We need to talk about Washington Commanders Owner Dan Snyder
This week ESPN dropped a report that to some of you, must have seemed like a bombshell.
Multiple sources claim that in an effort to entrench himself as indispensable from his position as one of only 32 NFL team owners, Dan Snyder has used private investigators to compile dossiers full of dirt on everyone from Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
I have been shouting from the mountaintops for years now that the only plausible explanation for Dan Snyder not being removed by the other 31 NFL owners is that there has to be a system of mutually assured destruction in place.
Dan Snyder is accused of so many misdeeds over the last two decades that we don’t have time to get to right now, but just know that the reason Snyder is in the NFL’s crosshairs in the first place has nothing to do with the toxic culture, accusations of sexual harassment, or being on the wrong side of history over the team being named the Washington Redskins.
He’s not even on the chopping block for interfering with his team’s own investigation into it’s toxic culture to the point where he had to pretend to relinquish day-to-day decision making duties to his own wife.
Dan Snyder is in deep shit because he messed with the league’s money by underreporting ticket sales to the NFL and IRS in order to pay a smaller share into the NFL’s Visiting Team Fund. Beyond that, Snyder has run this team so poorly that he risks being the first NFL owner to not be able to secure public funds for a new stadium, which will result in even less shared revenue.
Dan Snyder reportedly privately calls the NFL ownership group a “mafia,” and if he honestly believes that to be true, then he has to be a special kind of idiot for trying to steal from the mob.
All this explains why so many owners would be willing to speak to the media about Snyder, even though doing so could result in massive fines from the league office.
This media report is step one in preparing a pair of cement shoes for Dan Snyder to wear at the bottom of the Potomac.
Metaphorically, of course.
Now, for their part, the Washington Commanders organization has categorically denied ESPN’s entire report. Then again, what else do you expect them to do? The Phoenix Suns did the same thing when ESPN’s Baxter Holmes rolled out a laundry list of idiocy that Robert Sarver was involved in. One year after the report, the NBA investigated and found much of it credible, and now public pressure is resulting in Robert Sarver selling off the Phoenix Suns to the highest bidder.
What makes this report different, is that it anonymously quotes multiple NFL owners about Dan Snyder. Those quotes include:
“All the owners hate Dan.”
“(Dan Snyder told me) he has dirt on Jerry Jones.”
“(Dan Snyder) is behaving like a mad dog cornered.”
Another quote calls Dan Snyder a “bad person” and claims the owners won’t oust him because “he’ll burn their houses down.“
Now, at the heart of all of this is Jerry Jones, who has often stood alone as Dan Snyder’s only defender over the last decade.
Before this ESPN report, it was easy to assume that Jerry Jones was being selfish in his defense of Dan Snyder. It often felt like the Harlem Globetrotters defending the existence of the Washington Generals, because as long as Snyder was around to mismanage his franchise, Dallas was looking at increased odds of two extra wins per season.
There was also the thought that Jerry Jones has a little bit of a Libertarian streak, and Dan Snyder’s follies are a litmus test for what an owner is or is not allowed to do. If the NFL pushed Dan Snyder out for the way his personal life bled into how he ran his franchise, then it was only a matter of time before Jerry Jones and his many scandals would become more of a focus.
But the best explanation for why Jerry Jones backed Dan Snyder is that they have a shared hatred of Roger Goodell. We already know that they tried to use Papa John’s founder John Schnatter and his NFL sponsorship dollars to try and push Goodell out back in 2017.
It’s completely plausible that any dossier compiled on Roger Goodell wasn’t just the brainchild of Dan Snyder, but Jerry Jones as well.
But Dan Snyder, in his infinite paranoia and stupidity, decided he needed leverage on his only friend as well.
Several owners acknowledged to ESPN that they are aware Dan Snyder is using private investigators to track his contemporaries, but none would reveal their source. You could almost blame this belief on a rumor gone wild if ESPN also hadn’t quoted former Washington team executives as having heard Dan Snyder talk about it himself.
If the NFL doesn’t initiate its own investigation into whether Dan Snyder is paying to have the other owners tracked by private investigators, then that will tell you exactly what I’ve known all along- that not only is the NFL already aware of Snyder’s actions, but that they know Snyder has the goods to make it more trouble to expel him than to tolerate him.
Let that sink in.