Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder is under investigation from the F.T.C., NFL and Congress for various allegations of sexual harassment and financial misconduct under his watch. Amid rumors of NFL owners counting votes to force a sale, another form of discipline is possible.
The NFL already levied punishment against Snyder once. Following its investigation into the Commanders’ toxic culture, Snyder’s team was fined $10 million and he was pushed into stepping away from day-to-day operations. While the findings were never made public, Snyder is now facing direct allegations of sexual harassment and his club is under scrutiny from a Congressional inquiry.
Needless to say, NFL officials aren’t happy. A once-proud franchise that used to be among the biggest powers in pro football has become a stain on the league’s reputation. Far more problematic for NFL owners, Snyder’s accusation is accused of withholding revenue from the NFL.
Bylaws within the league’s rulebook allow for an owner to be removed if 24 of his peers agree that a forced sale is necessary to preserve the league’s value and credibility. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell confirmed this spring that the power exists within the league structure. But there might be a different form of punishment for Snyder.
Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson shared on the You Pod to Win the Game podcast that the NFL suspending Snyder is a possibility that needs to be taken seriously. He also suggested it is more likely to happen an outright forced sale.
All of this still depends on the NFL’s ongoing investigations. Based on recent history, evidence suggesting Synder committed sexual harassment would likely warrant a suspension in the NFL’s eyes. If the inquiry finds merit in allegations that the Commanders withheld revenue from the NFL, it could cross a boundary leading to removal.
However, that might create an ugly scenario for the NFL that could prove costly financially and to the league’s reputation.
Why the NFL might avoid removing Daniel Snyder
Daniel Snyder bought Washington’s NFL team in 1999, giving him more than two decades of first-hand knowledge of what goes on within the league. He also holds close relationships with fellow team owners, communicating with them on private channels that don’t see the public eye.
It’s precisely why many of his peers might not want to open the door to a removal. As Robinson explained, it would result in Snyder taking legal action against the NFL and that would expose the league and its owners to scrutiny and exposure they want to avoid.
“If they get rid of Snyder, however they do it, I think there will lawsuits. I think there will be litigation, discovery, depositions, there’s going to be a whole hell of a lot of things flying and I think the NFL has shown they are worried about Daniel Snyder and what he might know about the inner workings, the fact that he does know everything.”Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson on why Daniel Snyder might avoid being booted from NFL
The NFL reached settlements with Colin Kaepernick and the city of St. Louis in recent years to avoid private communications between owners from being shared publicly. If Snyder is forced out of the NFL, he certainly won’t be willing to settle and he might try and bring other team governors down with him.
If suspending Snyder for multiple seasons prevents that from happening, it might be something the NFL takes into consideration. While a suspension for the Washington Commanders owner would likely still draw public criticism, the league might prefer that to whatever he would bring to light in a legal battle. The NFL is all about the bottom line and keeping Snyder, even if he isn’t liked by his peers, might be viewed as serving the league’s interests.