Have you ever wondered why Dan Snyder, who doesn’t seem like he is particularly interested in owning a football team, continues to own the Washington Commanders, even in the face of scrutiny from Congress regarding sexual harassment allegations, a stadium that is falling apart, and a team that has made the playoffs five times since the turn of the millennium? A new piece by Don Van Natta, Seth Wickersham, and Tisha Thompson of ESPN attempts to answer this question, and as it turns out, a big portion of it is that Snyder believes he is untouchable.
The long and the short of it is that Snyder claims that he has acquired dirt on a number of individuals, including other owners and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, which he allegedly says means “they can’t f*ck with me.” And with NFL league meetings taking place next week, there are questions about whether or not there is a way to get Snyder, who has owned the team since 1999, out of the nation’s capital.
League sources say the NFL is aware that Snyder has claimed to be tracking owners. But none of the owners or sources would reveal how they learned of Snyder’s alleged effort to use private investigators. It’s also unclear how many owners are said to have been targeted, though sources say they believe it’s at least six. One owner was told by Snyder directly that he “has dirt on Jerry Jones,” a team source told ESPN, though the nature of the information was unclear. Another source confirmed that Snyder has told a confidant that he has “a file” on Jones, the Dallas Cowboys owner who has served as Snyder’s friend, mentor and longtime firewall of support.
Snyder has reportedly compared the NFL to “a mafia” where “all the owners hate each other,” while one owner pushed back against that to ESPN and said “all the owners hate Dan.” A team spokesperson denies that Snyder believes he is capable of turning the league on its head with the amount of information he has accrued on others, and alleges that he has never said anything about the NFL being a mafia.