Dan Snyder

Dan Snyder Gains Full Ownership Of WFT

Dan Snyder now owns the Washington Football Team outright. Adam Schefter of ESPN.com recently reported that Snyder has officially acquired the 40% interest in the team previously held by minority owners Frederick Smith, Robert Rothman, and Dwight Schar (Twitter link).

The three minority owners had filed suit seeking a ruling that Snyder must purchase all of their shares or none of them, as their value is higher collectively than individually (Snyder was reportedly willing to purchase the 25% share owned by Smith and Rothman but not the 15% share owned by Schar). The litigation had taken an ugly turn, with Snyder filing his own suit alleging that Schar had engaged in a smear campaign by leaking information concerning a $1.6MM settlement that WFT reached in 2009 with a former female employee who accused Snyder of sexual misconduct. To be clear, two separate investigations in 2009 failed to substantiate the former employee’s claims, and Snyder did not admit to any wrongdoing in the settlement.

Whether Schar had anything to do with the reports on that settlement or not, it came just months after a number of former female employees came forward with allegations of a longstanding culture of sexual abuse. The NFL’s investigation into those allegations is ongoing, but it is not presently expected to amount to significant (if any) sanctions.

Snyder certainly doesn’t seem concerned that he will face any sanctions that will affect his ownership. As Peter King of NBC Sports wrote in his last Football Morning in America column, Snyder borrowed heavily to buy out the minority owners, a buyout that checked in at $950MM (Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post tweeted that the final price tag was $875MM, but either way, it was a sizable chunk of change).

Obviously, this development further entrenches Snyder at the top of WFT, and as King writes, the multi-billionaire has no intention of selling the club. Though he may take on other partners in the future to offset his newly-incurred debt, he actually intends to one day pass the club down to the next generation of Snyders.

So buckle up, WFT fans. In the 22 years of the Syder regime, Washington has won just four division titles and has just two playoff wins (both in the wildcard round). It has not won a postseason game in 15 years, though the club has put together a solid offseason and should compete for the NFC East crown again in 2021.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On WFT Ownership Turmoil

Though the Washington Football Team may be able to clinch the NFC East with a win over the Panthers today, the club can never seem to escape drama. In addition to quarterback Dwayne Haskinspoor decision-making that made headlines this past week, more developments in the team’s ownership dispute continue to take attention away from the on-field product.

As Ken Belson and Katherine Rosman of the New York Times wrote last month, three minority owners — Frederick Smith, Robert Rothman, and Dwight Schar — are trying to sell their combined 40% ownership stake in the team. According to Michael Phillips of the Richmond Times-Dispatch (citing the Washington Post), the potential buyers are Behdad Eghbali and Jose Feliciano, co-founders of California-based private equity firm Clearlake Capital.

The problem is that majority owner Dan Snyder has the right of first refusal when minority owners attempt to sell their shares, and Snyder is reportedly willing to purchase the 25% share owned by Smith and Rothman but not the 15% share owned by Schar. Smith, Rothman, and Schar have filed suit seeking a ruling that Snyder must purchase all of the shares or none of them (as their value is higher collectively than individually).

A few days ago, Will Hobson, Beth Reinhard, and Liz Clarke of the Washington Post published a story revealing that WFT paid a former female employee $1.6MM as part of a confidential settlement in 2009 after the employee accused Snyder of sexual misconduct that allegedly took place on Snyder’s private plane. Snyder believes the timing of the article is not a coincidence, and he has filed his own suit claiming that Schar is engaging in a smear campaign and is attempting to gain leverage in the ownership dispute by leaking information concerning the settlement.

As John Keim of ESPN.com details, the Post story was published several days after a New York Times piece which made clear that two separate investigations in 2009 failed to substantiate the former employee’s claims. Plus, Snyder did not admit to any wrongdoing in the settlement, and Snyder himself said that the team’s insurance carrier ultimately decided to settle the matter.

