Daniel Snyder is an owner cornered and quickly running out of time

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Daniel Snyder is an owner cornered and quickly running out of time

Football

Daniel Snyder is an owner cornered and quickly running out of time

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Dan Snyder may finally be approaching the end of his rope with his legal matters and as an owner in the National Football League. In a press release issued by the Washington Commanders, both Dan and Tanya Snyder hired Bank of America to “consider potential transactions,” which many took to mean the Snyders were finally going to sell the team. But this is also classic Dan Snyder, so while such a statement could indicate he will finally sell, the ambiguity of his intentions leaves many unanswered questions.

One question is whether he is selling 100% of the Commanders or only a minority stake. Nonetheless, the possibility he might actually do the right thing won’t be believed until new ownership arrives in Washington. Of interest, is the lack of denial from the Snyder camp that BofA was asked to vet potential buyers. Additionally, no spokesperson for the team offered any pushback or denial about a sale being imminent or regarding a story in Forbes that up to four groups have spoken to Snyder about buying the team. 

So does that mean Snyder has read the writing on the wall, or is he looking to simply buy more time? At the upcoming owners meeting scheduled for December, the idea that a small cadre of owners could vote for his removal would be a motivator to let a pending sale story out to the media. If some owners decide to take a “wait and see” approach, that works well for Team Snyder. Especially with one card he is keeping close to his vest, and that is some potential information bombs he may have on his fellow owners, the NFL offices in Manhattan, and the commissioner himself. The ever persistent rumors of his private investigators collecting dirt is one of those tidbits some owners and team executives would just as soon avoid, especially if they themselves are targets. Nonetheless, the timing of all this has gotten the attention of the NFL. If there is no vote by 24 owners, Snyder only buys a reprieve from what still appears as inevitable: the sale of his team.

That’s only the tip of the iceberg. His legal issues have all but killed the prospects of a new stadium deal in Virginia. The Commanders had the second-worst gate revenue in 2021 next to only the Detroit Lions. The media market in D.C. is rich with tradition and part of a string of flagship cities and team’s critical to the league. Along with New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, Washington is part of a dollars and cents equation that team owners want. But when the product on the field is bad, and the owner and organization are worse, then the NFL has a big problem with Dan Snyder.

With multiple battles on multiple fronts, Snyder is under siege. From an investigation being assumed by the office in Manhattan, a lawsuit involving former Raiders coach Jon Gruden, a workplace probe conducted by a congressional oversight committee, and a federal probe focused on financial irregularities stemming from what has been found inside the organization being run by the attorneys general in D.C. and Virginia, trouble is now a constant companion for an owner on the ropes.

If this were a movie, the plot lines would be numerous and almost unbelievable. His fellow owners would love to see a deal he can’t refuse fall directly in his lap and solve the problem for them.

The NFL is potentially unlocking a Pandora’s box that is fraught with unknowns. It’s a slippery slope that the NBA has been willing to deal with head-on. Dan Snyder is bad for professional football. The time is now for the other owners to act, not just for their own good, but to save a storied franchise whose stain grows every time Snyder touches it.

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