When 34-year-old Daniel Snyder became the youngest player to purchase an NFL franchise in 1999, he brought a wave of optimism and promise to the league’s foundation, the Washington franchise.
After the 6-10 season, the team was still making money from a devoted fan base that flocked to a stadium outside Maryland named after its late owner, Jack Kent Cook. The team’s biggest problem at the time was how to get a parking lot to accommodate everyone, but a lifelong fan who said buying the team was “the greatest thing that ever happened to me.” That concern didn’t seem to bother Snyder.
“In my dream,” Snyder said after the sale was confirmed.
By the time he agreed in principle Thursday to sell the Washington Commanders for a record $6 billion, Snyder had been mired in a scandal that sparked NFL and legal investigations. The once cocky, big-money owner was under pressure to change the team’s name and logo, buy out partners, and finally wake up from a dream that turned into a nightmare for many.
Despite Snyder’s dreams, the team never won a Super Bowl during his tenure, or even made it to the conference’s championship game.
Here are some key moments from Daniel Snyder’s tenure as owner of the NFL’s Washington Commanders.
Snyder spends a lot of money on flashy free agency.
Stirring up a fanbase early on, Snyder signed future Hall of Famers defensive end Bruce Smith, cornerback Deion Sanders, who signed a seven-year deal worth up to $56 million, and quarterback Jeff George. added. The move backfired: Snyder fired coach Nove Turner after Week 14, Washington missed the playoffs, and Sanders retired.
Washington will be the first team to charge training camp fees.
The team has since become the first team to charge admission to training camp practices in a move that has become commonplace around the NFL. Snyder says the $10 per person charge is Helps improve access to the players.
January 7, 2006
The playoff drought begins.
Washington won 17–10 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2005 NFC Wild Card Game, the franchise’s last playoff win.
Washington demands $3.6 million from fans.
In the midst of the Great Recession, the team sued 125 Fans trying to cancel contracts in order to buy season tickets. The team won a $2 million judgment against fans, including fans who failed to honor their contracts citing financial losses due to the economic downturn.
Fans are prohibited from bringing signs or banners into the game.
After beginning seasons 2-4, the team stripped head coach Jim Zorn of responsibility for calling plays, leaving it to an assistant coach who was pulled out of retirement in Week 5. The team prohibited spectators from bringing any signs or banners into FedEx Field. Washington lifted the ban a month later, citing security and comfort after mounting signs of criticism of Snyder and front office executive Vinnie Serato.
Snyder sued the Washington City Paper for defamation.
Snyder stated in a 2010 article, “The Cranky Redskins Fan’s Guide to Dance Snyder” It defamed him and contained anti-Semitic depictions of him. In an interview with The New York Times Magazine, Snyder said he had never read the articles describing the various public blunders because he “heard every detail.”
Seven months later, Snyder dropped the lawsuit.
With no tickets sold, the team removes 10,000 seats from the stadium.
The team couldn’t find many 400-level seat winners, so it cut FedEx Field capacity from 91,704, the second-largest in the NFL at the time, to about 82,000.
Teams take salary cap penalties
An independent arbitrator upheld the NFL’s decision to fine Washington and the Dallas Cowboys for exceeding player contract spending during the league’s uncapped 2010 season. Washington was fined $18 million a year for two years and Dallas was fined $5 million a year for two years.
Snyder joined Jerry Jones in the penalty shootout, but the owners of the two most valuable franchises were among those who often rallied over many league issues, including labor and TV rights negotiations. The friends, who are lynchpins of the hardline owner group, even shot a Papa John commercial together in 2010. Jones will continue to be Snyder’s strongest ally as the Washington franchise is plagued by scandal.
Despite facing protests over the team’s name, Snyder said it would “never” change.
For nearly 90 years, Washington’s professional football team was known as the Redskins, a term considered a slur against Native Americans. Snyder said he faces protests over his name and mascot, and federal lawsuits over trademarks. United States of America today that he would never change his name. “It’s so easy. Never–you can use a cap,” he said.
The cheerleaders accused the team of sexual harassment.
In 2018, five former cheerleaders told The New York Times that they were sexually harassed and threatened by teams and sponsors while traveling to Costa Rica for a photo shoot for a swimsuit calendar. The cheerleaders said they were “pimped” by the team’s male sponsors who were invited for photo ops, forcing them to wear skimpy clothing and, in some cases, be photographed naked.
After a four-month internal investigation, Washington announced changes For cheerleading teams, this includes “more conservative attire,” the inclusion of male cheerleaders, and banning sweetholders from team photo ops. In 2021, the cheerleading program was discontinued in favor of a coeducational dance team.
