Who Is Dan Snyder? Washington Commanders Owner Embroiled in Constant Scandal

    Controversy has dominated Dan Snyder's tenure as the Washington Commanders owner. But his reign could soon be coming to an end.

    Since Dan Snyder purchased the Washington Commanders in 1999, his tenure as an NFL owner has been marked by controversy. Misconduct, harassment, and financial misdeeds are at the forefront of the allegations against Snyder. On the field, Washington has become an NFL laughingstock, as the club has made the postseason six times since Snyder took over.

    Snyder’s reign may finally be coming to an end. The subject of multiple investigations, Snyder is considering selling the Commanders and exiting the NFL. Let’s examine his career as an NFL owner, including the numerous allegations that have surfaced over the past two decades.

    Dan Snyder’s Tenure as the Washington Commanders Owner

    Snyder, 58, founded Snyder Communications in 1989. The marketing firm held an initial public offering in 1996, giving Snyder the money he needed to purchase the Washington franchise from Jack Kent Cooke for $800 million.

    Under Snyder’s management, the Commanders have posted just a 164-220-2 record during the regular season. The club’s .427 winning percentage is the sixth-worst in the NFL during that stretch. Washington has not advanced past the Divisional Round since 2005.

    MORE: Washington Commanders Sale — Potential Buyers To Replace Dan Snyder Include Jeff Bezos, Magic Johnson

    Snyder has consistently clashed with his team’s football decision-makers, and he’s gone through eight full-time head coaches in 24 seasons. In 2023, a report from the NFL Players Association rated the Commanders as the worst NFL team to play for, as players gave the franchise poor marks for its treatment of families, nutrition, and facilities.

    Snyder Has Faced Numerous Controversies

    Much of Snyder’s tenure has been defined by scandal, so much so that it’s almost difficult to know where to begin.

    The most damning accusations against Snyder have involved sexual improprieties and toxic workplace culture. The Washington Post has detailed the complaints against Snyder and the Commanders, including filming lewd videos of the club’s cheerleaders without their consent and pressuring a cheerleader to become intimately involved with Washington suite holders.

    In 2009, Snyder was accused of sexual harassment by a former Commanders employee. While Snyder denied the allegations, he paid $1.6 million as part of a confidential settlement.

    In 2021, the Commanders hired attorney Beth Wilkinson to conduct an independent investigation into misconduct within the workplace. Although the details of the report were not made public, it concluded that “sexual harassment, bullying, and intimidation were commonplace” under Snyder’s stewardship.

    Following Wilkinson’s report, the NFL fined the Commanders $10 million, while Snyder handed day-to-day control of the franchise to his wife, Tanya.

    In July 2022, Snyder testified before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. Later that year, the Committee produced a report that found additional evidence and witnesses of sexual misconduct within the Washington organization. The report also concluded that Snyder had actively sought to interfere with the investigation.

    On the financial side, Snyder has been accused of withholding ticket revenue intended to be shared with other NFL clubs. Meanwhile, Snyder allegedly took out a $55 million line of credit without securing the required approval of his minority partners.

    Finally, Snyder repeatedly refused to change his team’s name and also declined to meet with Native Americans who were offended by the “Redskins” moniker. Snyder only relented following the 2020 George Floyd protests, when numerous sponsors threatened to sever their relationship with Washington unless the club’s name was altered.

    Will Snyder Sell the Commanders?

    In Nov. 2022, Snyder hired Bank of America Securities to “consider potential transactions,” the first indication that he could be willing to sell the Commanders. Several possible buyers — including Philadelphia 76ers/New Jersey Devils owner Josh Harris, Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta, Canadian billionaire Steve Apostolopoulos, and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos — have already emerged.

    MORE: The NFL’s Problems Run Deeper Than Dan Snyder

    If Snyder refuses to sell the team, the other NFL owners could hypothetically remove him as owner. In Oct. 2022, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said there is “merit” to removing Snyder, adding that the allegations against him are “gravely concerning.”

    The NFL has never stripped an owner of a team. At least 24 of the league’s 32 owners would have to agree to remove Snyder, and the NFL may not want to set such a precedent. However, allegations that Snyder has claimed to have “dirt” on his fellow owners and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell could embolden the other owners to take action.

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