The Circus of the NFL
There have been two things that have been constantly connected to the Washington football team in D.C for the past 20 years. These constants have a significant and direct connection to the man in charge of it all. Daniel Snyder. Organizational dysfunction and Daniel Snyder seem to go hand in hand with each other a lot these days, just like peanut butter and jelly go together on sandwiches. One does not get mentioned without the other. After recent news going down in Washington, the NFL needs to take a closer and serious look at the man in charge of the organization that can’t seem to find it’s way out of the headlines.
On numerous occasions Snyder has showcased his level of ignorance, arrogance and incompetence when it comes to running a football team and more importantly, running a staff of loyal, faithful and hardworking employees. Whether it was the name change, the constant organizational structure changes in the front office, or this latest allegation about sexual harassment in the workplace of his female front office members and employees. It is clear that Daniel Snyder is not fit to be involved in the NFL in any capacity.
Washington and Daniel Snyder are no strangers to the national news spotlight, as the controversy over the “Redskin” name has been talked and debated about for many years. When the debate finally reached national news in 2013, and Mr. Snyder was asked by USA Today about the potential to change the name of the team Snyder ignorantly commented “We’ll never change the name. It’s that simple. Never.” Fast-forward seven years and after all the social injustices and movements going around the country, with many name brand companies adapting and changing their names of products to invoke change in society; Snyder’s stance was still the same on the name of his franchise, being adamant that the term “Redskin” was not derogatory towards any specific group of people.
It was not until Washington’s number one sponsor, FedEx, requested that the team join many other organizations and companies in the United States in changing their name. But FedEx was not the only major brand sponsor that backed out of deals with the football team. Nike also stopped selling all Washington merchandise on their websites and platforms in order to pressure Daniel Snyder to make changes to the organization and its namesake.
After failing to make a comment on the situation for weeks, Daniel Snyder and the Washington front office finally made public comments about the name of the team getting a change. Although unclear as to what that name will be, as of this writing, this statement was seen as a potential turning point in Washington as they enter a new historical era of the franchise’s history. Seems like a fresh start and a potential chance for Daniel Snyder to use his platform and position of power to potentially gain a positive headline for the organization.
However, the endless turmoil in D.C was not over. Rumors started swirling about a major bombshell that was about to be dropped on the media Thursday evening that would destroy the organization and further drag it in the dirt that it had been lying in for the last two decades under Daniel Snyder’s regime as owner. Many speculated about what the bombshell was going to be, but nobody could have predicted the massive impact that this headline was about to make on the entire landscape of the NFL.
Multiple insiders began speculating, but not publicly giving out any information about the bombshell because of the secrecy it had been kept under by the investigators and journalists behind the article. The week began with lead team play by play announcer, Larry Michael, retiring from the team after 16 years of service to the broadcasting role of the organization. Then at 5:30 eastern time on July 16th, 2020, the article was revealed to the public, and the entire world began reading with awe, disgust, and disbelief.
When nobody thought Daniel Snyder’s reign in Washington could get any worse, the article that was released by The Washington Post, changed that narrative within a click of the link. Within that article included details, interviews and allegations of over a dozen female employees of the Washington organization accusing multiple high end team officials, including those in Mr. Snyder’s inner circle of front office executives, of sexual and verbal harassment and misconduct in the workplace. According to the article written by Will Hobson and Liz Clarke, women members of the organization were verbally abused and sexually used to close sales deals and flirt with business clients to try and persuade them into agreeing with deals and partnerships with the organization.
These brave women stated that the abuse and harassment happened from 2006 all the way to this past football season in 2019, all took place under the leadership and watch of Daniel Snyder. This entire situation further proves that Snyder is incapable of running a multi-billion-dollar organization, employing, and taking control of a staff.
The situation in Washington only seemingly got worse as Thursday evening came around and the masses of people read the news with outrage and disgust about the entire organization and the complete lack of integrity within the franchise. According to these women, they tried complaining to other officials within the team about the abuse and altercations they were experiencing, and the majority of the members would ignore and fail to acknowledge the misconduct that was happening to them.
When taking into account the lack of accountability, responsibility, integrity and lack of leadership within the Washington football team, the most reasonable person to point the finger at is right at the top at Daniel Snyder. The NFL has to take serious action here before the situation continues to worsen and before things get out of hand for them from a business perspective. We have seen other major sports outlets take extreme and necessary action when it comes to misconduct at the ownership position of a sports team. Most recently with the NBA forcing former owner Donald Sterling to sell the team after he revealed racist and derogatory remarks and actions within the Los Angeles Clippers organization. The NFL will have to look at this scenario as a potential outcome here in Washington.
When looking at Daniel Snyder as an owner from simply an ethical level, the man should not have any authority, responsibility or connection with any franchise in any sports or business in society. The lack of leadership, the broken culture, and failure to realize the problems lying within his own organization should be enough evidence for the NFL to force him into relinquishing the team to a new owner and front office leader.
Now for Washington, there are some positives here for the team, mainly one major one in new head coach Ron Rivera. Rivera has stated since day one that he is committed, determined and willing to change the culture, both on and off the field, of the football team. Rivera has publicly been very open about wanting change in the organization, and commended the Washington Post for their work on the article stating: “We’re hoping to get people to understand that they need to judge us on where we are and where we’re going- as opposed to where we’ve been.”
Rivera is the right guy to completely overhaul this organization and create a brand new culture and identity for the franchise. Rivera stated that he is going to be instituting and following an “open door policy with no retribution” within the organization to get rid of any misconduct at any level of the football team. Having somebody this devoted to the franchise has to be a bright spot and positive for the team, and it’s fans.
Daniel Snyder has since hired a private law firm to investigate and fight the accusations within the organization to try and eliminate the problem as a whole within the organization, but the timing seems a little strange. According to the woman that were interviewed in the article, neither Snyder nor former President of Football Operations, Bruce Allen, were directly accused of the misconduct, but many believed that they knew and were aware of the abuse occurring. So, the questions becomes: Why has Dan Snyder just now hired a team to investigate his organization if he was aware of the misconduct occurring the entire time?
Some believe it is Snyder trying to save face and look like he is doing the right thing and moving forward to avoid public backlash, others seem to want to believe that Snyder truly was clueless the entire time. If either happens to be the case, a new question comes about. Why does Dan Snyder still have control of an NFL franchise? Unfortunately for those asking, the answer to that question has yet to be revealed. But one thing is for certain, with all the dysfunction and turmoil that the franchise has endured over the last two decades, especially recently, the blame and punishment should be pointed and directed towards the one man who has been overseeing the team during the duration of the despicable and horrifying actions: Daniel Snyder.