It’s difficult to find anyone in the DC area that actually likes Dan Snyder the person, the businessman, and the owner of the Washington… Commanders. Not liking somebody though doesn’t mean you can simply get them replaced. It takes an act or string of acts that are financially detrimental to The Shield, which must be protected at all cost. Typically when the league has had trouble among the ownership groups and upper management, it finds a way to have it swept under the rug until cooler heads prevail, and or the court of public opinion forgets what they were upset about. This model has worked for the league in several instances in the past.
Jimmy Haslam had negative attention brought his way as a result of an alleged scheme his company was accused of creating and maintaining through his Pilot Flying J truck stops. The story made a little noise and people called for him to be stripped of the team, but years later he’s still in the big chair. Eddie DeBartolo was asked to step away from team business operations after it was found that he had illegally purchased a Louisiana gambling license. He complied and turned over power to his sister, but it wasn’t a forced sale. The only time the league in recent history has actually forced a sale was with Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson. It was discovered that he had made settlement payments on multiple occasions to people over inappropriate workplace langue. Basically he dropped the N bomb a few times and then gave out hush money to people, but it wasn’t hush enough evidently. The league had decided potential blow back justified them telling him to hit the road.
Now back to Washington. Snyder has a long list of dirty business practices from his various companies. Snyder communications had their thing. While the owner of several Six Flags locations he had issues there before he was… removed from that board. However the big stuff has come up with the football team, or… artists formerly known as the Football Team. Never mind the team name that he wanted every beat reporter to quote in all caps that he would never change the name of, and all the bad publicity that came with that, before resulting in a name change… twice. Sexual harassment and misconduct is the focus now. Several and I’m talking Deshaun Watson territory here. Several ex employees have filed claims against the team and owner Dan Snyder for not only verbal, but in some cases physical harassment and or abuse in a sexual manner over several years.
The league has gone out of its way to let us know they were taking the matter seriously, and conducting necessary investigations when the headlines first started hitting the news stand. However all they could come up with in the end evidently was a couple dirty emails from Raiders Coach Jon Gruden which led to him stepping down before launching a suit of his own, which we will talk about another time. The league came out and said they were satisfied with the investigation’s findings or lack there of, and were moving forward with no sanctions other than Dan being suspended from team operations fore a year. Snyder also reached a settlement with the party that was part of the settlement in the process, so all seemed to be again, swept under the rug… Until last week.
A miss Tiffani Johnston has now come out of the woodwork to bring a new allegation of sexual harassment to the table. Inappropriate touching and awkward invitations. Johnston was a former marketing manager for the team who recently at a roundtable on Capitol Hill while discussing toxic workplace culture described her experience with Dan Snyder. She wasn’t alone. There were five other ex employees sharing similar sentiments. So Snyder has to be sitting at home thinking, “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in”. He has again denied all allegations but between the email leaks to the New York Times that led to the demise of Jon Gruden and these new allegations, the league may finally have reached the straw that broke the camel’s back, and be ready to move on from him.
Washington has been dead last in attendance in the league by a wide margin in recent years, and this is a team that used to boast the longest season ticket wait list in football give or take. Any time they play a decent team at home, the crowd seems to resemble an away game. I personally gave up spending money on tickets or merchandise after Joe Gibbs 2.0. I’ll only buy items sold on eBay from fans moving their old stuff, or things I find at thrift shops and yard sales. No way I’m giving him my money, but this isn’t about me. It’s about whether or not the league has finally come to its breaking point. If we’re not there. I imagine we’re close. So let’s just say there still is a God and Washington fans world wide wake up tomorrow to find that the league has in fact told Snyder to prepare a sale and go away. I’d like to pull a few names out of the hat that may or may not be individuals, and or companies that wouldn’t mind getting in to the NFL’s ever elite ownerships ranks.
Georgetown University grad and owner of Monumental Sports. They own the Capitals, Wizards, Mystics, and have actually already dipped toes in the football world with the Valor and Brigade of the now debunked AFL. Quick search says he’s only worth about $1.5 billion, so he’d have to have some more muscle behind him in order to make a deal. It’s quite possible there’s a couple other owners in the city who just might be interested. Leonsis has been very good to the city and helped create a lot of jobs. Being a part of The Commanders ownership group would grow that long list of opportunities. The #ALLCAPS have been competitive for the better part of 30 years and Ted is a big part of that for over the last 20.
The Lerner family
Ted Lerner is 96 years old, so I doubt he has the energy for the long haul, but his kids likely have no intention of selling the Nationals once he’s no longer with us. Ted is currently worth $4.7 billion and I’m not positive, but I think he’s actually the richest person in Maryland. He’s built a fine stadium in the southwest waterfront area and I’m sure they’d cook up a plan to build another house potentially at the old RFK location. The lease of FedEx field ends after the 2027 season. One thing we’ve learned from the Lerners is that they know how to build a team. The go through dark periods as well, but they definitely aren’t afraid to chase a title window.
D.C. United Holdings
Jason Levien and Stephen Kaplan are the Co-Chairmen for the DC United. This past fall of 2021 they went and bolstered the ownership group and have one of the highest valued teams in the MLS. The MLS has been also establishing a relationship with Liga MX, which is the MLS equivalent in Mexico. Last season the two league competed in an All Star game against each other for the first time and are now actually cross investing in each others’ leagues, while a full on merger is still potentially in the cards. Audi Filed and the United are worth approximately $700 million. Wouldn’t be surprised if they also expressed interest in minority ownership of the DC Defenders, who play their home games at Audi.
Speaking of the Defenders. The Rock is worth around half a billion at the moment but he’s making much more at a crazy rate which has shown no signs of slowing down any time soon. He’s a 1/3 owner of the XFL with Dany Garcia and RedBird Capital, owned by Gerry Cardinale. If they three of them combined could convince a couple others to get involved they’d have an automatic relationship with the NFL not only as owners, but as the tier one level for the league they just recently bought who’d then likely be in position to purchase the CFL and USFL. Sounds crazy but remember, Dwayne Johnson became owner of the Chiefs in the last season of Ballers… This would automatically make the XFL the unofficial League for the NFL… officially.
Probably the type that would join Johnson as part of an ownership group with a net worth of $1.5 billion. He’s already kinda sorta got a foot in the door with his company Roc Nation now having a multi year deal with the league to help enhance the league’s social justice movements. Between what we’ve seen throughout the league the last couple seasons, I can’t see that going away any time soon. I’d like to think he wouldn’t mind sitting in an owners’ box kicking it with the elites in the nation’s capital. He knows how to market and put on a show, and like The Rock, most of his side products have all been successful.
Let’s get one thing straight. Jeff Bezos could buy the entire league if he really wanted to. If he wants this team, there isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell he doesn’t get it. He actually has a maintenance yacht for his main yacht. At this point he could start buying small countries and compete with Elon Musk for land titles on Mars. I think he’s been rumored to land an NFL team just because he’s looking for a cure to boredom. He’s got a streaming platform and has already picked up Thursday Night Football. He wants the Manning Cast. He’s in play for the Sunday Ticket. Dare I say he’d be the most influential owner in the league day one.
I’d throw Dak Prescott on the list too, but he already owns them. Who knows if the league will show up with a moving truck to Ashburn, VA and tell Danny Dimes to clean out his locker at Commaders’ Park but the irons are in the fire, and you’d love to see it. Time will tell what the league will or will not do. It’s A Football World, we’re all just passing through.
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