Everything Commanders fans need to know about new Dan Snyder investigation

LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 30: Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder before the game between the Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles at FedExField on December 30, 2018 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 30: Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder before the game between the Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles at FedExField on December 30, 2018 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images) /

It feels like deja vu all over again. Only this time, there’s a new co-star.

By now, everyone is aware that the NFL will launch an investigation, the second since summer 2020, on Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder.

How did we get there?

On Feb. 3, one day after the team’s rebrand, six former Washington employees appeared before a congressional roundtable and levied new sexual harassment allegations against Snyder. Shortly thereafter, Snyder hired his own investigative team to look into the allegations made by Tiffani Johnston.

That iron-fisted move was met with undisguised vitriol from the NFL, which responded by commandeering Snyder’s probe and and has since mailed a letter to his team of investigators accusing them of ignoring “repeated” to present documents from the Beth Wilkinson investigation.

That brings us to current events.

On Friday, the NFL informed the House Oversight Committee that it has selected Mary Jo White to investigate Snyder’s latest allegations.

The kicker? The NFL will publicly release the written report.

Mary Joe White will conduct the investigation into Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder.

Fans will remember how loudly the league was scolded for not releasing a written report by Beth Wilkinson, who conducted the 10-month toxic workplace culture investigation which overlapped into July 2021.

Wilkinson gave commissioner Roger Goodell a written report. As a result, the league fined Washington $10 million and ordered Snyder to yield day-to-day operations not permanently, but “for at least the next several months” while his wife Tanya was appointed as CEO.

In another bad look, Goodell justified (or tried to, anyway) the NFL’s decision by saying it was protecting the anonymity of the accusers who cooperated with Wilkinson and strongly advocated for a written report.

That (hopefully) won’t be a problem this time around.

So, what do Commanders fans need to know about White? She’s a former US attorney for the Souther District of New York and was a chair of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission during the Barack Obama regime. Now, she’s a partner in the Debevoise and Plimpton law firm in New York

This isn’t White’s first taste of the NFL, either. She famously led the investigation into former Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, who was forced to sell the team. The franchise’s founder was accused of claims in relation to sexual harassment and racism.

What sparked that investigation? A story from Sports Illustrated reported the Panthers settled with up to four former employees regarding inappropriate workplace behavior by Richardson, so there are pretty evident parallels between White’s Panthers’ probe and her impending review of Snyder.

There is, however, one hiccup baked into this bombshell.

Johnston, whose allegations provoked the probe, has not yet decided to cooperate. In a strongly-worded statement issued by her team of attorneys, Johnson made one thing abundantly clear: she wanted Beth Wilkinson to lead this one, too.

"“Beth Wilkinson conducted a long and comprehensive investigation of the Washington Commanders, and earned the trust of dozens of victims and witnesses who provided her with evidence of pervasive sexual harassment and abuse,” attorney Lisa Banks said in a statement.“We understood that Ms. Wilkinson would also conduct the investigation into Tiffani Johnston’s allegations about Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder, given her unique knowledge of the Commanders organization, its culture of sexual harassment, and Dan Snyder’s credibility. Having a new investigator, with no such prior knowledge, assess Ms. Johnson’s allegations and Mr. Snyder’s denials in a vacuum makes no sense at all.That said, we will discuss with Ms. Johnston her willingness to participate, and are pleased that the NFL has agreed to make the results public. On behalf of our many other clients, we urge Commissioner Goodell to make the same decision with respect to Ms. Wilkinson’s investigation. Certainly the results of that comprehensive investigation would provide an important blueprint for the new investigator to conduct her work.”"

Pretty easy to see where Johnson is coming from. After all, Pro Football Talk recently reported that Wilkinson would’ve recommended that Snyder be forced to sell the team if the NFL had requested a written report the first time around.

In that respect, Snyder is probably celebrating. To the extent, Johnston wanted Wilkinson, you can bet the under-fire owner didn’t want her just as much.

Nevertheless, the wheels are in motion.

dark. Next. Are Dan Snyder's days as Commanders owner numbered?