Embroiled NFL Owner’s Scandals Make Life Difficult for Fans

Embroiled NFL Owners Scandals Make Life Difficult for Fans

Carter Hay, Staff Reporter

Washington fans have been through a lot in the past thirty years, specifically the last five to ten years. With a plethora of ups and downs, many Washington fans might agree that recent years have mostly been down. With the recent news of long-time owner Daniel Snyder being investigated for claims of sexual misconduct, Washington D.C. professional football has hit a new low.

For years now, there have been reports about investigations by the NFL involving Dan Snyder and the front office of Washington. Like most cases when ownership in the NFL is investigated, those cases and investigations sort of fade away with things under the table happening. For example, within recent weeks, reports have come out that Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys paid four members of the team’s cheerleading squad $2.4 million who accused a team vice president of watching them undress in a locker room during a 2015 event. This news coming out almost seven years later demonstrates the shady underbelly of the league and how unfair they treat undervalued members of its organization. And with similar reports of undressed cheerleaders being inappropriately watched by members of the Washington front office, things aren’t looking good for Mr. Snyder.

Washington fans have been rooting for Snyder to sell the team for years now, with multiple allegations of a “sexual misconduct culture” surrounding the team’s front office. He may finally be facing a real problem. The NFL reportedly conducted the Wilkinson investigation in 2020, covering a former female employee, Mr. Snyder, and the Washington organization. For a while, the demand for the reports to be released slowed down, but Congress has since gotten the public’s attention, and fans, along with many league fans, have gotten riled up again.

Congress held a meeting on February 10, 2022, where former Washington employee Tiffani Johnston appeared in front of them to share the sexual misconduct that she experienced during her tenure with the organization, specifically with the owner, Daniel Snyder. Congress has since been pushing the team and the NFL to release the information about the Wilkinson investigation. Recently, Washington and the NFL have fought over which documents will or won’t be given to Congress. But, the claims made by the former employee have changed everything, making this more than just another investigation that will eventually fade out.

The league will now conduct a new investigation with no reason to keep any information hidden since Johnston has already told her story publicly and in Congress. Washington tried to take matters into its own hands by hiring a pair of firms for their investigation before the league intervened and made sure that Washington wouldn’t be investigating itself. So, now the NFL has looked into various options and methods to cracking down on the Snyder investigation, with multiple candidates in the lead to take over the investigation. But on February 18, the NFL hired Mary Jo White to conduct her investigation on Mr. Snyder and the Washington organization.

Mary Jo White is an American attorney who served as the 31st chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission from 2013 to 2017. She has done several investigations during her career, with a handful of college and professional sports investigations under her belt. This recent news of Mrs. White taking over the investigation has given Washington fans some hope that a situation may occur where Mr. Snyder could be forced to sell the team.

SI Neg. 2001-11326.19a. Date: 10/2/2001.
Daniel Snyder, owner and chairman of the board of the Washington Redskins, speaking at the National Press Club.
Credit: Jim Wallace (Smithsonian Institution)

So far, though, no more news has come out about Mary Jo White and the Washington investigation. Mrs. White is now leading a new inquiry on the NFL’s probe of tanking teams tanking (purposefully losing for better draft positions), focusing specifically on the Miami Dolphins tanking allegations by former head coach Brian Flores. Now, she won’t be focusing on Mr. Snyder anymore. White will be turning her focus in another direction. Still, no source has confirmed she won’t be looking into Washington anymore, but this has many Washington fans disappointed and doubtful of anything coming out of the investigation again.

The scandal is likely taking a toll on the team’s financial side. Recent news indicated that Washington is losing a major sponsor in Anheuser Busch. Washington insider JP Finlay says, “The Washington Commanders lost a major partner last week when global beer company Anheuser-Busch InBev decided to pull out of its sponsorship deal.” This is important news for the team and a huge loss for their business. The statement is also a bombshell from the Anheuser-Bush InBev company as they make a stand against their long-time partnership with Washington. This deal with Washington was worth around $4 million annually, and it was among Washington’s top four most prominent sponsorships. Washington also lost a handful of smaller deals with radio stations and other companies. This significant loss affects the team’s business, showing that these companies are not afraid to pull their deals with corrupt ownership and front offices. For now, Mr. Snyder won’t vacate his office, but when more companies take a stand and the team can’t bring in new sponsorships, there may be some major changes in the ownership of the Washington Commanders.

Another bit of breaking news was released on Friday last week. Congress is also investigating Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder for potential financial improprieties. More specifically, according to AJ Perez of Front Office Sports, Congress has received information that alleges the Washington Commanders used a scheme to withhold ticket revenue required to be shared with other teams. Per NFL rules, teams must share 40 percent of home ticket revenue to the league, disseminating the funds to visiting teams. For fans who have been pining for the removal of Snyder, this latest scandal is another bitter pill for Washington fans to swallow.

Overall, these stories and investigations about the team and Dan Snyder give Washington fans some hope. Washington fans have had to endure many off-the-field troubles stemming from leadership at the very top. With all the ups and downs on the field, more news has arguably been happening off the field that makes it difficult for Washington fans. Unfortunately, it’s hard to see a situation soon where Snyder sells the team because if the latest bad news out of D.C. isn’t enough to force the NFL’s hand, what is?