When Daniel Snyder spent 24 years as owner of the NFL’s Washington franchise, the team’s popularity plummeted, becoming a textbook example of a toxic workplace. Thursday’s announcement that he had reached an agreement in principle to sell Commander came only after years of insisting Snyder had no intention of letting the team go.
Despite the damage Snyder had done to the once-loved franchise in the capital, the injustice that Snyder walked away with a $6 billion farewell gift, 7.5 times the $800 million he paid the team in 1999. Some people will see it. But in a league where talent and money often excuse bad behavior, it’s important for Snyder to walk away.
Exactly why Mr. Snyder ultimately decided to bow to the mounting selling pressure remains to be seen. Clearly, by trying to alienate his most powerful ally, a fellow team owner, and discredit those who spoke out about workplace harassment rather than making changes in good faith. , he retired early.
Privately, several owners have admitted that they are fed up with Snyder and that he is ready to sell, but they are unsure or fear of lawsuits, so they don’t want to make public appearances. Finally, last October, Jim Irsay of the Indianapolis Colts told reporters that there would be “benefits” in firing Snyder as team owner, which would include 32 owners. took the unusual step of telling us that 24 of them needed approval.
Snyder’s response, through the team’s spokeswoman, was characteristically stubborn. And they don’t.
Two weeks later, Daniel Snyder and his wife Tanya announced they had hired a banker to consider selling the team. The new ownership group, announced Thursday, led by Josh Harris, owner of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and NHL’s New Jersey Devils, earned him a record $6 billion.
For those seeking change, the news of the sale was welcome and full of meaning.
Lisa Banks and Debra Katz, attorneys for dozens of former Commanders employees who have complained of workplace abuse, said in a statement, “The NFL understands that such abusive workplaces towards women cannot be tolerated. I hope you do.
Claims by former Commanders employees date back to at least 2006 and persisted through 2019, nearly the entirety of Snyder’s ownership.
Five former cheerleaders told The New York Times in 2018 that the team forced them to participate in topless photo shoots and night outs with male sponsors during a trip to Costa Rica in 2013. Washington Post, Summer 2020 published investigation In this report, a total of 40 women who worked on the team gave detailed testimony about sexual and verbal abuse by male employees.
In addition to overseeing what the first NFL investigation concluded was a “highly unprofessional” workplace, Snyder was directly accused of misconduct. told a congressional roundtable last year that in 2005 or 2006, during a dinner at work, Snider put his hand on her thigh and resisted his attempts to take her to a limousine. rice field. She (said Mr. Snyder was lying) and The Washington Post reported Team employees accused Snyder of sexual harassment and assault in 2009, after which they reached a $1.6 million confidential settlement.
Instead of trying to get Snyder out, the NFL showed him an escape hatch. Not only did he fine him $10 million against the team in 2021, but he also allowed Snyder to borrow his $450 million to buy a limited partner, consolidating his control and Withheld a report detailing the findings of the first League-sponsored Commanders investigation. workplace. But as the team repeatedly pointed to steps to overhaul workplace culture, Snyder continued to fight back and lose control of the franchise.
In court, he accused his limited partner and former longtime team president, Bruce Allen, of potentially playing a role in damaging his reputation by spreading false information he claims. A congressional investigation into team and league responses to rampant harassment allegations found that Snyder directed a “shadow investigation” to thwart the NFL’s initial investigation into the team. This involved using a private investigator to harass and intimidate witnesses, as well as documenting those who made claims against the team.
Last February, the NFL launched a second investigation into Snyder and Commanders in response to new allegations of harassment and financial misconduct uncovered through a congressional investigation. , has promised to make the findings public regardless of whether or not Snyder is still the team owner when the investigation is closed.
Snyder’s defiance has characterized many of his decision-making as team owner. He tried in vain to buy the franchise another Super Bowl title by offering a free agency deal that no other club would do. He was a longtime supporter of the team’s racist nickname, claiming: USA Today In 2013, despite growing public opposition and Native Americans speaking out about the harm it caused, he said he would “never” change it. A few years later, pressure from corporate sponsors forced a change.
Snyder had countless opportunities to correct course and take allegations against him and his team seriously.Missing these chances decided his exit. — the final failure not only cemented his legacy, but also gave hope to a once-proud franchise.