We’ve been waiting over 20 years for this. Dan Snyder’s Reign of Error - his 149-202-1 (42% winning percentage) debacle of an ownership tenure - is as close to being upturned as it ever has been. Through incompetent general managers, bumbling coaches, embarrassing exposes, and futility on and off the field, Snyder has stubbornly stuck around, making his case solidly as one of the worst owners in American professional sports.
By any objective set of metrics, Snyder’s ownership experience with Washington’s football team has been an abject failure:
- Of 30 stadiums in the NFL, FedEx Field is consistently rated the worst one in the entire league. Any fans who have had the displeasure of attending a game in the immediate pre-COVID years can confirm. Sure, Snyder and his now disaffected henchman, Bruce Allen, made hamfisted overtures to Maryland, Virginia, and DC to try to explore new sites for a future stadium, but both men were so broadly disliked and distrusted that after years of lobbying, an alternative location appears no more likely than it did 10 years ago. In the meantime, Snyder has let FedEx decline into irrelevancy. Very few fans are dull-witted enough to want to pay 2021 prices for a 1994 gameday experience.
- When Snyder bought the Washington Redskins in 1999, they were - per Forbes - the most valuable franchise in the NFL. Two years ago, I wrote a piece about how poor the team’s valuation was compared to other franchises, as it had dropped to the fifth most valuable team in 1999. As of last year, the Washington Football Team’s valuation had fallen to 8th in the league. I don’t suspect it’s improved with the controversies and ownership squabbling of the past year.
- The team’s record speaks for itself over the past 20 years. Snyder’s record over that period puts him firmly in the least successful 2 or 3 owners in the NFL. Recent management turnover in some of the other terrible franchises (the Cardinals and Bills), risks securing Snyder’s position further.
- Snyder’s meddling in football affairs is legendary, and legendarily unsuccessful. His 2019 drafting of Dwayne Haskins over the objections of his coaching and scouting staff, resulted in one of the most notable and egregious wastes of draft capital in the past decade.
A more thorough accounting of Snyder’s ownership nightmare and the toll it’s taken on fans can be found here, but the reality is, none of the things mentioned above were going to unseat Snyder. In fact, other owners in the NFL, like Jerry Jones, have probably relished being able to count upon Washington’s ill-managed franchise for one or two easy wins per year. If fielding a bad team was enough to force an ownership change, the Lions would have been yanked from Ford family hands decades ago.
Things Have Changed
In the last year or so, however, the situation has taken a dark turn for our diminutive despot. A growing corpus of claims from former employees about an abusive culture run amok and repeated incidents of sexual harassment led to the firing and forced retirements of several key staff and, at this point, a near complete overhaul of the senior positions within the organization.
That vast turnover leaves an unusual opening. Snyder is, effectively, a man on an island. All of the other, assorted, unsavory staff who bore some responsibility for the dysfunction are gone. He alone remains to shoulder the blame.
The new staff have two options: Proceed as though the WFT is a “normal” organization and eventually - as everyone who passes through the doors at Ashburn does - get smeared by association with the taint of Snyder’s ineptitude and pettiness, or; Execute a peaceful coup from within the organization, collectively refusing to serve on behalf of the WFT until Snyder sells the team or is forcibly removed by the league.
Players’ strikes and lockouts are a relatively common phenomenon in professional sports, but what isn’t common is what I’m calling for here: A front office strike aimed at unseating an incompetent, malicious owner who wields his power with the grace of a syphilitic Eurasian monarch out of the history books. The madness of King Dan has reached such depths that even his Rasputin has turned on him.
Ron Rivera, Jason Wright, Julie Donaldson, Martin Mayhew, these are respected figures throughout the league who, collectively, have the reputation and clout that, if they were to speak up and stand in solidarity with the cheerleading staff (and others) who have alleged years of abuse and harassment at Snyder’s hands, could effect a massive change:
“You better keep them skinny with big t-ts or I’ll f---ing kill you,” Wells said Snyder told him at a 2004 charity event where the cheerleading squad performed.
With Beth Wilkinson’s investigative report on the verge of being released to the NFL, the time is right to strike with a one/two punch against Snyder’s stake in the team.
(Fingers crossed) A primary recommendation by Wilkinson that Snyder should be forcibly divested of ownership paired with a unified statement of the highest ranking voices within the organization that, based on their experience within the organization and the experiences of previous employees, they are unwilling to continue to serve under the unfit ownership of Dan Snyder, would virtually seal the transition, and would immediately elevate to hero status the reputations of those willing to stand up for the long suffering fanbase and former employees of this organization.
Such a move would coalesce the leadership and cultural seriousness of the front office and go a long way towards endearing them with the future ownership group. Let me be blunt, I want Rivera, Wright, Donaldson, and Mayhew to remain and to be successful in Washington, but the track record is clear, that can’t be done with Snyder at the helm, meddling in football operations and crushing the morale of his staff with his all-encompassing insecurity. The iron is heating up, the time to strike is now.
Would you support a move by senior front office staff to oust Dan Snyder?
This poll is closed
No, that’s a terrible idea.
I’m not sure.
Dan Snyder is just misunderstood.