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Commanders’ Dan Snyder sends NFL owners letter denying damning report of defiance, threats to rest of league

The NFL owners meeting this week has a different vibe to it compared to years past. Apart from conversations about NFL officiating and how the quarterback should be protected, there’s also the potential issue of Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder.

A recent story from ESPN took aim at the embattled owner, claiming that he violated the terms of the punishment that was handed to him due to workplace misconduct, allegedly hired private investigators to look into other NFL owners as well as commissioner Roger Goodell, and used investigators to “harass and intimidate witnesses” while the Washington franchise was being investigated. ESPN also reported that Snyder believes he has enough “dirt” on Goodell and the other owners that could allow him to “blow up” the league.

The heat on Snyder rose a couple degrees Tuesday, as Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay came out and publicly stated he believes “there’s merit” to removing Snyder as Commanders owner. Later Tuesday, Snyder broke his silence and sent a letter to his fellow NFL owners to address the allegations surrounding him, for ESPN.

Dear,

I hope that you and your family are doing well.

I would like to address a recent ESPN article that contains false and malicious statements about the Washington Commanders, our management team, and me and my family. It is particularly shameful for ESPN to diminish the very real accomplishments of our President Jason Wright, who ESPN alleges was placed at the Commanders by the League and has no power to make real change. I know you know this to be false. Unfortunately, ESPN ignored our efforts to correct the many falsehoods in their article before its publication.

There is one allegation in the ESPN article that I feel it is important to address immediately. The article cited unnamed sources who said: “They’ve been told that Snyder instructed his law firms to hire private investigators to look into other owners” and Commissioner Goodell. That is patently false and intended to erode the trust and goodwill between owners that I take quite seriously. I have never hired any private investigator to look into any owner or the Commissioner. I have never instructed or authorized my lawyers to hire any private investigator on my behalf for any such purpose. And I never would.

While we all are fierce competitors on the field, we are a part of this organization because we love football, our teams and our fans. Having the privilege to own a franchise in America’s sport is something I know none of us take for granted. Falsehoods and lies being spread about any of our organizations hurts our League, our players and our fans, and we simply cannot let them go unchallenged.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you have any questions, Tanya and I are always available to answer them, and we look forward to discussing these issues with you at the appropriate time.

Sincerely,

Dan Snyder

While there are reportedly multiple teams that want Snyder out as owner, Irsay was the first one to publicly come out and say it.

“I assume we’re going to get into more and more discussion on that,” said Irsay when asked if Snyder has been a topic of conversation at these meeting. “You know, it’s a difficult situation. I believe that there’s merit to remove him as owner of the (Commanders). I think it’s something that we have to review, we have to look at all the evidence and be thorough in going forward, but I think it’s something that has to be given serious consideration. “

He added: “As we determine the evidence and move forward, we’ll have to determine what the situation is. … I think once owners talk among each other, they’ll arrive to the right decision. Unfortunately, I believe that’s the road we probably need to go down and we just need to finish the investigation. It’s gravely concerning to me the things that have occurred over there in the last 20 years. ”

Following Irsay’s comments, a Commanders spokesperson released this statement:

“It is highly inappropriate, but not surprising, that Mr. Irsay opted to make statements publicly based on falsehoods in the media. 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 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. “

While tensions may feel high, don’t expect anything drastic to come out of this week. Goodell said on Tuesday that there should be no discussion on Snyder’s ownership until the investigation led by Mary Jo White has been completed, for NBC Sports Washington.

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