Report: Dan Snyder's Decision to Explore Selling Commanders Influenced by NFL Owners

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVNovember 4, 2022

FILE - Dan Snyder, co-owner and co-CEO of the Washington Commanders, poses for photos during an event to unveil the NFL football team's new identity, Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022, in Landover, Md. Dan Snyder's ownership of his hometown NFL team in Washington has been full of more controversy than playoff success for more than two decades. Still, the past couple of years have been tumultuous enough to raise the question of how tight Snyder's grip is on the once-storied franchise. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File

On Wednesday, the Washington Commanders announced that Bank of America Securities had been retained to investigate "potential transactions," the first public indication team owner Daniel Snyder might sell the franchise.

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

From the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Commanders?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Commanders</a>: <a href="https://t.co/qxr3gQ5iwJ">https://t.co/qxr3gQ5iwJ</a> <a href="https://t.co/uFJLXogmGx">pic.twitter.com/uFJLXogmGx</a>

But that move reportedly came at the urging of other owners around the league, per Ben Fischer of the Sports Business Journal:

"Jim Irsay was the only one who said his piece in public, but other NFL owners have confronted Snyder privately in recent weeks—and more have told commissioner Roger Goodell that something must give, sources tell me. Wednesday's shock announcement from the Snyders that they'd entertain offers for the team, those same sources said, came in light of that growing consensus that the end must come, one way or another."

The fact Washington's announcement came on the same day that ESPN's Don Van Natta Jr. reported the U.S. attorney's office in the Eastern District of Virginia opened a "criminal investigation into allegations that the Commanders engaged in financial improprieties" didn't feel coincidental.

Given the wide swath of scandals and investigations into Snyder, a future sale wouldn't come as a surprise. Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay already publicly called for Snyder to be removed in October, the first owner to publicly do so:

Albert Breer @AlbertBreer

Colts owner Jim Irsay on voting Dan Snyder out as owner of the Commanders: “I believe that’s the road we have to go down. … I believe it’s in the best interest of the National Football League.”

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

Important words from <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Colts?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Colts</a> owner Jim Irsay on <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Commanders?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Commanders</a> owner Daniel Snyder: “I believe there is merit to removing him as owner.”

Whether the NFL owners can push for Snyder's ouster remains to be seen, with Fischer noting that they still aren't positive they would have the required votes to remove him.

But he added that "many owners would love him gone, but worry about the unpredictable, extraordinarily high risk they’d face doing so without stronger cause," writing that "many owners have concluded that this scandal will simply never go away as long as Snyder is there—that it's metastasized to the point of no return, and is starting to hurt other owners."

In October, Seth Wickersham, Natta Jr. and Tisha Thompson reported that "Snyder recently told a close associate that he has gathered enough secrets to 'blow up' several NFL owners, the league office and even commissioner Roger Goodell."

But the simpler solution for both Snyder and the rest of the NFL would be him agreeing to sell, turning an incredibly lucrative profit in the process.

"The reason it's so shocking is that it's so practical," an NFL insider told Fischer regarding Wednesday's news that Snyder was exploring a potential sale.

To this point, Snyder has cut a defiant figure. But perhaps, at the behest of his peers, that approach is starting to change.