Dan Snyder May Finally Sell the Washington Commanders

            The Washington Commanders, formerly known as the Washington Redskins and the Washington Football Team, may be on the market sooner rather than later. Commanders’ owner Dan Snyder and his wife Tanya Snyder announced on Wednesday that they have hired Bank of America to consider possible transactions[1]. What that means no one really knows quite yet. The Snyders could be searching for a minority owner, but all speculation points to them moving on from the franchise that they have owned for 23 years. The Snyders own the entire team that Forbes has valued at $5.6 billion[2].

            If a majority stake is sold, multiple reports have suggested that there is a clear leading candidate to make the purchase: Amazon’s own Jeff Bezos[3].

            This news comes only a few weeks after Colts Owner Jim Irsay told reporters at the annual NFL owners’ meetings that he believes there is merit to removing Snyder as an owner[4]. He also said that Snyder has a longstanding issue with workplace misconduct and that the owners should set an example of what the league needs to stand for. Irsay’s comments came a few days after Snyder had proclaimed he had compiled dirt on many of the NFL owners and Commissioner Roger Goodell which, if revealed, could blow up the league[5].

            The Washington franchise over the years has been very problematic. Since Snyder took ownership of the franchise in 1999, it has dealt with numerous scandals and legal battles. Now, on the same day that it is revealed that Snyder is looking at numerous options on what to do with the team, the U.S. attorney’s office in the Eastern District of Virginia has opened a criminal investigation into allegations that the Washington Commanders engaged in financial improprieties[6]. The NFL in April engaged former SEC chair, Mary Jo White, to investigate this matter, and the review is ongoing. The House Committee said in a letter to the FTC that it had found evidence of deceptive business practices that span more than a decade, including withholding ticket revenue from visiting teams and refundable deposits from fans. One former employee has also said while testifying that the franchise has kept two separate financial books: one with underreported ticket revenue that went to the NFL and the full, complete picture. According to other testimony, there was other financial misconduct that made it intentionally difficult for fans to recoup refundable deposits from season tickets, as well as shifting some of the revenue incurred from season tickets to other events at Fed Ex Field as a way of hiding that revenue from the NFL. Jason Friedman, who was a longtime vice president of Commanders sales and customer service, testified that ticket sales from Washington games were shifted to a 2013 Kenny Chesney concert and a 2014 Navy-Notre Dame college football game to “juice” revenue and keep it off the books shared with the NFL[7]. This investigation is still ongoing, and it will be interesting to see what comes out of these allegations against Snyder and the franchise.

            This scandal is just one of many for this franchise. Snyder was recently involved in a workplace discrimination and harassment investigation[8].  Although Snyder was not listed as a harasser himself, he was accused of fostering a hostile work environment. The league has also investigated Snyder personally regarding the nature of the Commanders’ workplace[9].  Snyder[HD1]  also faced serious criticism when he previously said he would never change the name of the franchise from “Redskins[10].” Due to immense pressure from the NFL and FedEx, the team’s facility sponsor, he eventually changed the name, but not without threats from major sponsors of cutting ties with the franchise unless it was changed.

            Snyder has been rubbing the league wrong for a long time now. With new scandals and legal battles coming out more frequently than any other team in the league, it might be time for the Snyders to sell the team. If they do go in that direction, it will be interesting to see who else emerges as a competitor to Jeff Bezos as a potential suitor, as many are projecting this to be the most expensive sale of an NFL franchise ever. If Snyder ultimately elects to keep the team, it wouldn’t be surprising[HD2]  if the owners came together in an attempt to remove Snyder from ownership sooner rather than later due to the constant headache he has brought the league over the years.

  1. https://www.virginiabusiness.com/article/snyder-considering-sale-of-washington-commanders/#:~:text=Daniel%20and%20Tanya%20Snyder%20are,according%20to%20a%20news%20release.
  2. https://www.forbes.com/sites/mikeozanian/2022/11/02/dan-snyder-hires-bank-of-america-to-sell-washington-commanders/?sh=128d8fa46479
  3. https://www.washingtonian.com/2022/11/02/could-jeff-bezos-be-the-next-washington-commanders-owner/
  4. https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2022/10/18/jim-irsay-dan-snyder-nfl-owners/
  5. Id.
  6. https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/34934158/sources-us-attorney-office-investigating-commanders-alleged-financial-improprieties
  7. Id.
  8. https://thehill.com/homenews/house/3533042-goodell-tells-lawmakers-commanders-had-unacceptable-workplace-culture/
  9. https://www.si.com/nfl/commanders/news/lacking-courage-washington-commanders-dan-snyder-blasted-decline-toxic-workplace-hearing
  10. https://www.sportingnews.com/us/nfl/news/redskins-name-timeline-washington-football-team/1uk394uouwi631k7poirtq1v1s#:~:text=2013%3A%20Snyder%20infamously%20tells%20USA,%E2%80%94%20you%20can%20use%20caps.%E2%80%9D
  11. Photo: https://www.nbcsports.com/washington/football-team/washington-football-team-renamed-commanders

 [HD1]The next sentence is duplicative.

 [HD2]Don’t randomly insert first person here when the rest of the post is in third person.

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I am a third year law student at the University at Buffalo. I wish to pursue either personal injury or sports law in my career after law school.

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