There had to be a reason that there doesn’t appear to be a significant movement by NFL team owners to try and do something to get Dan Snyder out of the league. It was one thing when he simply was spending money in all of the wrong places and gradually eroding all of the passion in one of the NFL’s top markets. However in recent years, reports have been released about the Washington football franchise that would lead a reasonable person to believe it’s as toxic as fracking wastewater.
According to a recent ESPN report, many NFL team owners do want Snyder out but they want no parts of his vengeful side. Snyder allegedly has hired private investigators to gather damaging information about the other team owners. Well, one member of the NFL’s 32 leaders who has clearly had enough and doesn’t care what information Snyder’s private investigators may or may not have. That person is Indianapolis Colts team owner Jim Irsay, and hopefully it opens the door for more NFL team owners to speak.
“I believe that there is merit to remove him as owner of the [former racial slur nickname],” Irsay said to the media in New York on Wednesday.
Merit, there certainly is that. There was the cheerleader trip of 2013 in which sex trafficking techniqes allegedly were used, the slew of employees that were fired for alledgedly sexually harrasing female employees and media, and a 2009 sexual assault accusation against Snyder by a woman who received a $1.6 million payout, which he and his attorney’s claim he agreed to only to avoid the hassle of court. Another former employee accused him earlier his year of inapropriate sexual contact in 2008. Snyder has denied all allegations of wrongdoing.
This toxic workplace culture is currently being investigated by the United States Congress, and even NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was called before the congressional committee to testify. An NFL investigation has already revealed that Washington’s workplace was indeed toxic and Snyder was fined $10 million and suspended. The situation almost sounds similar to an NBA owner who was forced to sell recently. Robert Sarver’s workplace was toxic and hostile towards women — as was he — and he was also fined $10 million and told to step away from day to day operations.
The main difference between the two is Sarver used racial slurs, while Snyder instead allowed them to be painted in the end zone, and also none of the women accused Sarver of sexual misconduct. The NFL had the results from their independent investigator presented orally, as opposed to the NBA, who released theirs publicly. Don’t expect the House Oversight Committee to act similarly to Goodell.
Sarver decided to walk away shortly after he received his punishment. Snyder is still hanging on, even though ESPN’s Seth Wickersham tweeted out that Goodell confirmed that his status hasn’t changed when it comes to his involvement with the team, while Snyder’s lawyers said that his “punishment” was over in the ESPN report. In response to Irsay’s comments, Snyder released a statement that, for a second time, denied the ESPN report, and was adamant that the franchise will not be sold.
For whatever reason, the NFL has taken no swift action to try and get rid of Snyder. Finally, at least one of the people in charge spoke up. Snyder is facing decades of allegations of sexual harrasment by his franchise, by many different people, and in two different countries. Sports Illustrated released a report about former Carolina Panthers team owner Jerry Richardson’s alleged sexual harrasment and use of a racial slur in 2017 and his team was up for sale in less than 12 hours. A man with a statue of himself outside of the Panthers’ home stadium bailed in a hurry.
Irsay told the media he’s not scared of any information that Snyder might have on him. His battle with alcoholism and prescription painkiller addiction have been public for decades. He has even spoken on the record about it.
A lot of times the whistleblowers, and other people who speak out, aren’t the most pristine figures. Yet, it’s their words that can lead to change or justice. At least we know in advance that Irsay is flawed, and it’s not some team owner whose history we don’t know that Snyder might reveal.
Irsay was right, what is alleged to have happened in Washington shouldn’t be tolerated, and allegedly, it has been tolerated for far too long, up to the point where Snyder is supposed to not have had any say in how his franchise runs for more than a year. Irsay said the loud part out loud, and now the ball is the court of the rest of the team owners.
For once there is some pressure on them to give an account for how they feel about one of their own bringing shame to the shield.