“Mutually assured destruction.”
Snyder is like a “mad dog cornered” as league conspires to oust him
ESPN's Don Van Natta Jr., Seth Wickersham and Tisha Thompson report that Snyder told an associate he has enough secrets to "blow up" several NFL owners, the league office and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell himself, a notion reiterated in the story by former Commanders executives and other anonymous sources.
Secrets and tensions across league owners could potentially keep Synder at large, or at least allow him to bring the house down with him. “The NFL is a mafia,” he reportedly told an associate, “all the owners hate each other.”
The NFL has meetings in New York on Tuesday and Snyder will fight to keep the team even if owners reach the 24-vote threshold to vote him out. "They can't f— with me," Synder has reportedly said privately.
It has reportedly spread across the league that Snyder has hired private investigators to gather information about anyone that could be a threat. According to the report, a Commanders spokesperson and outside lawyers denied that Snyder has hired or authorized private investigators to track anyone.
Goodell has reportedly been hesitant to take action against Snyder, preferring to focus on the "integrity of the game" and let owners sort out themselves when it comes to business practice. Yet, he warned reminded owners they would be fined “millions of dollars” for going on record to discuss league business.
Now owners, aware of Synder’s potentially desperate efforts to protect himself, have started thinking of more creative ways to push him out, including refusing to let Snyder borrow money for a “desperately needed '' new stadium.
According to the report, Snyder has visited owners across the league to shore up support. One Dallas Cowboys owner in particular stands out. Jerry Jones, a longstanding mentor of Snyder's, reportedly told confidants recently that he "might not be able" to protect Snyder any longer after being asked "personally and repeatedly" to have his back.
The report mentions that Jones has been careful not to defend Snyder's character, but instead praises how hard Snyder is working to "right the ship" and trying to build a new stadium.
It doesn’t help that Snyder has reportedly also "badmouthed" Jones, telling an owner recently, "he's only out to get in your pocket. He'll sell you down the river. You can't trust him,"
Sources in the report are quoted to say that "Snyder's already lost Jerry."
Now the relationship has reportedly soured, and Snyder seems to be using his aforementioned “dirt” to bring Jones down as well. He is reported to have told a source that “Jerry has his own problems.” Except the league owners are reportedly not fazed by Jones’ alleged issues, including a lawsuit from earlier this year by 5-year-old woman who says Jones is her father. According to the report, it’s Snyder’s “poor financial showing” the other owners can’t ignore, as opposed to the many sexual misconduct allegations against him.
Where Snyder’s reputation turned south
The report notes one veteran’s early view of Snyder as “Arrogant. Obnoxious. Standoffish. Selfish.” However, it wasn’t until 2003 fall league meetings that a flashpoint in Snyder's reputation among owners going south occurred.
Snyder was reportedly adamant that the 2008 Super Bowl be played in Landover, Maryland. His main competition was Cardinals owner Bill Bidwill and his son Michael, who were building a $455 million stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The Bidwill family, which have owned the Cardinals since 1932 and are reportedly “beloved among owners: who were also excited about the new venue in the desert.
In his pitch for a Washington Super Bowl, sources say Snyder proceeded to personally attack the Bidwills and yell at everyone in the meeting, a misstep he has reportedly not been able to live down.
“Tipping point” for Synder’s removal?
We all remember Synder’s apparent refusal to separate his time from its originally racist name, which was not changed until a Washington Post report on the team revealed a toxic work environment in 2020.
Beth Wilkinson, a veteran Washington, D.C., lawyer was hired to investigate the claims in July 2020, but Snyder was found to actively interfere with the Wilkinson inquiry by congressional investigators who found he was “harassing and intimidating” witnesses. Goodell and the league took over the investigation in August 2020.
The NFL still has not made Wilkinson's findings public.
However, some league executives saw the findings targeting Snyder, including the details regarding a 2009 $1.5 million settlement with a former female employee. Snyder was accused of sexually assaulting her on his private plane.
Despite Snyder’s lawyers reported attempts to silence her, the woman has spoken to Wilkinson and lawyer Mary Jo White, who's conducting a new inquiry of Snyder for the NFL.
According to the report, a former Commanders executive says if the details of that incident are ever made public it could be a "tipping point" for Snyder's removal. ESPN's Mina Kimes says that this is exactly what needs to be done.
Unfortunately, ownership sources are reportedly worried the spotlight could be turned to their own franchises amid release of White's investigation findings, and for that reason "there are 31 guys who are petrified" of Snyder.