CultureSaturday 04.23.22

Washington Commanders Owner Dan Snyder vs. the NFL

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Could this be the end of the line for Daniel Snyder? Last week the House Committee on Oversight and Reform wrote that the Washington Commanders owner and his team “may have engaged in a troubling, long-running, and potentially unlawful pattern of financial conduct,” according to a letter the committee sent to the Federal Trade Commission.

The allegations include the withholding of millions of dollars from season ticket holders in the form of refundable deposits, and disguising ticket income that should have been part of the NFL’s revenue-sharing pool (teams must give 40% of their home ticket sales to the league for equal redistribution among its 32 franchises).

The story is developing, and the charges at its heart are still unproved. On Monday the Commanders sent a letter of their own to the Federal Trade Commission, denying the accusations made to the House committee by former franchise employee Jason Friedman, who attributed the dissimulation to “the direction and for the benefit of Mr. Snyder.”

But this is far from the first controversy to dog the Commanders. Last year, the NFL fined the team $10 million after a third-party investigation revealed that women in the organization were repeatedly harassed, intimidated, and bullied. Snyder was momentarily removed from running the team’s day-to-day operations.

Separately, in February a former Washington Commanders cheerleader told the same House committee that Snyder had sexually harassed her. The NFL responded that it would look into the matter, but the league has been criticized for basically slapping Snyder on the wrist and allowing him to continue owning the franchise.

And in yet another case, in 2009 Snyder paid a woman $1.6 million to settle an allegation of sexual misconduct springing from an incident that occurred on his private plane.

If the NFL comes to ax Snyder, its response to these latest financial allegations would contrast with its punishments to previous scandals. If you want to sexually harass, intimidate, or bully female employees, the NFL will look the other way. Mess with the owners’ money, however, and you’ll have another thing coming.

In other words, cash is king for the NFL. Will and LZ talk about Snyder’s future, and how it reflects on the league that doubles as a playground for rich owners with sketchy reputations.

The Long Game