Former Washington Commanders president Bruce Allen testified to the U.S. House of Representatives that owner Dan Snyder leaked the derogatory emails between Allen and former Raiders head coach Jon Gruden; the same leak that preluded Gruden’s resignation.
With Snyder the subject of multiple investigations into workplace misconduct, Allen testified that the leak was green-lighted to shield Snyder.
The U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform concluded that Snyder “permitted and participated” in the team’s toxic workplace culture and dissuaded witnesses from participating in the investigation by means of intimidation.
Allen’s testimony featured a number of shocking revelations, including alleging the Commanders (Snyder’s staff) hired private investigators to follow him. That — or any of this — isn’t really surprising. It all just reinforces why Snyder has been bullied into putting the franchise up for sale.
The football part of Allen’s deposition is bound to ruffle feathers amongst Washington fans.
When asked about emails regarding former left tackle Trent Williams, Allen alleged that Snyder forced Williams out of town after the player staged a holdout and blamed team doctors for misdiagnosing what turned out to be a cancerous growth on his head.
Bruce Allen: Dan Snyder drove Trent Williams’ Commanders exit.
"“Trent did have a problem with the medical staff,” Allen said. “He was upset at the doc for not discovering he had a medical issue, I’ll say. And he couldn’t put a helmet on to be at the minicamp, but he was holding out because he wanted a new contract from the team.”“And Trent and I had a great relationship until all of this and still did during this time, especially during this time. And we could have re-signed him. He’s an elite player. He’s a great football player, great football player. And Dan said no. He said: Not one dime. Fine him the max. And that’s what we did.”"
There’s a discussion to be had if Williams and Allen had a “great relationship,” but that’s not the point. Fans always knew deep down that Snyder, more worried about Williams painting Washington in a negative light than the LT’s well-being, piloted Williams’ exodus, and Allen’s revelation sure seems to hammer that home.
Williams’ holdout extended into the regular season. While he returned post-trade deadline, he failed his physical, as scalp soreness from a recent surgery made it uncomfortable for him to wear a helmet. He didn’t return for the rest of the season, and was put on the Non-Football Injury list.
ESPN reported that Williams compiled $1.9 million in fines amid his holdout. Seemingly by Snyder’s director orders, Washington didn’t rescind the punishment, and fined Williams the maximum allotted for his missed time.
By the end of it all, Williams vowed to never play for Washington again, and he was traded to the 49ers that offseason. He has since established himself as football’s premier left tackle, accumulating two more Pro Bowls and a First-Team All-Pro nod in 2021.
It sure seems that Allen tried to play mediator between Williams and Snyder, and even advocated for Washington to extend the perennial Pro Bowler. Much like claiming “dirt” on fellow NFL owners, though, Snyder dug in his heels and made sure this relationship deteriorated to the point Williams wanted out.
Again, does this really surprise anyone? Just Snyder being Snyder.
Everyone wishes it ended differently for Trent in Washington, but we’re happy to see him doing great things on the west coast.