Of course, a number of former female employees came forward just this summer with allegations of a longstanding culture of sexual abuse within the organization, and an investigation into those allegations is ongoing. But the last we heard, Snyder himself was not directly involved in any harassment or abuse, so unless there are new developments in that regard, Snyder will not be forced to sell the club.

In the minority owners’ suit against Snyder, the court issued an order “requiring the parties to maintain confidentiality and to refrain from disparaging any of the other parties,” as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes. On January 7, the minority owners and Snyder will appear in court to answer questions regarding their potential violations of that order. And according to Andrew Beaton of the Wall Street Journal, the NFL has hired former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to assist in its investigation into Schar’s alleged smear tactics.

As Florio observes in a separate piece, the league does not approve of the minority owners taking their dispute to court, and it obviously wants to prevent other partial owners from forcing the hand of a majority owner by manipulating the media. But the league will also need to investigate the alleged 2009 incident, and depending on the outcome of that investigation, Schar may end up getting what he wants anyway.

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Redskins To Face League Discipline?

TODAY: Any punishment the Redskins face is likely to be limited to fines, Maske writes in a full-length story. Because Snyder himself was not directly involved in any harassment, this situation is different from the one that culminated in former Panthers owner Jerry Richardson selling his team several years ago. It’s also why the league is likely to defer to Wilkinson’s findings rather than conduct a separate investigation.

So unless there are new developments with respect to Snyder’s role, it seems he will keep his team and his draft picks. Snyder and his wife, Tanya, emailed an apology letter to every member of the organization on Friday night (via Schefter on Twitter).

JULY 17: The much-ballyhooed story concerning the Redskins’ organizational culture broke last night via a Washington Post article that details sexual abuse allegations made by 15 former female employees of the team. As a preemptive strike, the club hired DC-based attorney Beth Wilkinson to conduct a thorough review of its protocols, and depending on what Wilkinson finds, the Redskins could be subject to league discipline.

The NFL released the following statement in response to the story (via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com on Twitter):

“These matters as reported are serious, disturbing and contrary to the NFL’s values. Everyone in the NFL has the right to work in an environment free from any and all forms of harassment. Washington has engaged outside counsel to conduct a thorough investigation into these allegations. The club has pledged that it will give its full cooperation to the investigator and we expect the club and all employees to do so. We will meet with the attorneys upon the conclusion of their investigation and take any action based on the findings.”

So it certainly sounds as if a fine and/or draft pick forfeiture could be in the cards. And while owner Dan Snyder was not accused of harassment himself, this report will doubtlessly intensify the already loud cries for him to sell the team.

It will also be interesting to see if the NFL undertakes its own investigation once Wilkinson’s is complete. After all, the Redskins are Wilkinson’s client, so her duty is to them. As Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv suggests, it would be a bad look for the league to allow the organizational review to be handled exclusively by a person hand-picked by the organization (Twitter link). Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has also called on commissioner Roger Goodell to get to the bottom of the matter, as Mark Maske of the Washington Post tweets.

Snyder, meanwhile, issued the following statement (via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com on Twitter):

“The behavior described in yesterday’s Washington Post article has no place in our franchise or society. This story has strengthened my commitment to setting a new culture and standard for our team, a process that began with the hiring of Coach [Ron] Rivera earlier this year. Beth Wilkinson and her firm are empowered to do a full, unbiased investigation and make any and all requisite recommendations. Upon completion of her work, we will institute new policies and procedures and strengthen our human resources infrastructure to not only avoid these issues in the future but most importantly create a team culture that is respectful and inclusive of all.”

In other Redskins news, the team announced that it has promoted Jeff Scott to the role of assistant director of pro scouting/advance coordinator. Scott will oversee advance scouting of opponents and evaluate potential talent in NFL free agency and all other pro leagues. He will still assist with the evaluation of trade scenarios during the draft (Twitter links via NFL Insider Adam Caplan).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

15 Former Female Redskins Employees Allege Sexual Harassment

15 former female Redskins employees told Will Hobson and Liz Clarke of the Washington Post that they were sexually harassed during their tenure with the organization. This follows news from earlier today that the team had hired DC-based attorney Beth Wilkinson in anticipation of the story.

