Dan Snyder's preliminary deal to sell Commanders to Josh Harris reportedly now in NFL's hands

Dan Snyder's exit from the NFL is one step closer.

The NFL has received the terms of Snyder's sale of the Washington Commanders to Josh Harris' group for $6 billion, Sportico reported Monday. NFL Network confirmed the report. Snyder and Harris, who is the Philadelphia 76ers majority owner, agreed to a preliminary deal last week.

Per the report, the NFL will either approve the deal as it stands or send it back to both parties with alterations. If approved by the league office and signed by both parties, the sale would become official when NFL team owners submit final approval.

Harris, who also owns the NHL’s New Jersey Devils alongside business partner David Blitzer, agreed to buy the franchise as the leader of a proposed ownership group that includes NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson and D.C.-area billionaire and Fortune 500 co-founder Mitchell Rales.

Dan Snyder's agreement to sell the Commanders is now in the hands of the NFL. (Mark J. Rebilas/Reuters)
Dan Snyder's agreement to sell the Commanders is now in the hands of the NFL. (Mark J. Rebilas/Reuters)

The sale would end a tumultuous 24-year ownership reign under Snyder that's prompted NFL investigations and Congressional inquiries and led to the alienation of one of sports' most passionate fan bases.

Snyder's alleged multitude of transgressions and mismanagement prompted speculation that the NFL would considering forcing him to sell — a decision that would require approval of 24 of the NFL's other 31 team owners. But Snyder, who insisted in the past that he wouldn't sell, reached a deal with Harris without forcing the league's hand.

Snyder purchased the franchise from then-recently departed owner Jack Kent Cooke in 1999 for $800 million. Under Cooke's leadership, Washington went to five Super Bowls and won three. Since Snyder bought the team, Washington's made six playoff appearances in 24 seasons and hasn't advanced past the divisional round of the playoffs.

Snyder repeatedly declined under pressure to change the name of the franchise from "Redskins," a moniker long derided as a racial slur. He eventually did so in 2020 in the midst of the nation's racial reckoning following George Floyd's murder only after corporate sponsors threatened to pull their funding.

Multiple Washington Post investigations uncovered allegations from more than 40 women of sexual harassment and a toxic workplace culture under Snyder, including an allegation that Snyder ordered the compilation of video footage of partially nude team cheerleaders without their consent.

In a separate incident, a cheerleader accused Snyder of strategically sitting next to her at a team dinner, where she said he touched her leg without her consent. The Commanders reached multiple confidential settlements regarding the workplace misconduct allegations.

Snyder was also accused in 2022 of financial impropriety involving failure to disclose ticket revenue to fellow owners and defrauding season-ticket holders of refundable deposits. The workplace misconduct and financial impropriety allegations both prompted inquiries from Congress, which determined that Snyder "permitted and participated" in toxic conduct and provided "misleading testimony about his efforts to interfere" with an NFL investigation.

All the while, fans stopped showing up. A franchise that used to claim years-long waiting lists for season tickets was reduced to reducing capacity at Fedex Field as Washington regularly ranked near the bottom of the NFL in attendance.

Those struggles and alleged transgressions amid a litany of others ultimately led up to Snyder's decision to sell the team at 58 years old. If the sale is approved as is, Snyder would net a $5.2 billion profit on his initial $800 million investment.

(Disclosure: Josh Harris is a co-founder of Apollo Global Management, which owns Yahoo, Inc. He left the private equity firm in 2022.)