Dan Snyder may sell Washington Commanders
Bank of America Securities hired 'to consider potential transactions'
Daniel and Tanya Snyder are considering selling the Washington Commanders, the Ashburn-based NFL team announced Wednesday. They have hired Bank of America Securities “to consider potential transactions,” according to a news release.
Dan Snyder has been under increasing pressure to sell the team in recent weeks, as both he personally and the team’s head office have been under investigation by the NFL and Congress for alleged sexual harassment and fostering a hostile work environment. Recent leaks from inside the group of NFL team owners indicated that some want Snyder to sell the team, which he’s owned since 1999. Tanya Snyder, his wife, took over as co-CEO of the team in 2021, following the NFL’s $10 million fine of the team, which was formerly known as the Washington Redskins and by the interim Washington Football Team moniker.
Wednesday’s announcement from the team stated, “The Snyders remain committed to the team, all of its employees and its countless fans to putting the best product on the field and continuing the work to set the gold standard for workplaces in the NFL.”
Following the NFL’s fining of the Commanders in July 2021, in which the team was found to have created a “toxic workplace culture” in which sexual harassment and bullying of employees occurred, Tanya Snyder assumed day-to-day responsibilities for the team while her husband was supposed to step back. At the time, there seemed to be little appetite among the NFL’s 32 team owners to force the Snyders to sell. According to NFL bylaws, it would take the agreement of 24 team owners to oust another owner.
However, controversy surrounding Dan Snyder has continued to linger, and after avoiding a subpoena for several weeks, in July he testified in front of a congressional committee investigating allegations of workplace misconduct at his team. Snyder testified privately under oath via video from Israel, and former team staffers had previously made accusations that Snyder himself had sexually harassed them. A Washington Post report in December 2020 said that a former team employee accused Snyder of harassing and assaulting her, and she was paid $1.6 million in a confidential settlement.
The House Committee on Oversight and Reform also is investigating alleged financial improprieties at the team, The Washington Post reported in April. The NFL also launched a second probe of the team in February, led by Mary Jo White, a former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York and former chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Washington, D.C., attorney general is investigating the Commanders and Snyder as well, the Post reported.
Although most information regarding NFL owners changing their minds about Snyder’s ability to continue owning the team were taken from reports of private conversations, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said at an October news conference that “there is merit to removing [Snyder] as owner,” the first public acknowledgement that the tide may have been turning against Snyder. ESPN reported in October that Snyder had hired private investigators to find “dirt” on other NFL team owners and commissioner Roger Goodell to leverage the information against them, although Snyder denied this, writing in a letter to the owners that this report was “patently false.”
The crowd at a Commanders game in October made their feelings known, chanting “Sell the team!” during a video appearance by Tanya Snyder, who was promoting the team’s breast cancer awareness initiative.
In March 2021, Snyder purchased his former partners’ shares of the team for $875 million, taking on $450 million in debt, making him the full owner of the Commanders. He had been feuding with co-owners Dwight Schar, Robert Rothman and Frederick Smith, who bought into the team in 2003 but tried to sell their stakes last year, The New York Times reported. In February, Snyder purchased Virginia’s most expensive house, the $48 million River View, which was once part of George Washington’s Alexandria estate, Mount Vernon.