At what point does Daniel Snyder rearrange the acronym for his team’s new name from WFT to WTF and just go ahead with selling the franchise? That’s because the former Washington Redskins, now officially the Washington Football Team for the 2020 season, have gone from the frying pan to the fire … again.
Back-to-Back crisis situations for Daniel Snyder
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re familiar with the trials and tribulations of Daniel Snyder and his NFL team. After years of impressive consistency in putting inferior products on the field, Snyder has run into back-to-back controversies off it in recent weeks.
Issue No. 1 was Snyder finally being successfully pushed to change the football team’s name and mascot. There had been pressure to do so over the years, even before he took majority control of the team in 1999. The difference-maker this time was pressure from advertisers and corporate partners, as well as the decision by several large retailers to stop selling Redskins merchandise.
Snyder’s decision to relent was still hot news when The Washington Post reported on July 16 that 15 former female employees of the team accused front-office staffers of sexual harassment and verbal abuse.
They accused Richard Mann, the assistant director of pro personnel, and Larry Michael, the senior VP of content and the play-by-player announcer, of inappropriate comments. The team announced the departure of both executives shortly before the newspaper published its story, and Snyder has denied knowledge of problems. The team is now conducting an investigation into the allegations.
Daniel Snyder may have violated the Rooney Rule
The NFL says it is reviewing whether the Washington Football Team met the requirements of the Rooney Rule while making two front-office hires this week.
According to The Washington Post, the league’s announcement came after the Fritz Pollard Alliance, which works with the NFL on its hiring practices, said it was making inquiries about the hires of Terry Bateman as executive vice president and chief marketing officer and Julie Donaldson as vice president of media, making her the team’s highest-ranking female employee.
The Rooney Rule was adopted in 2003 and is named after Dan Rooney, the late Pittsburgh Steelers owner. It requires that a team with a vacancy at certain positions interview at least one minority candidate. It initially applied to head coaches but was expanded to include positions in the front office. As of this spring, teams are required to interview at least two minority candidates from outside the organization for any head coaching vacancy.
There’s irony at work here
The revisions that the NFL made to the Rooney rule in May came in the face of criticism over changes in head coaches since the end of the 2019 season. The only minority candidate landing a job as a head coach was Ron Rivera, signed by Washington.
He joined Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Anthony Lynn of the Los Angeles Chargers, and Brian Flores of the Miami Dolphins as the NFL’s only minority head coaches among the 32 teams.
None of the four other teams making changes this offseason selected a minority candidate. Flores was the only minority hire after the 2018 season.
The Washington franchise was criticized by the Fritz Pollard Alliance in 2015 for not following protocol in filling their general manager vacancy. Though Washington interviewed New York Jets executive Rod Graves with the permission of the team, Daniel Snyder did not notify the league. The team later selected Scot McCloughan to become its new GM.
The Fritz Pollard Alliance is supposed to be notified of all interviews so that it can follow up with minority candidates to judge with the team’s interest appeared to be sincere.