The Washington Commanders’ Dan Snyder has lived under a microscope for a while now, and, per the usual culture in the NFL, when someone or somebody is a distraction, the talk is to get rid of them. However, never before have any of the 32 owners spoken publicly about outing another until now.
Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay broke that mold recently when he held an interview scrum at the fall meetings on Tuesday, calling Snyder’s blunders as the owner of the Commanders, in particular the workplace misconduct allegations, “gravely concerning.”
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 18, 2022
“I believe there is merit to removing him as owner of the [Commanders],” Irsay said from the Conrad New York Downtown hotel lobby. “There’s consideration that he should be removed.”
The NFL requires 24 of its 32 owners to approve a vote to cast out an owner, a feat which has never been done in the NFL.
The investigations into the Washington Commanders’ alleged workplace misconduct and financial improprieties under Snyder have drawn unwanted attention to the league and its owners. According to Irsay, the league could potentially have a majority vote from owners to unseat the embattled Snyder. Mary Jo White, a former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York and a former U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission chairwoman, is probing the matter on behalf of the NFL. She is currently the Debevoise & Plimpton law firm’s Senior Chair, a litigation partner in the New York office, and leader of the firm’s Strategic Crisis Response and Solutions Group.
Snyder has characterized the NFL ownership group as the mafia. Snyder has reportedly told his inside circle that he has enough “dirt” on other NFL owners and even commissioner Roger Goodell to “blow up” the league if he wants. He has also reportedly referred to the NFL as a “mafia” and said, “all the owners hate each other.”
“’They can’t f–k with me,’ Snyder reportedly said about the NFL,” according to ESPN.
In the real mafia, there is a term called “omerta,” which refers to the code of submission of individuals to the group interest where no one discusses family business. However, that code is slowly being broken between Snyder’s alleged threats and Irsay’s peek behind the veil of the ownership group.
“Some of the things I’ve heard doesn’t represent us at all,” Irsay said. “I want the American public to know what we’re about as owners. You can’t shy away from the fact that I believe it’s in the best interest of the National Football League that we look at this squarely in the eyes and deal with it.”
Snyder was alleged to have used private investigators to gain information about the owners and the NFL commissioner. He firmly denies the allegations.
“That is patently false and intended to erode the trust and goodwill between owners that I take quite seriously,” he told his counterparts, according to a letter sent to other owners that was obtained by media on Oct. 17. “I have never hired any private investigator to look into any owner or the Commissioner. I have never instructed or authorized my lawyers to hire any private investigator on my behalf for any such purpose. And I never would.”
Irsay’s sentiments, mixed with Snyder’s indignance, feel like a culminating event is coming.