PHOENIX – Dan Snyder’s future in the NFL as owner of the Washington Commanders remains in standby mode while his peers gathered at a posh resort for the league’s annual meetings and waited for news on the potential sale of the team.
A discussion on Snyder isn’t on the formal agenda this week, three people familiar with those details told The Associated Press on Monday. Still, Snyder was a hot topic of conversation despite his absence and even while quarterback Lamar Jackson’s trade request dominated headlines.
“I think he’s put the team up for sale. I believe that something is close to happening,” New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said. “I don’t know that for sure. We’ll wait and see what happens.”
Canadian billionaire Steve Apostolopoulos recently joined groups led by Josh Harris and Tilman Fertitta to bid on purchasing the Commanders. Once Snyder accepts an offer, he must submit the bidder’s name to the NFL for approval. That hasn’t happened yet, a person told the AP.
Last fall, with multiple investigations ongoing into the team’s workplace culture, finances and Snyder himself, he and wife Tanya hired a firm to “consider possible transactions.” Tanya continues to represent the team at league events.
Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay has said there’s “merit to remove” Snyder as owner of the Commanders. That would take an unprecedented vote of 24 of the other 31 team owners to happen.
Snyder and his attorneys have demanded that NFL owners and the league indemnify him against future legal liability and costs if he sells the team, a person told the AP. Two owners said they were angered by Snyder’s demand for indemnification but told the AP that they want to let the sale process play out before taking any action.
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Snyder's situation has changed their relationship.
“I think that it’s a little more formal, but I think it’s that way because of the various issues that are involved here,” Jones said. “It’s not ‘lovey-dovey,’ but it’s not really strained in any way.”
Snyder and the team are still under investigation by former U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White, who was retained by the league to look into various aspects of the organization stemming from a congressional review into workplace misconduct that also included a referral to the Federal Trade Commission for potential business improprieties.
A spokesperson declined to comment when asked if Snyder had refused to speak with White, saying it’s a confidential matter between the club and the league.
Snyder is facing other civil suits and investigations.
The Attorney General for the District of Columbia filed two suits in civil court against the Commanders late last year: one for a scheme to cheat fans out of ticket money and another naming Snyder, Commissioner Roger Goodell and the league, saying they colluded to deceive fans about an investigation into the team’s workplace culture that ended with a $10 million fine and no written report. The Commanders settled with the state of Maryland, agreeing to return security deposits to former season ticket holders and pay a $250,000 penalty.
An investigation by the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform, launched in October 2021 and including testimony from Snyder, Goodell and many others, said the team fostered a toxic workplace culture.
Other news out of Monday's meetings included:
The NFL has launched The Smart Heart Sports Coalition, a collaboration among various organizations advocating to adopt evidence-based policies that will prevent fatal outcomes from sudden cardiac arrest among high school students.
“The NFL has a history of stepping up on challenging issues,” league executive Anna Isaacson said. “Damar Hamlin’s life was saved. We want to save more lives.”
The coalition includes the NFL, NBA, MLB, MLS, NHL, NCAA, the American Heart Association, American Red Cross, Korey Stringer Institute, National Athletic Trainers’ Association and Damar Hamlin’s Chasing M’s Foundation.
League executive Jeff Miller said it’s critical for schools to have policies in place to deliver CPR effectively and have immediate access to AEDs.
“If a school has an emergency-action plan in place, if they have somebody trained in CPR and they have access to an AED, a lot of the most tragic situations which unfortunately happen may be prevented.”
League executive Peter O’Reilly said a vote on host cities for the Super Bowl in 2026 and the NFL draft in 2025 won’t take place this week. O’Reilly said it’s likely to be on the agenda for the May meetings.
Las Vegas hosts the Super Bowl next year and New Orleans will host the following one. Kansas City hosts the NFL draft next month and Detroit will host next year.
PRO BOWL GAMES
O’Reilly said the reimagined Pro Bowl with a week of activities and competition capped by flag football is here to stay. He said 100% of players surveyed favor the new format. ___