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Washington Commanders’ Daniel Snyder’s strategy could be ‘ploy’ against Jeff Bezos

Matt Johnson

Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder is considering selling the NFL franchise he bought in 1999 and grew up a fan of for decades. While there remains significant uncertainty surrounding Snyder’s plans, some around the NFL believe they know the motivation for it.

Snyder hired Bank of America Securities to evaluate the possibilities for a sale, ranging from selling a partial stake in the franchise to putting the entire team up for bids. Immediately after the Commanders announced the news, multiple celebrities and billionaires expressed interest.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, celebrities Kevin Durant, Matthew McConaughey and Jay-Z, along with billionaires Byron Allen and Matt Ishbia have publicly expressed interest in buying the Commanders. More names are expected to get involved and any sale would set a record for the most ever spent on an American sports franchise.

Related: Daniel Snyder set staggering ‘magic number’ for Washington Commanders sale

ESPN’s Don Van Natta Jr. shared on the ESPN Daily podcast that many believe Snyder’s strategy with the Commanders could be fueled by his desire to get back at Bezos and The Washington Post.

“We’re also hearing that part of Snyder’s strategy could be a ploy to get Amazon founder and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos to bid for the team. This would add fuel to Snyder’s contention that The Post was out to get him so Bezos could step up and purchase the Commanders.”

Don Van Natta Jr. on reports of Daniel Snyder’s plan with Washington Commanders

There is a long history between Bezos and Snyder that would definitively impact a potential sale. The NFL might love the possibility of having one of the richest people in the United States join its ownership group, especially because of the record-setting price he could pay for the Commanders and the impact that would have on franchise values for all 32 teams.

Related: Prominent NFL officials want Black majority team owner

However, Peter King of NBC Sports previously wrote that he believes Snyder will never sell the Commanders to Bezos and there is a rationale behind it.

History between Jeff Bezos, Daniel Snyder

NFL: Washington Commanders at Dallas Cowboys
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Bezos acquired The Washington Post In 2014, paying $250 million to buy one of the most popular newspapers in the United States. Years later, The Post first reported more than a dozen allegations of the Commanders’ toxic culture of sexual harassment and verbal abuse under Snyder’s lead.

More women came forward after the original report in July 2020. Former Washington cheerleaders detailed alarming details of the workplace culture in Snyder’s organization, with allegations ranging from sexist rules to Snyder requesting a custom lewd video of the cheerleaders without their consent.

The NFL found validity to the claims following an independent investigation, fining Snyder $10 million and requiring him to remove himself from overseeing day-to-day operations. The Commanders’ owner said he was “hands-off” what happened within the organization and suggested the toxic team culture was a result of specific individuals who were no longer employed by the franchise.

Multiple current and former team employees later refuted that notion, telling The Post that the organizational culture was exactly how Snyder wanted it to be and the environment he created was like “an abusive relationship” that he allowed to happen.

Snyder reportedly believes all of this was an intentional act by Bezos’ newspaper to damage the NFL owner’s character. Multiple reports indicate Snyder is convinced that all of this is happening because Bezos wants to force Snyder out so he can buy the Commanders.

It remains very possible that Snyder sells the Commanders within the next year, but it’s evident his feelings about Bezos could have a significant influence on the process.

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