WASHINGTON — A vote on removing Dan Snyder from the National Football League is looking like more of a reality than ever before, after a fellow owner broke his silence on the Commanders owner at the league's annual owners meeting. Colts owner Jim Irsay told reporters Thursday that he believes enough NFL owners are leaning towards removing Snyder as owner of the team.
Irsay became the first NFL owner to speak publicly about Snyder's future with the league when he said he believes there is "merit to remove" Snyder amid several ongoing investigations into workplace harassment allegations. Forcing Snyder to sell the team would be unprecedented and require 24 votes from the league's 32 owners.
"I think it's something that we have to review, we have to look at all the evidence and we have to be thorough in going forward," Irsay said when asked whether he thinks Snyder is good for the league. "I believe [other owners] will support [removing Snyder] if the report shows and they believe it's the right thing to do."
A spokesperson for the Commanders responded to Irsay's statements.
"It is unfortunate that Mr. Irsay decided to go public with his statement today, while an investigation is in process, and the team has had no opportunity to formally respond to allegations," the spokesperson said. "The Commanders have made remarkable progress over the past two years. We are confident that, when he has an opportunity to see the actual evidence in this case, Mr. Irsay will conclude that there is no reason for the Snyders to consider selling the franchise. And they won't."
Snyder's ownership of the team has been widely debated for years amid several scandals and investigations into workplace conduct in Washington. The league has been investigating allegations of sexual misconduct and financial impropriety, a probe conducted by attorney Mary Jo White that is ongoing. It became a hotter topic last week following an ESPN report detailing Snyder’s efforts to influence other owners and the league office to maintain control of the team.
ESPN reported, citing anonymous sources, that Snyder has hired private investigators and told people he has enough information to expose fellow owners and Commissioner Roger Goodell. The league has been investigating allegations of sexual misconduct and financial impropriety, a probe conducted by attorney Mary Jo White that is ongoing.
The Commanders have categorically denied all claims made in the ESPN report, releasing detailed responses to 12 questions from ESPN's article.
“It’s hard to imagine a piece that is more categorically untrue, and is clearly part of a well-funded, two-year misinformation campaign to coerce the sale of the team, which will continue to be unsuccessful" a team spokesperson said in response to questions about the veracity of ESPN's reporting.
Earlier this week, an inside source who spoke anonymously to The Associated Press said there is no plan to vote on Washington Commander's owner Dan Snyder's status during a meeting in New York.
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Snyder has owned the team since 1999. He and the organization are currently the subject of ongoing investigations by the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform, as well as the White report. Last month, league executive Jeff Miller said there was no timeline for the completion of White's investigation. Lisa Banks, who represents more than 40 former team employees, some of whom have spoken to White, voiced disappointment about the owners' plan not to vote on Snyder but expects new findings to change that trajectory.
WUSA9 was able to confirm, co-owner and co-CEO Tanya Snyder attended the meetings, despite not being seen walking through the main entrance most of the owners walked though. Team President Jason Wright is also representing the team in New York.
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