Hey, NFL owners. That’s some partner you have in Dan Snyder.
Maybe now, with a Congressional committee imploring the Federal Trade Commission to dive into the alleged shady business practices of the Washington Commanders, it’s about time the partners oust Snyder from the ranks of NFL team ownership. Finally.
Snyder must go. For good. It should have already happened. Like yesterday or last year. Or years before that. Moral of the sentiment: Better late than never.
If it wasn’t enough for fellow NFL owners to detach themselves from Snyder on the principles that should have moved them as revelations and allegations stemming from the sexual harassment and workplace culture issues piled up, and to which the league responded with what amounted to a slap on the wrist, , this new wave of mess provides another opportunity for them to do the right thing.
I mean, nothing gets the attention of NFL owners quite like money. And if the details provided this week by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform prove credible, , it’s apparent that Snyder misappropriated money from his NFL partners, as well as the season-ticket buyers whose security deposits totaling $5 million were allegedly stashed in Snyder’s coffers.
That Snyder allegedly used one set of books to count his earnings and another set to turn over to the NFL for the purposes of complying with the league’s bedrock principle of revenue sharing – which in turn dictates the revenue shared with NFL players as part of the collective bargaining agreement – is some kind of scam. You’ve heard of the “Moneyball” concept. Well, add “Snyderball” to the lexicon. I’m guessing that the NFL’s finance committee headed by Kansas City Chiefs owner Clark Hunt and the audit committee headed by Houston Texans chairman Cal McNair, have a ton of concern.
The NFL has expanded the role of Mary Jo White, the former Securities and Exchange Commission chair enlisted in February to investigate the sexual harassment allegations made against Snyder by Tiffani Johnston, a former cheerleader and marketing manager for the team. Now White will also investigate the alleged financial improprieties.
That could be an ominous sign for Snyder. When White investigated former Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson of workplace misconduct in 2017, it led to the sale of the franchise.
Surely, that end game is what needs to happen here – with NFL owners empowered by their bylaws and constitution to force a sale. At the moment, Snyder is technically not involved in the day-to-day operations of the Commanders and last July was fined $10 million by the league for the shameful workplace culture findings.
Yet that fine hardly represents a dent with Snyder’s franchise worth $4.2 billion, the NFL’s fifth-most valuable team, according to the latest valuations compiled by Forbes. And with Snyder’s wife, Tanya, acting as the owner, the penalty was laughable.
Nothing short of forcing a sale – and of course, refunding the money with interest and penalties to the individuals or entities that put down deposits for roughly 2,000 premium season tickets – would represent justice.
This goes over the head of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who interestingly was one of the ticket holders allegedly fleeced by Snyder – and was also the one who contributed to the mockery by issuing such a flimsy punishment last year on Snyder the owner and allowed for the investigation conducted by Beth Wilkinson to conclude without a written report. Without the type of detailed reports the NFL released after previous investigations led by Ted Wells on Deflategate and the Miami Dolphins' bullying scandal, the lack of transparency in the Snyder case looks suspicious – especially with the league’s lead counsel, Jeff Pash, engaging in questionable (at minimum) email exchanges with former Washington GM Bruce Allen.
In any event, it’s the bosses who, per multiple reports, pay Goodell in excess of $60 million per year who should be up in arms, demanding the ultimate accountability of forcing a franchise sale.
The same can be applied to Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, alleged by his former coach, Brian Flores, to have crossed the lines drawn by the Federal Sports Bribery Act by seeking to tank games in 2019.
Think about it. In a matter of months, two of the most egregious allegations that can shake the long-established foundation of the nation’s most prosperous sports league – a suggestion to throw games and an allegedly successful effort to deceive partners to avoid sharing revenue – are suddenly in the mix.
What’s it going to take to bounce Snyder?
It should not take an act of Congress. But seeing there’s a significant boost from lawmakers in the wind, so be it. If NFL owners can gather 24 votes to pass a new overtime rule, then surely there should be a strong consensus to finally cut the cord with a partner who embarrasses them by association.
Follow USA TODAY Sports' Jarrett Bell on Twitter @JarrettBell.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NFL has to face it: Commanders owner Dan Snyder has to go