Washington owner Dan Snyder gets off easy with fine

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It’s not often you are fined $10 million and somehow appear unscathed.

Well, most people aren’t NFL owners, where a $10 million fine is a drop in the bucket for one of the richest and most powerful men in the United States.

The NFL fined the Washington Football Team and owner Daniel Snyder $10 million last week for the rampant misconduct in the organization during his tenure as owner. Snyder immediately released a statement through the team’s official website, where he ultimately pleaded ignorance.

This is the first paragraph of Snyder’s statement:

I have learned a lot in the past few months about how my club operated, and the kind of workplace that we had. It is now clear that the culture was not what it should be, but I did not realize the extent of the problems, or my role in allowing that culture to develop and continue. I know that as the owner, I am ultimately responsible for the workplace. I have said that and I say it again.

Also, in his statement, Snyder said he would step aside from the day-to-day operations of the team for the next several months, and co-CEO — Snyder’s wife Tanya — would oversee the team and represent the club in all league matters.

There was no suspension for Snyder. Sure, some would interpret his stepping away from day-to-day management of the team as a suspension, but it isn’t. If Snyder was going to be suspended, the NFL would have announced it.

Instead, the fine is paid, Snyder says he is backing off, and before you know it, he is back like nothing ever happened.

Mark Maske of the Washington Post did say NFL commissioner Roger Goodell would have to approve of Snyder’s return to daily control of the team.

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Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post summarized the NFL’s “punishment” perfectly.

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Beth Wilkinson’s investigation into Washington’s workplace culture lasted for close to one year. Ultimately, the team was fined $10 million, yet there is no written report for the public to review? Don’t blame Wilkinson.

Snyder can still court investors, work on a new stadium, but gets a vacation of sorts from running the team on a day-to-day basis. Oh, and he can still attend games.

Does anyone believe Snyder isn’t going to be heavily involved in day-to-day operations when his wife is the co-CEO? Sure, he won’t be in Ashburn every day, but this is 2021; there are plenty of ways he can stay involved.

Through Wilkinson’s investigation, the NFL determined that many allegations involving the misconduct, particularly toward women, did exist. They admitted so in a statement. However, instead of truly punishing Snyder, they helped him buy out his former minority owners to take 100% control of the franchise.

What kind of message does that send?

Over the past year, there were plenty of rumors about what would happen to Snyder at the end of Wilkinson’s investigation. Most realized nothing of consequence would happen, such as forcing him to sell, because other NFL owners feared the bad precedent that could set.

The NFL hopes Snyder has learned his lesson. Perhaps he has. But there are over 20 years of data points suggesting otherwise.

There is hope for fans of the Washington Football Team, though. Snyder’s hiring of head coach Ron Rivera and team president Jason Wright have ushered in a new era. In addition to Rivera and Wright, Washington has also hired several other talented and diverse leaders, signifying a positive organizational shift.

Rivera and Wright are respected around the league and are good human beings. That cannot be overlooked. The franchise is actually making sound decisions, earning respect from other teams and fans.

On the field, it certainly feels like Washington is turning the corner. But we’ll know for sure after the 2021 season. It’s important to remember; the Football Team did finish 7-9 last season.

As for Snyder, he and the organization will pay the fine, say a lesson was learned and return to the team. Only time well if he’s truly changed.