Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay says “there is merit to remove” Dan Snyder as owner of the Washington Commanders, making him the first NFL owner to publicly state that his controversial counterpart should go.
Snyder’s status has been widely debated for yearsand investigations into workplace conduct in Washington. The league has been of sexual misconduct and financial impropriety, a probe conducted by attorney Mary Jo White that is ongoing.
Removing Snyder would be unprecedented and requires 24 votes from the other owners.
“It’s something we have to review, we have to look at all the evidence and we have to be thorough and it’s something that has to be given serious consideration,” Irsay said Tuesday. “I believe in the workplace today, the standard that the shield stands for in the NFL, that you have to stand for that and protect that. I just think once owners talk among each other they will arrive at the right decision. Unfortunately, I believe that’s the road we probably need to go down and we just need to finish the investigation, but it’s gravely concerning to me the things that have occurred there over the last 20 years.”
The Commanders released a statement saying the Snyders will not sell the team.
“It is highly inappropriate, but not surprising, that Mr. Irsay opted to make statements publicly based on falsehoods in the media,” the statement said. “It is unfortunate that Mr. Irsay decided to go public with his statement today, while an investigation is in process, and the team has had no opportunity to formally respond to allegations. The Commanders have made remarkable progress over the past two years. We are confident that, when he has an opportunity to see the actual evidence in this case, Mr. Irsay will conclude that there is no reason for the Snyders to consider selling the franchise. And they won’t.”
White hasn’t informed the league of a timeline to submit a report, though it’s anticipated she’s nearing the end of the investigation, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the investigation remains open.
Snyder’s ownership of the Commanders became a big issue again last week when ESPN reported, citing anonymous sources, that he has hired private investigators and told people he has enough information to expose fellow owners and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
The Commanders denied the contents of the report, calling it “categorically untrue” and “clearly part of a well-funded, two-year campaign to coerce the sale of the team, which will continue to be unsuccessful.”
Tanya Snyder, the team’s co-CEO, and Commanders President Jason Wright are representing the team at this week’s owners’ meetings in New York.
Snyder and the organization are also currently the subject of an ongoing investigation by the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform. Snyder has owned the team since 1999.