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Report: NFL owners halt talk of removing Washington Commanders’ Dan Snyder

Team owners wait to see with Snyder’s attempt to sell the franchise.

27 March 2023 Ed Dixon

Getty Images

  • Vote-out will only happen if Snyder insists on being indemnified
  • Jeff Bezos, Josh Harris, Tilman Fertitta and Steve Apostolopoulos among prospective buyers

National Football League (NFL) team owners are pausing any consideration of removing Dan Snyder as owner of the Washington Commanders, according to The Washington Post.

Speculation over Snyder’s long-term future at the Commanders has intensified since the 58-year-old announced last November he had brought in Bank of America Securities to help ‘consider potential transactions’, including selling the franchise.

Snyder (pictured above), who has owned the team since 1999, is under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Virginia attorney general over allegations of financial improprieties. Former US attorney Mary Jo White is also conducting a separate review concerning allegations of workplace misconduct.

A 2021 probe had already concluded that Snyder had overseen a toxic workplace environment for more than a decade, with numerous sexual harassment incidents found to have been overlooked.

The prospect of Snyder being ousted from the Commanders has been floated, with the Indianapolis Colts’ Jim Irsay stating last October there was “merit to remove” Snyder. USA Today had reported in May 2022 that owners were plotting to force out Snyder.

However, The Washington Post reports that NFL owners are waiting to see what happens over the coming weeks and months with Snyder’s attempt to sell the franchise, his efforts to secure indemnification against legal liability and the outcome of the league’s second investigation into him and the Commanders.

The newspaper adds that owners expect to take no formal action regarding a possible Commanders sale or Snyder’s ownership status during the NFL’s three-day annual meeting, which began in Phoenix on 26th March.

There is also purportedly no formal agenda item related to Snyder or the Commanders. That said, The Washington Post states the prospective sale is expected to be discussed by the owners on the NFL’s finance committee and Snyder could be discussed during a privileged session attended only by teams’ primary owners.

Any vote to force Snyder to sell the Commanders would require the support of at least three-quarters of team owners to succeed.  

It is believed that a vote-out will only go ahead if Snyder insists on being indemnified by the NFL and other owners. If the sale plays out like Rob Walton’s acquisition of the Denver Broncos last August, no vote will be necessary.

It is unclear how insistent Snyder will be about being indemnified against legal liabilities and costs.

Prospective buyers for the Commanders include Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils owner Josh Harris, Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta, and Canadian billionaire Steve Apostolopoulos. Media entrepreneur Byron Allen and Boston Red Sox owner Fenway Sports Group (FSG) have also been linked with a deal.

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