“The Washington Redskins football team takes issues of employee conduct seriously … While we do not speak to specific employee situations publicly, when new allegations of conduct are brought forward that are contrary to these policies, we address them promptly,” the team said in a statement.

14 of the women spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing litigation after signing nondisclosure agreements that prevented them from speaking negatively about the organization. The Redskins declined a request from the Washington Post to release those individuals from those agreements. Owner Dan Snyder also declined “several requests” for an interview.

Notably, three team employees have abruptly left the organization in recent weeks. Director of pro personnel Alex Santos and assistant director of pro personnel Richard Mann II were fired from their positions, while longtime radio personality Larry Michael left his position earlier this week.

As the article details, the allegations stem from 2006 to 2019, and the allegations include “unwelcome overtures or comments of a sexual nature, and exhortations to wear revealing clothing and flirt with clients to close sales deals.” Among those accused of harassment are “three former members of Snyder’s inner circle and two longtime members of the personnel department.” Besides the aforementioned individuals, the Post identifies former president of business operations Dennis Greene and former COO Mitch Gershman as harassers.

While none of the women accused Snyder nor former team president Bruce Allen of harassment, the women “expressed skepticism the men were unaware of the behavior they allege.” The women also cited Snyder’s “understaffed human resources department” and a “sophomoric culture of verbal abuse among top executives.”

The article is filled with anecdotes, text messages, and internal company documents that seem to substantiate the claims. As Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com notes, this certainly won’t be the end of the story. While Snyder refused to be interviewed for the Washington Post story, he can’t stay silent forever, and there will surely be increased calls for him to sell the team.

Dan Snyder Lobbying For Sports Betting

Washington owner Dan Snyder has been lobbying the Maryland legislature to permit his organization a sports gambling license. Unsurprisingly, Snyder is lobbying the Virginia legislature as well, according to Erin Cox and Ovetta Wiggins of the Washington Post. Per the Washington Post report, Snyder has built some momentum towards a bill’s passage. The legislature will be voting on two sports gambling bills on Monday, but it remains unclear whether either will pass at this point.

Obviously every NFL team would benefit greatly from a gambling license and Snyder would surely be happy to create a new revenue stream for his organization. Of course, Snyder has yet to show much competence on the football side of his team ownership, however, it is hardly new for an owner to consistently prioritize financial returns to football performance.

Going forward, if Snyder were able to obtain a license, other ownership groups would surely try to emulate his tactics. The league may also step in and attempt to adjudicate if teams with licenses have to share revenues with teams in states with less amenable legislatures.

Redskins Rumors: Snyder, Rivera, Kerrigan

Although since-fired team president Bruce Allen took most of the heat for the Redskins’ personnel decisions during the 2010s, Dan Snyder has continued to play a role in the franchise’s football operations. Allen was also believed to be on the side of drafting Dwayne Haskins, but John Keim and Jason Reid of ESPN.com write Snyder appeared to lead that charge — even though the owner once criticized for his big-ticket moves has contributed less input on that front in recent years. Some in Washington’s building placed a third-round grade on Haskins, per Keim and Reid. Haskins was viewed as a first-round pick for most of the pre-draft process. While Ron Rivera is expected to have more control over Redskins personnel matters than Jay Gruden, sources informed the ESPN duo they still expect Snyder to be involved.

