van Natta Jr., Seth Wickersham and Tisha Thompson on Thursday. "... That's his character flaw—he can't look in the mirror and see what everybody else sees."
Another source added the Commanders are Snyder's "identity" and he has no interest in leaving the "elite club" of NFL ownership.
In July 2021, the NFL fined Washington $10 million after an investigation into the team's workplace culture, which the probe determined was "highly unprofessional" with examples of bullying, intimidation and multiple allegations of sexual harassment.
Commissioner Roger Goodell said independent counsel Beth Wilkinson, who was hired by the NFL to handle the investigation, verbally delivered her findings rather than providing a written report, which prevented the league from releasing further details.
Continued questions about the Commanders' workplace led the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform to open its own investigation, which has included interviews with Snyder and Goodell.
A spokesperson for Snyder released a statement after he met with the committee for 11 hours in July.
"Mr. Snyder fully addressed all questions about workplace misconduct, described the Commanders' dramatic two-year transformation and expressed hope for the organization's bright future," the spokesperson said.
As part of its probe, the committee alerted the Federal Trade Commission in April the Commanders may have taken part in "unlawful financial conduct" by withholding money from the NFL's revenue-sharing program and failing to return refundable deposits to fans.
The team sent a letter to the FTC denying such conduct, per Nicki Jhabvala and Mark Maske of the Washington Post.
"We are confident that, had this referral not come from a Congressional Committee, the FTC would exercise its discretion to decline to open an investigation based on the uncorroborated and implausible allegations of a single disgruntled former employee, especially one with such notable impairments to his credibility as set forth below," attorney Jordan Siev wrote on behalf of the organization.
While the investigations have raised questions about whether Snyder would sell the franchise, which Forbes estimated has a $5.6 billion value, he's given no indication that's under consideration.
In April 2021, the 57-year-old Maryland native bought out his former business partners to give himself 100 percent ownership stake in the Commanders.
The NFL could call for a vote to remove Snyder, but it would require 24 of the league's 31 other owners to vote in favor of the proposal. Amid rumors that was a possibility, Goodell downplayed the notion in May.
"I'm not aware of that at all," Goodell said.
Sources told ESPN even if the league were to attempt that action, Snyder "will never accept" the outcome of being forced to sell.
He's been the Commanders' majority owner since May 1999, a span that's seen the team earn just six playoff appearances and no Super Bowl titles.