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NFL owners getting tired of the Dan Snyder problem and counting the votes

More smoke

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NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Washington Football Team Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a little quiet on the Dan Snyder news front lately. The NFL’s investigation into the latest sexual harassment/misconduct allegations let by Mary Jo White hasn’t had any new information reported since it was announced the NFL was once again taking over an investigation that Snyder tried to start on his own. White has been tasked with crises managing two other issues the NFL wants to discredit and bury since then, so she has her hands full with coverups this year.

Last night’s report came from USA Today’s Jarrett Bell, who spoke with 4 NFL owners to check the temperature on the Dan Snyder problem, which doesn’t seem to be going away despite his denials and the NFL’s protection. The NFL’s Spring League meetings are this week, and Snyder’s disastrous ownership of Washington’s franchise is on at least a few other owner’s minds. One fellow owner expressed the frustration that other owners have felt.

“There’s growing frustration about the Washington situation and not over one issue, but over how much smoke there is. I think everybody’s getting tired of it.”

The Dan Snyder problem has been mostly a PR issue the NFL has had to deal with. Snyder originally requested a written report from Beth Wilkinson on Washington’s toxic workplace and sexual harassment allegations. When the NFL took over the investigation, Roger Goodell only wanted a verbal report, and there was an agreement that both sides (the team and the league) could control what got released to the public. This led to very little information coming out. The organization was fined $10 million, and Dan Snyder took an unenforced leave from the team while his wife Tanya was named co-CEO in order to make her the public face of the family and the team.

This slap on the wrist didn’t sit well with fans, the media, and some of the other owners.

According to two owners, the lack of a written report that would have ensured better transparency was one of the concerns vehemently raised by owners to Goodell during the meetings in March.

“We don’t know what’s going on in Washington,” one of the owners said. “There’s a lot of frustration with that. My instincts are that there will be a harder push for more information.”

At the very least, the first owner contended, Snyder should have received much harsher discipline from Goodell after the NFL “investigation” in 2021 confirmed toxic workplace improprieties that [had] existed for more than a decade. Last July, Goodell fined Snyder $10 million, and rather than officially suspend the owner (which once derailed then-San Francisco 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr.), the league and Snyder agreed to an arrangement that allowed the owner to give up “day-to-day control” while remaining engaged in efforts to strike a deal for a new stadium.

The House Committee on Oversight and Reform got involved, and started their own investigation into Dan Snyder and the workplace violations that have taken place during his ownership. This led to a new NFL-led investigation, and also brought new allegations about Snyder, including some on the financial side. The big one that raised a fan’s hope that Snyder would finally be ousted was that he had withheld money from home games from the league’s other 31 owners.

“If that happened, I think that’s the nail in the coffin,” another NFL team owner told USA TODAY Sports under the condition of anonymity. The owner did not want to be identified, due to the sensitive nature of the matter.

“For the first time, there’s been chatter,” the second team owner told USA TODAY Sports. “We should really think about doing something if they find something there.”

“There’s a feeling, a sense of disappointment amongst the owners that I talk to – I don’t talk to them all, but owners who come to the meetings and are active – that he wasn’t suspended. Disappointment that Roger did not act stronger.”

And if the allegations of financial improprieties hold up?

“Certainly, that would be a major, major issue,” the team owner replied.

Owners brought up the Dan Snyder problem last month at last month’s league meetings, and he will likely be a topic again this week.

A fourth team owner, speaking under the condition of anonymity, told USA TODAY Sports that the brewing anti-Snyder movement is significant – and was before the latest allegations surfaced. The owner, who requested anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the matter, described a session during the last league meeting in late March in Palm Beach, Florida, that included commissioner Roger Goodell and owners, when several owners openly expressed their angst.

“We are counting votes,” the team owner told USA TODAY Sports.

Another issue that has other owners frustrated with Dan Snyder’s more than two decade-long ownership has been the deterioration of the market and the fanbase in Washington. This was one once a respected team and organization that had a stranglehold on the market, but the losing and constant negative press has driven fans way from the franchise.

“I don’t know if he did these things they’re alleging now,” one of the owners said. “But I do know that no one in that market likes the guy.”

As one of the other owners put it, “There are some owners who believe the league will be better off with a different owner in Washington. At one time, it was one of the best franchises in the NFL.”

There has been talk of ousting Dan Snyder in the past, but actually kicking an owner out of that exclusive club is still not looking likely until some of the allegations against him are actually proven in court, or something else even worse comes out. The NFL has been protecting Snyder, as they have done and will continue to do with other owners. Jerry Jones is one of the most influential owners in the league, and he has a very close relationship with Snyder.

Most Washington fans would celebrate the removal of Dan Snyder, but until 24 other owners vote to make that happen, he will continue his reign of error. One of the four NFL owners from the article gave Jarrett Bell the answer that seems most likely from the majority of the other owners; that is, he’ll wait and see what happens with all of the investigations. The long wait continues.