July 13, 2020
Pressure from corporate sponsors forced Washington to drop the controversial nickname.
Days after FedEx, the team’s biggest corporate sponsor, asked the team to rethink its name and mascot, Washington announced in a statement that it would be rebranding, removing the name and logo. Until a replacement is appointed, the team will be known as the Washington Football Team.
The move comes weeks after other team sponsors, including Nike and Pepsi, received letters from investors asking them to cut ties with the team. On July 2, FedEx, which pays about $8 million a year to put its name on the team’s stadium in Landover, Maryland, told the team to change “FedEx” if they didn’t change their nickname. I wrote to them asking for help. left the stadium at the end of the season.
July 16, 2020
Female employees detail sexual harassment and verbal abuse.
In July 2020, The Washington Post said, investigation It cited 15 former front-office employees, accusing them of mistreatment of female employees on the team.
Mr. Snyder fired several executives named in harassment allegations and hired Washington-based law firm Wilkinson Stekloff to investigate the allegations. Larry Michael, a play-by-play broadcaster and senior vice president of the team, left the company after several women accused him of making disparaging remarks about female employees.
After the NFL took over the investigation, it “concluded that over the years the work environment at the Washington Football Team has been highly unprofessional, both for women in general and for women in particular.” In July 2021, the team was fined $10 million and Snyder agreed to step away from the team’s day-to-day operations and hand over the helm to his wife, Tanya.
More and more employees are coming forward about sexual misconduct in the workplace.
In August, The Washington Post published a report Details of complaints from 25 women They said they were sexually harassed while working with the team in 2008, including allegations that a male staff member recorded an obscene video during a photo shoot for Snyder’s exclusive cheerleader calendar. . Staff and Snyder denied the allegations.
An email from Jon Gruden to the team chairman has been released.
The New York Times and Wall Street Journal reported that former Buccaneers coach turned television analyst Jon Gruden wrote racist and misogynistic comments to then-Washington baseball team president Bruce Allen. It also published emails sent between 2011 and 2018.
The email was discovered during an investigation into workplace misconduct for the Washington football team. As women who filed sexual harassment allegations against the team lobbied for the NFL investigation to be made public, lawmakers called for a review of related documents.
FedEx wreaks havoc on Eagles fans.
After the 2022 game, several Philadelphia Eagles fans fell from their seats when a railing near the player tunnel collapsed, nearly falling onto Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts. Fan sued the commanders, and the lawsuit is still ongoing.
February 2nd, 2022
Washington adopts the name Commander.
After two years of groping, the team unveils a new name and logo Leaked before official announcementwhich included a hype video showcasing the team’s former and potentially offensive names.
February 9, 2022
Congressional whistleblowers allege Snyder is involved in new harassment allegations.
At a congressional roundtable, two former employees of the team accused Snyder of creating a toxic workplace, one alleging inappropriate contact with Snyder and another in Aspen, Colorado. He hosted work events from his home and claimed team executives had hired prostitutes. Snyder called the allegations “blatant lies.” The NFL has launched a second investigation into the team led by former SEC Chairman Mary Jo White.
A congressional subcommittee referred the team’s financial misconduct complaint to the FTC.
Congress says Snyder conducted a “shadow investigation” of the accusers.
In a 29-page memo, the House Oversight and Reform Committee said Mr. Snyder would direct a “shadow investigation” to obstruct and undermine NFL investigations, use private investigators to harass and intimidate witnesses, He said he prepared a 100-page document aimed at victims. Witnesses and journalists who shared “credible public accusations of harassment” against the team.
NFL owner wants Snyder fired.
At an NFL team owners’ conference, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said there would be “benefits” in firing Snyder. Such a move would require at least 24 of his 32 owners in the league to agree, which would set a precedent for the league.
“We have to act,” said Irsay. “He needs to be removed.”
Snyders are looking for a buyer for Commander.
Snyder announced that he had hired a banker to explore the potential sale of some or all of the commanders.
In addition to the mounting criminal and civil investigations, there was a federal investigation into the team’s finances.
ESPN coverage Federal prosecutors in Virginia are investigating allegations of financial misconduct by Snyder, Washington and others stemming from a $55 million loan unbeknownst to their partners, details revealed became.
Snyder and team face several other investigations. These include financial misconduct from the Virginia Attorney General and two lawsuits filed and subsequently settled by Washington, D.C. Attorney General Carl Racine over season ticket sales.