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HomeNewsWashington Commanders NFL owner Dan Snyder gets the last laugh

Washington Commanders NFL owner Dan Snyder gets the last laugh

One of many foundational moments within the fashionable historical past of sports activities social justice — in skilled leagues stepping up and doing “the best factor” — got here in 2014, when the brand new NBA commissioner, Adam Silver, held a information convention and declared Los Angeles Clippers proprietor Donald Sterling “banned for all times” from the league for wildly racist feedback. You may make an argument that Silver’s highly effective assertion fortified the NBA’s place because the “progressive” sports activities league and set in movement the age of athlete activism and empowerment that exploded in its wake. It felt like the great guys had gained.

Silver’s highly effective assertion fortified the NBA’s place because the “progressive” sports activities league and set in movement the age of athlete activism.

However it is usually price remembering what Sterling’s banishment actually meant. As a result of he was an proprietor of a group, fairly than an worker or a participant, Silver couldn’t actually “ban” him any greater than President Joe Biden might “ban” Elon Musk from proudly owning Twitter. What he might do is put sufficient stress on him that he felt compelled to promote his group, which, thanks in giant to Sterling’s estranged spouse, finally occurred. So Sterling — once more, really probably the most loathsome characters within the final 50 years of sports activities — needed to endure the last word punishment: He was compelled to simply accept $2 billion of Steve Ballmer’s cash for his group. That is how sports activities homeowners are actually punished. That is as unhealthy because it will get for them.

And these classes really feel newly related because the NFL’s Daniel Snyder car-crash continues in gradual movement. Snyder, the longtime proprietor of the Washington Commanders (a reputation he as soon as refused to vary and solely did so after years of unrelenting stress), introduced Wednesday that he and his spouse, Tanya, had employed Financial institution of America to “think about potential transactions.” It’s a transfer that would sign a possible sale of the group. (Tanya Snyder, non-Washington followers might or might not keep in mind, turned the group’s co-CEO final yr, a place she was promoted to after the group was hit with a cavalcade of sexual harassment lawsuits, together with a number of particularly pointing at Snyder. Snyder has denied any wrongdoing.)

Snyder has fought off calls to promote the group all through his reign in Washington as the town has watched a once-proud franchise flounder on the sphere and off, continually embarrassing the league with scandal after scandal. (Right here’s a chronicle of most of the allegations, however observe that piece is 10 years previous.) Now, the partitions appear to lastly be closing in, with different homeowners calling for him to promote the group and an investigation from the U.S. Legal professional’s workplace involving monetary improprieties (an lawyer representing the Commanders instructed ESPN any such “allegations are merely unfaithful.”) Snyder shouldn’t be formally promoting the group but — it’s attainable he has introduced in Financial institution of America as a diversionary tactic — however even that could be a signal that he’s, ultimately, going through some severe headwinds.

After all, sports activities homeowners’ headwinds are quite a bit completely different than yours and mine. Similar to Don Sterling, Snyder’s worst-case state of affairs is, nicely, a reasonably great one for him. If Snyder does find yourself promoting the group, he might find yourself rating in extra money than anybody has ever obtained for a sports activities franchise. Forbes estimates that the Commanders are the sixth-most priceless franchise within the NFL, valued at $5.6 billion, a very exceptional sum contemplating how a lot injury has been achieved to that group’s fame. Probably the most profitable franchise sale in United States sports activities historical past got here simply final yr, when the Walton-Penner group purchased the Denver Broncos for $4.65 billion. Washington — with its huge fanbase, storied historical past and standing as, nonetheless, one of many NFL’s jewel franchises — would nearly certainly surpass that.

Which suggests Daniel Snyder’s punishment would be the greatest windfall in American sports activities historical past.

Similar to Don Sterling, Snyder’s worst-case state of affairs is, nicely, a reasonably great one for him.

In case you or I — or, extra to the purpose, a Washington government or a participant — have been to ravage the fame of probably the most sterling manufacturers in American sports activities, both through scandal or repeated, sustained incompetence, we might get fired. We’d lose our jobs, we might be mocked within the public sq., we’d doubtless have a really arduous time discovering anybody keen to rent us in such a place once more. We’d face the ramifications of all that we had achieved, all of the errors we had made, all of the venality we’d foisted upon an unsuspecting public. 

Daniel Snyder, although, like Donald Sterling earlier than him, will face no such punishment. He’ll in reality develop into richer than he already is, once more, identical to Sterling did when he offered his group.

To be truthful, Washington Commanders followers will profit if Snyder sells the group and somebody much less buffoonish and merciless (and extremely shady) buys it. The group may even begin profitable video games once more. The NFL can even profit if Snyder sells the group, as will the staff who alleged they’ve lengthy suffered underneath his management. It’s attainable a long-needed new stadium might lastly materialize. Heck, the world will profit if Snyder sells the group, if simply to not have to listen to about him anymore. However let there be little question about it: If Snyder sells the group, nobody on earth will profit greater than Daniel Snyder. We should always all face such worst-case eventualities.

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