IRVING, Texas — Roger Goodell sent mixed messages, typically, when it came to Dan Snyder and the potential sale of the Washington Commanders.
On one hand, the NFL commissioner maintained, “I don’t have any expectation” regarding the possibility that Snyder will ultimately close on a deal that would sever the league’s ties with the controversial team owner.
On the other hand, Goodell, speaking to media at the conclusion of a one-day NFL owners meeting on Wednesday, implied that he’s satisfied with the culture change within Snyder’s franchise sparked by the numerous allegations of sexual harassment and the attached investigations.
Goodell spoke publicly on the Commanders’ situation for the first time since the Congressional House Oversight Committee released a report last week that added layers to issues that have dogged Snyder and his franchise for many months. The league fined Snyder $10 million in July 2021 and struck an agreement for him to turn over day-to-day operational control to his wife Tanya but has been in a holding pattern since then despite additional allegations, while former U.S. attorney Mary Jo White continues her investigation.
“The change has occurred with the Washington Commanders organization,” Goodell said. “That’s verified by audit. That’s the outcome we were seeking.”
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That’s hardly a unanimous sentiment. For months, several NFL owners have considered the possibility of trying to force Snyder out – it would take 24 votes – which would effectively be the case if he sells the franchise.
There was no formal discussion on Wednesday about a Commanders sale, although Goodell said there was a briefing that summarized the Oversight Committee’s report.
And naturally, there was continued informal discussion about Snyder. Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay told reporters that he hasn’t changed his position since he publicly declared during the previous meeting that he suspected there was “merit” for NFL owners to consider voting Snyder out.
“It hasn’t changed, but I need more information,” Irsay told reporters. “This is a big decision. I said from the beginning, I was only interested in finding out more because there’s a lot of concern and there’s merit to look at that possibility. But I said give it consideration or look at it. I never said vote him out. It’s something that’s a big deal. We’ll see what the New Year brings.”
Perhaps the New Year will finally turn the page of the report from White, who has spent months investigating Snyder and the Commanders – yet still hasn’t interviewed Snyder. So much for urgency.
Asked why White’s probe has taken so long, Goodell expressed no concern.
“Mary Jo has not been given a timeline,” Goodell said. “She’s got to do an awful lot of work on these investigations. I’m not going to press her to do that. She knows that she has our full support and she’s continuing to make progress. When she’s done, she’ll let us know.”
Then again, if Snyder sells (for what would likely be a record price), White’s conclusion could be a moot point.
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Story Credit: usatoday.com