Earlier this month, it seemed that fans of the Washington Football Team might experience a future without Daniel Snyder. As of Wednesday, that hope has been stamped out. The NFL has reportedly cleared the way for Snyder to gain complete control of the franchise by buying out his minority partners’ stake.
Daniel Snyder will buy out his minority partners
Washington Football Team majority owner Daniel Snyder is one step closer to winning the power struggle over the franchise. According to Tyler Dunne, the NFL’s finance committee has approved his application for a $450 million debt waiver which would allow him to buy the shares of his minority investors. This would leave Snyder with 100% control of the franchise.
Combined, the Snyder family already owns 60% of the shares. The other 40% belongs to three minority owners — Florida financier Robert Rothman, real estate tycoon Dwight Schar, and FedEx founder Fred Smith. Snyder sold this chunk of shares in 2003 to make up for his original purchase of the club, which was heavily leveraged.
In the summer of 2020, Rothman, Schar, and Smith — unhappy with the team’s direction under Snyder — tried to sell their shares back. Snyder blocked the sale, using his right of first refusal. This led to a prolonged legal battle over the fall and winter.
Washington Football Team dealt with a year of crisis
The power struggle among the franchise’s owners is far from the only crisis the Washington Football Team has had to face in the past twelve months.
Across July 2020, the Washington Post published an explosive series of investigative articles which pointed to a toxic and sexist atmosphere within the team. 15 female employees went public with allegations that Snyder fostered a workplace culture that bred rampant harassment. According to the Sporting News, two team employees lost their jobs in the immediate aftermath while a third resigned voluntarily.
All the while, the team is still trying to figure out what they’ll be called for the foreseeable future. Recently, they announced that the placeholder name would remain for at least the 2021 season while they explored other options. However, team president Jason Wright has told ESPN that they may actually stick with “Football Team” permanently.
Miraculously, even amidst all of this, the football team managed to make the playoffs in 2020. Granted, it helps that they play in the NFL’s worst division. Still, even winning seven games with this circus in the background has to be an achievement.
What happened to the NFL’s investigation of Daniel Snyder?
Snyder may be on the verge of claiming 100% ownership, but he isn’t completely out of the woods yet. The NFL and attorney Beth Wilkinson are still (supposedly) conducting an investigation into the aforementioned workplace conduct.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell addressed the investigation at a press conference shortly before the Super Bowl in February. According to the Washington Post, he stated that Wilkinson was “nearing the completion of her work.”
Worryingly, it’s been a month and a half, and we’ve heard no word from the league on this matter since.
At one point, it seemed that the NFL already came to a conclusion on what to do with Snyder. Pages from the investigation which leaked to Washington radio station 106.7 The Fan reportedly contained recommendations that the league force Snyder to sell the franchise. Of course, this does not jibe with the events that transpired today.
There have even been accusations that Snyder has used social media “bots” to paint him in a more positive light. Snyder’s camp has, of course, shot back at these allegations.
“Dan Snyder unequivocally denies ever using bots or fake accounts to put out favorable news stories,” his attorney, Jordan Siev, told ProFootballTalk. “In fact, over the past year, thousands of bots have popped up in a coordinated campaign to spread misinformation about Dan and the Washington Football Team, all of which have been reported as such to various social media sites.”