Here is the latest out of Washington:

  • New defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio confirmed the Redskins will shift back to a 4-3 base defense, Les Carpenter of the Washington Post notes. Both Rivera and Del Rio have used 4-3 bases for most of their respective careers, so this should come as no surprise. However, Snyder is believed to have made this a point of emphasis, per Keim and Reid. The Redskins have not deployed a 4-3 base defense in 11 seasons, though with teams’ increased nickel usage, transitions in front-seven schemes are not as significant as they once were. This will make Washington’s starting lineup interesting, however, with the team having three talented interior defenders — Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne and 2019 sack leader Matt Ioannidis — up front.
  • Ryan Kerrigan just completed a down year, registering a career-low 5.5 sacks and missing the first two games of his career. The productive Redskins edge defender is going into a contract year, but Keim tweets Kerrigan and previous Redskins management had engaged in extension talks in 2019. Kerrigan, 31, would like to stay with Washington on a third contract.
  • Rather than retirement, Alex Smith will continue his efforts to return to the field. The Redskins quarterback has missed the past 22 games because of a gruesome leg injury that required numerous surgeries. “I still have dreams of getting back to where I was and getting back out there,” Smith said, via NBC Sports Washington’s Ethan Cadeaux. “This has been a crazy ride with a lot of unforeseen turns, but without a doubt, that’s still my goal.” Smith, 35, is set to count $21.4MM against Washington’s cap this season. No cap savings can come of a Smith release until 2021.

Latest On Redskins’ HC Plans, Front Office

After little emerged on the Redskins front for weeks following Jay Gruden‘s firing, the struggling franchise is dominating the early-weekend news cycle. Bruce Allen‘s role as team president is not safe, with a Black Monday dismissal being considered.

The Redskins are considering firing their 10-year front office czar, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports, adding that Allen may have a chance to remain with the organization in a non-football role. That would be an interesting setup given Allen’s tumultuous tenure in Washington, but Dan Snyder is pondering widespread changes to his football operations department.

Replacement options for Allen include ex-Texans GM Rick Smith and former NFL executive-turned-TV analyst Louis Riddick, La Canfora adds, noting Snyder has done research on a few personnel execs. Smith resigned from his Houston post after the 2017 season but is open to returning to the league. Riddick worked with the Redskins from 2001-07, serving as a scout and pro personnel director. He subsequently held the same role with the Eagles.

As for Washington’s HC opening, Snyder has “strong interest” in Ron Rivera, per JLC. The longtime Redskins owner is also interested in Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, ex-Jets HC and current Buccaneers DC Todd Bowles, longtime Bengals HC Marvin Lewis and former Ohio State coach Urban Meyer. These are consolation prizes, though, with La Canfora reporting Snyder’s primary hope is to work out a trade for Mike Tomlin. Snyder is not optimistic about such a deal. The prospect of bringing the Virginia native to Washington surfaced two-plus months ago.

The prospect of bringing aboard a defensive coach opens the door to Washington sticking with top offensive incumbents Bill Callahan and Kevin O’Connell. Snyder is high on both his interim HC and first-year OC, according to La Canfora. Callahan expressed interest in staying on, though it’s not known if he would stick around under another head coach, and O’Connell has been the primary Dwayne Haskins developer this season. Snyder was the driving force behind the Redskins’ Haskins pick, overruling Gruden.

Allen has not excelled in Washington, but neither have most of the head coaches under Snyder. The Redskins have not made the playoffs in consecutive seasons under the 21st-year owner.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Redskins Eyeing Marvin Lewis For HC

It sounds like the Redskins already have their eye on a potential head coach. SiriusXM’s Alex Marvez reports (via Twitter) that Marvin Lewis is a strong contender for the Redskins’ coaching vacancy. In fact, Marvez says Lewis may have already interviewed with owner Dan Snyder in the Bahamas.

Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com echoes that report, and the reporter also provides context to Washington’s interest. Lewis previously served as the team’s defensive coordinator and assistant head coach under Steve Spurrier.

That stint in Washington preceded the coach’s 16-year stint as the Bengals head coach. While Lewis didn’t help the Bengals achieve any playoff success (0-7 in seven appearances), he did finish his Cincy career with a 131-122 record, including 10 seasons with at least eight victories.

