Who will hold Daniel Snyder accountable for his crimes?
The fanbase of the pitiful team he’s owned since 1999, now known as the Washington Commanders, which has long been the league’s Animal House?
Prior to Thursday, Snyder had done all he could to strengthen the House Oversight and Reform Committee, which has been investigating his staff for nearly a year. Instead of appearing before the committee, he delayed, challenged, and had his legal team pull out all the delay stops. He declined to attend the June hearing, where NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sat and faced cross-examination from the committee.
So, evading subpoena, he sailed off into the sunset, out of the country, out of the reach of Congress.
Finally, on Thursday, he gave in – but only halfway. Snyder agreed to speak to the committee via video conference from abroad. On his behalf, his legal team did everything possible to set the parameters. He decided to speak, but not under the restraining power of a subpoena, which would make it harder to avoid telling the truth. He “offered” to answer the questions he was willing to answer.
And unlike the congressional hearings we’ve seen on TV, this hour-long question-and-answer session was not televised. Transcripts may be provided at some point, but it is unknown how much of the audience they will capture and when they will be released.
Snyder, who possesses a kind of arrogance that cheers petty dictators, is mocking an investigation into a culture that has scarred lives. Cheerleaders Snyder and others on the team are said to have been treated with misogynistic contempt. The marketing and events coordinator who told Congress that she had been physically harassed by Snyder. The staff member who, according to the Washington Post, accused Snyder of sexual harassment and assault before reaching a $1.6 million settlement. These examples are just a sample.
Who, exactly, is running this show? Snyder, is who.
Congress finds itself paralyzed by its recalcitrance and its own inability to shape private affairs. Public shaming appears to be the committee’s only recourse.
The NFL should hold Snyder to account, but Snyder is a member of the billionaire (mostly) boys’ club that runs the league. This group doesn’t seem too inclined to punish one of their own. The banishment, forcing Snyder to sell his team, is currently a bridge too far for this privileged and isolated clique.
Investigating Snyder, trying to arrest him and make him accept responsibility for his team’s culture and misdeeds, became a theater of the absurd.
When embroiled in an eight-month investigation into how commanders and the NFL handled allegations of widespread sexual harassment of team employees, the committee beckoned Snyder with a polite invitation. When it became clear that he would not cooperate without a push, the committee threatened to subpoena Snyder and force him to testify under oath.
Understand recent NFL controversies
A controversial partnership. The Dallas Cowboys faced criticism after announcing a new partnership with Black Rifle Coffee, the veteran brand popular with conservatives and gun owners that sells roasts with names like “AK Espresso,” “Murdered Out” and “Silencer Smooth.” The announcement drew criticism in part for its timing, a day after a mass shooting in Highland Park, Illinois.
But Snyder was nowhere to be found. At least not in the United States.
Snyder’s reps said he was doing long-planned business in Europe – and then went to Israel to commemorate the first anniversary of his mother’s death. oh the old man defense: “I’m too busy to accept your subpoena from Congress.”
A Twitter account appeared on the internet: The Tracker Dan Snyder followed her floating village – the 305-foot-long Lady S., filled with an IMAX theater and helipad – as she sailed into foreign seas.
The yacht is in Monaco!
No, it’s on the coast of Elba, Italy!
No, it’s sailing at 13.3 knots and Pisa, Italy!
Was he really on his huge yacht as he floated around the Mediterranean?
Did he take his private plane to Europe?
What tricky shenanigans. But how can anyone be surprised? The owner of Washington hardly has a reputation for being an upright guy wrapped in righteousness.
Gallons of paint were spilled and digital space was used to catalog the off-field problems and allegations that plagued the Washington football team under Snyder.
Commanders executives, and Snyder himself, have been accused of rampant sexual harassment of female employees, not to mention financial impropriety and verbal abuse. The claims span 18 of the 23 years Snyder has owned the team.
In his June testimony before the committee, Goodell — who ordered a second investigation into the commanders — said Snyder had already been held accountable after the first. The owner agreed to avoid the team’s daily operations for a while and the team paid a record $10 million to the league in penalties.
What a fraud.
Snyder had a good vacation – although it’s unclear if he’ll return to meddling in the team’s day-to-day affairs now that training camp has begun.
And does Goodell honestly think that Snyder, who is reportedly worth $40 billion, will sweat more than $10 million? For him, $10 million is not the equivalent of a slap on the wrist. It’s not even a flea bite.
Goodell and the NFL seem content to sell the narrative that all is well in Washington now. Snyder’s team, after all, has hired a new, diverse and respected team led by chairman Jason Wright and professional coaching Ron Rivera.
But who signs the checks for the new hires? Snyder. All the employees in that operation work hard at your bid.
Goodell’s narrative does not carry water. The Congressional committee made public last month that it found Snyder interfered with the NFL’s investigation through a witness intimidation campaign. Snyder’s aides compiled a dossier of those who shared allegations of harassment against the commanders with the press.
So we should all believe the NFL story: This isn’t your father’s football team in Washington. Say it over and over, and you might be led to believe it.
Forcing Snyder to sell would be the only penalty with the teeth. But Goodell quickly reminded us that he could not make such a move alone. “I have no authority,” he told Congress in June.
Who did? The other owners. To remove Snyder, 75% of them would have to vote in favor. Owners know that Snyder would involve the NFL with lawsuits from here to eternity. You can be sure that many don’t want the tables to be flipped and the probing glare put on them and their business practices.
And the show continues. Snyder, president of the Animal House, is still able to make everyone around him respond and react to his whims. Thursday, it was the congressional committee.
Will anyone have the courage to step up and stop this sordid show?