Fallout from Jim Irsay’s powerful move against Commanders’ Dan Snyder
By Jerry Trotta
NFL owners met Tuesday for their annual fall meetings and it didn’t take long for fireworks to go off, as Colts owner Jim Irsay, a former rival of Washington Commanders fans for his scapegoating of Carson Wentz in the offseason, became the first of the league’s 32 owners to come out against Dan Snyder.
Consider any water under the bridge with Irsay, who announced there’s “merit to remove” Snyder as the Commanders’ owner.
This comes days after ESPN published a bombshell report alleging Snyder has claimed he has “dirt” on multiple owners; basically implying he will (try to) take some of his colleagues down with him should it come to that.
Of course, the news cycle didn’t just stop with Irsay’s comments. The fallout was substantial, and included multiple Commanders statements, a letter from Snyder to the owners and a reaction from Roger Goodell and other embattled owners.
It was a lot to keep track of on Tuesday, so here’s a full breakdown of Irsay’s booming stand against the under-siege Snyder.
The fallout from Colts owner Jim Irsay’s powerful move against Commanders’ Dan Snyder.
Important reminder: removing Snyder requires 24 votes from the other owners. Irsay’s on board, so that leaves 23 more to go. The league has been investigating allegations of financial impropriety (suppressing refundable deposits from season-ticket holders) and sexual misconduct directed by attorney Mary Jo White.
It didn’t take long for Snyder to respond via a Commanders spokesperson.
"“It is highly inappropriate, but not surprising, that Mr. Irsay opted to make statements publicly based on falsehood in the media. . . . “We are confident that, when he has an opportunity to see the actual evidence in his case, Mr. Irsay will conclude that there is no reason for the Snyders to consider selling the franchise. And they won’t."
Read the full statement below:
Shortly thereafter, Snyder sent a letter to NFL owners sayin he never hired private investigators (to gather dirt) in relation to the ESPN report. The letter includes Snyder saying the report contains “false and malicious information” and “ESPN ignored our efforts to correct the many falsehoods in their article before its publication.”
Then came time for Goodell to respond. The commissioner said he wasn’t surprised Irsay publicized his desire for Snyder to sell, but that “speculation is not beneficial” and he wants the investigation to finish so the other owners can gather the facts and make a decision from there.
Speaking of needing 24 owners on board to force Snyder out, enter Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, who’s currently on shaky ground after the Browns’ aggressive pursuit of Deshaun Watson in the offseason and signing the QB to a fully-guaranteed $230 million contract while Watson was facing allegations of sexual misconduct during massage sessions from more than two dozen women.
Watson is currently serving an 11-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.
With that in mind, it wasn’t surprising Haslam failed to follow Irsay’s anti-Snyder lead. The Browns owner stayed on the fence, which casted some doubt as to whether Irsay will be able to rally 23 other owners against Snyder.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, whom Snyder visited two weeks ago when the Commanders played the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium, didn’t help the cause, saying “No, I don’t think that will be something discussed today (Tuesday). That’s more of a media thing than an internal thing,” when asked if owners would discuss the ESPN report.
Basically, Jones is still backing Snyder, which puts everything to a halt.
That just should about do it. Check back to this article for further fallout from Irsay’s public challenge of Snyder. And to think Snyder’s Commanders will visit Irsay’s Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis in two weeks.