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 say his controversial colleague should go.
Snyder’s status has been debated for years amid several scandals and investigations into workplace conduct in Washington. The league is investigating allegations of sexual misconduct and financial impropriety, and an investigation led by attorney Mary Jo White is ongoing.
Removing Snyder would be unprecedented and requires 24 votes from the other owners.
“It’s something that we have to look at, we have to look at all the evidence and we have to be thorough and it’s something that needs to be seriously considered,” Irsay said Tuesday. “I believe in today’s workplace, the standard that the shield represents in the NFL, that you have to stand up for it and protect it. I just think that once the owners talk to each other, the right decision will be reached. Unfortunately, I believe that’s probably the way we need to go and we just need to finish the investigation, but I’m seriously concerned about the things that have been going on there over the last 20 years.”
A team spokesman released a statement that said in part, “It is highly inappropriate, but not surprising, that Mr. Irsay has chosen to publicly make statements based on untruths in the media. . . . We are confident that when he has the opportunity to see the actual evidence in the case , Mr. Irsay will conclude that there is no reason for the Snyders to consider selling the franchise. And they won’t.”
White has not informed the league of a timeline for filing the report, although it is expected to be nearing the end of the investigation, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press. The person spoke to AP on condition of anonymity because the investigation is still open.
Snyder’s ownership of the Commanders became a big issue again last week when ESPN reported, citing anonymous sources, that he had hired private investigators and told people he had enough information to expose fellow owners and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
The commanders denied the content of the report, calling it “categorically untrue” and “clearly part of a well-funded, two-year campaign to force 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 US House Oversight and Reform Committee. Snyder has owned the team since 1999.