While the Bengals struggled between 2016 and 2018 (20-28), it was still a bit of a surprise when the organization moved on from Lewis last year. We heard that the 61-year-old would be well-positioned to secure another head coaching gig this offseason. However, Lewis didn’t take any interviews last offseason, and he later revealed that he didn’t expect to coach againHe joined his friends Ray Anderson and Herm Edwards at Arizona State University as a special advisor back in May, and it’s believed that Lewis would consider an NFL gig if the right opportunity presented itself.

In recent years, the trend has been for teams to hire younger, more offensive-minded coaches. Some front office insiders believe Lewis will be considered one of the most accomplished coaches available, so he may have options beyond Washington.

We heard yesterday that Snyder has been working on the team’s head coaching situation for several weeks. Former Panthers head coach Ron Rivera was mentioned as a potential name to monitor. Interim HC Bill Callahan would like to be considered, but it’s unlikely given Washington’s post-Jay Gruden performance that the team will go with the 63-year-old coach as its next full-time leader. The Redskins moved on from Gruden back in October, with the team going 0-5 before the move and 3-7 after the move.

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Latest On Redskins’ HC Search, Front Office

Bruce Allen is wrapping up his 10th season in the Redskins’ front office, but Washington’s team president has not been given the lead role in identifying the franchise’s next head coach.

Dan Snyder has been working on the team’s HC situation for several weeks, with Albert Breer of SI.com reporting he’s assembled a group of football people to help on this front. None of those in this committee of sorts are Redskins employees, Breer notes (on Twitter).

The longtime Redskins owner has kept his football staff in the dark on some of the changes he’s mulling, Breer adds, inviting speculation Allen will not be in the team’s future plans. This would undoubtedly please a sizable sect of Washington’s fanbase, but as of now, the veteran exec remains the top cog in Washington’s football operations staff.

Allen has plans of his own on how the franchise should proceed, per John Keim of ESPN.com, who confirms Snyder has left him out of certain parts of this process (Twitter link). A November report indicated Allen’s status for 2020 was uncertain, so these next several days will be critical for the Redskins.

Snyder is believed to be far along in this search, which has yet to produce any known candidates. Though, Breer identifies Ron Rivera as a name to monitor. Interim HC Bill Callahan would like to be considered, but it’s unlikely given Washington’s post-Gruden performance that the team will go with the 63-year-old coach as its next full-time leader.

The Redskins are 62-96-1 during Allen’s tenure, one that has now included three head coaches. Should they lose to the Cowboys on Sunday, they will secure the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 draft.

Redskins’ Bruce Allen On The Hot Seat?

The Redskins organization has seen plenty of turnover in recent years, but one consistent has been Bruce Allen. Could the team president suddenly be on the hot seat? Mike Garafolo of NFL Network seems to think so. Appearing on Good Morning Football, Garafolo said that everything is up for evaluation in Washington this offseason, and that includes Allen’s role with the organization (Twitter link).

The reporter adds that the team has hit “rock bottom right now,” and owner Dan Snyder understands that something drastic needs to happen. Further, Garafolo opined that “for the first time, i’m really feeling like they are evaluating Bruce Allen’s role with the team going forward.” For what it’s worth, Garafolo also added the caveat that Allen’s job could be safe should the Redskins and rookie Dwayne Haskins show up down the stretch.

George Allen had coached the Redskins to their first Super Bowl appearance back in the 1970s, making his son Bruce a popular pick when he was hired as the organization’s general manager in late 2009. The executive has seen a number of title changes during his tenure with the Redskins, including his promotion to team president in 2014. Allen had previously served as general manager of the Buccaneers.

While Allen has continually had the trust of Snyder, he’s struggled to field a competitive team. The Redskins are 44-79 during his time with the organization, and the Redskins only has a single playoff appearance during that span. The front office is now searching for the third head coach of Allen’s tenure after he fired Jay Gruden earlier this season (Bill Callahan is currently serving as the interim head coach). Mike Shanhan had served as head coach/executive vice president from 2010 to 2013.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.