Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
September 28, 2023

Dan Snyder holds the league hostage

By TIMOTHY MCSHEA | November 5, 2022



Dan Snyder, the owner of the Washington Commanders, continues his track record of being one of the most controversial figures in the NFL today.

If you’re a fan of the Washington Commanders, you probably hate Dan Snyder. If you are a human with a proclivity for human decency, chances are you too will hate the Commanders’ owner after reading this article. 

For one thing, if you are a National Football League (NFL) fan who cares about great stadiums that ensure the safety of fans and players alike, then you would not be pleased with FedEx Field. One example of the decrepit state of the Commander’s stadium was seen last year when a railing adjacent to the tunnel collapsed from the weight of Philadelphia Eagles fans greeting their quarterback, Jalen Hurts. The Eagles QB himself was able to avoid the crash, but several fans fell from a considerable height into the tunnel. The fans turned out fine, but as Hurts said afterward, it could have been much worse.

If you’re skeptical about Dan Snyder’s connection to the incident, consider the fact that the delayed search for a new stadium was partially because of the local government's decision to pull any public funding. 

“I don’t have confidence in The Washington Commanders as a viable NFL Franchise,” Virginia state senator Chap Peterson explained.

Why does Senator Peterson believe this? Well, look no further than Snyder’s Congressional deposition, where he had to answer to the House Oversight Committee for the hostile workplace allegations that had been enumerated for years — the most serious allegations being related to sexual harassment and assault. 

One specific example was an anonymous allegation by an attorney working for the team, who accused Snyder of asking for sex, touching her inappropriately and attempting to take her clothes off on a flight back from Las Vegas. Snyder denied the claims, but the team allegedly paid her a settlement of $1.6 million. This is only one example of a whole series of disgusting allegations.

When one looks at Dan Snyder’s reputation — a rich, ignorant NFL owner without any sense of self-reflection — you’d think he would fit in with a group of 32 other, sometimes richer, jerks. But it seems that and even behind the scenes, Snyder is far from liked. Jim Irsay, the owner of the Indianapolis Colts, came out swinging, saying that kicking out Dan Snyder merits “serious consideration,” and while the other owners have remained relatively quiet, several insider reports tell of a general dislike of Snyder.

Their reasons, of course, are very different from the fan’s perspective. For the owners from their avaricious eyes, it all amounts to the financial failings of the Commanders. They aren’t struggling in terms of revenue, but various shady dealings have occurred, calling for investigations by the NFL. 

In one instance a report came out claiming that the Commanders had held back ticket revenue that was owed to the NFL. All NFL teams are required to send 40% of their ticket sales to the NFL, and according to the House Oversight Committee, at least one person gave information that the Commanders had not fulfilled that ratio. 

In a more specific instance just this past month, the Commanders reportedly bounced a $14,822 check to a raffle winner. The ticket was part of a 50/50 lottery, where half of the pot went to charity and the other half to a random ticket holder. After struggling for a month to get in contact with the Commander’s front office to report the bounce, which had cost the fan a $15 dollar fee with his bank, the team finally reached out due to backlash and wired him the agreed amount. Such dysfunction is a constant part of the Commander’s franchise, which shows Snyder’s ineptitude at maintaining a stable and organized work environment.

When ESPN reported on Snyder’s “dirt” on other NFL owners, we caught a glimpse at another origin of their hatred. Supposedly according to several inside sources, including unnamed NFL team owners themselves, Snyder has hired private investigative firms to gather information on owners, past employees and even NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell as a last resort to prevent the forced removal of his ownership. Like a spoiled kid afraid of losing his candy (or in this case his precious team, which he was a fan of as a kid), Snyder is pointing the knife back at the rest of the league. 

“They can’t f--- with me,” he reportedly said to an associate.

The first initial reaction is naturally intrigue — what kind of evil stuff will be revealed? After all, unless you adhere to the old “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” adage, we as fans of the NFL don’t really have to pick sides (unless it’s for the team on the field). 

In recent memory, the Colin Kaepernick situation spurned a league-wide drama that saw fans turn against organizations and organizations against fans, and I think a very similar element is present in this story. 

If I’m rooting for anything, it’s for Snyder to go down, and what’s revealed is revealed. Even if all Snyder has is a couple of parking tickets, it would be a little bit of payback for all the reporting on players’ speed tickets that always seem to come up sporadically throughout the season. Players garner most of the narratives around football and I think it’s time we see the breadheads duke it out.

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