Dan Snyder will continue to be the owner of the Washington Commanders for the foreseeable future. If you need a moment to hyperventilate, I’ll wait.
Obviously, I do not have a crystal ball, but if I were a betting man, I would put a lot of money behind the proposition that Snyder will still be the owner of the Washington Commanders in 2030. If you need a moment to smash something, I’ll wait again.
Here’s the real kicker. There is not one damned thing anyone reading this article can do about it. Start a petition. Picket FedEx. Chant during player interviews. Rant on the internet. Nothing. Nada. Zip.
Dan Snyder doesn’t care what you think. The NFL owners don’t care what you think. The networks don’t care. Verizon, Anheuser-Busch, Pepsi — don’t care, don’t care, don’t care. FanDuel? Ha!
Why Dan Snyder is not selling the Washington Commanders
That doesn’t mean there is no path which leads to an eventual sale by the current owner. It just means, in FanDuel terms, the line on Snyder selling is somewhere in the -1,000 range.
NFL franchises are both extraordinarily profitable and extraordinarily prestigious. They simply do not get sold very often. When they do get sold, it is almost always for one of two reasons.
The current ownership group is having external monetary problems. (Fans of the local baseball team are familiar with this concept.) That may eventually force the sale of the Los Angeles Chargers.
The other far more common reason is that the owner dies. (It is worth mentioning that the Chargers ownership was not facing financial issues until previous owner Alex Spanos died in 2018, leaving a convoluted succession plan. Sound familiar?)
Snyder owns the Washington Commanders because the previous owner, Jack Kent Cooke, died, leaving a convoluted succession plan.
The most recent NFL team to change hands is the Denver Broncos. They were only sold after longtime owner Pat Bowlen passed away.
Those of us who hope that the other NFL owners will use their power to force Snyder to sell look back to 2018, when external pressure did indeed influence Jerry Richardson to sell the Carolina Panthers (the last team to change hands before the Broncos.) I have already written about why that was very different from the current situation in Washington.
1) Richardson was old and infirm, and probably not eager for a protracted legal battle. Daniel M. Snyder is youngish, apparently healthy, and seems to be itching for a fight.
2) Richardson founded the Panthers and led them to their first and only Super Bowl just two and a half years before the sale. He could step away with a successful track record. Daniel M. Snyder would step away as the biggest failure in Washington football history.
3) Though Richardson grew up in Fayetteville, the Carolina Panthers did not exist. He had no childhood loyalty to them. Daniel M. Snyder, at times, still seems to be that little boy who worshipped his childhood heroes and the team they played for.
So you tell me, is Snyder really going to give that up just because a bunch of fans call him an a-hole? I think not.
Some fans like to look at how the NBA excised the canker sores known as Donald Sterling and Robert Sarver in the past decade. Again – very different situations. Players have more clout in the NBA than they have in any other sport. Certainly more clout than NFL players have. And those NBA players were reacting primarily to provable allegations of repeated racist statements. The toxic workplace environment over which Snyder is alleged to have presided was primarily toxic toward women. Women do not comprise the overwhelming majority of workers for an NFL franchise.
Fans are not going to shame Snyder into selling Washington, nor are they going to exert enough influence over the other owners to force a sale. (I daresay Jim Irsay will never be a trusted spokesperson for his fellow owners.) Even if fans were to organize a massive boycott, as I have seen people suggest, it would do nothing. NFL owners, at least in 2022, are far too insulated from any minor harm a boycott could inflict. It is theoretically possible that a league-wide massive boycott of not just the NFL, but also of its major sponsors, could exert that kind of influence. But be honest – do you really see that happening?