Colts owner Irsay says there's 'merit to remove' Snyder as Commanders owner

Dan Snyder, Joe Theismann
Posted at 10:45 AM, Oct 19, 2022

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay let his feelings about Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder be known on Tuesday.

Irsay became the first league owner to voice his opinion when he told reporters at the National Football League's fall meeting in New York City that there’s “merit to remove” Snyder as the owner of the Commanders, the Associated Press reported.

Currently, Snyder and the team are under investigation by the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform for workplace misconduct. The league is also investigating Snyder and the team, and has appointed attorney Mary Jo White to look into allegations of sexual misconduct and financial impropriety, the news outlets reported.

“It’s something we have to review, we have to look at all the evidence, and we have to be thorough, and it’s something that has to be given serious consideration,” Irsay said, according to USA Today and the Associated Press. “I believe in the workplace today, the standard that the shield stands for in the NFL, that you have to stand for that and protect that. I just think once owners talk among each other, they will arrive at the right decision. Unfortunately, I believe that’s the road we probably need to go down, and we just need to finish the investigation, but it’s gravely concerning to me the things that have occurred there over the last 20 years.”

An initial investigation into allegations by former Commanders' employees about rampant sexual harassment arose in 2020, the Associated Press reported.

After a nearly a yearlong investigation by attorney Beth Wilkinson and her firm, the league fined Washington $10 million after Wilkinson turned over her findings, which were never made public, ESPN reported.

White began her investigation after a new allegation arose by former team employee Tiffani Johnston, the news outlets reported.

White's investigation is still ongoing, but according to the Associated Press, her investigation could be coming to an end soon.

After Irsay's comments were made public Tuesday, the Commanders issued a statement that Snyder wouldn't be selling the team.

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

Snyder also released a letter to all NFL owners in response to an ESPN report that Snyder had hired private investigators to dig up dirt on other league owners and Goodell if he felt pressure to sell his team.

“That is patently false and intended to erode the trust and goodwill between owners that I take quite seriously,” Snyder wrote in the letter obtained by the Associated Press. “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.”

Irsay said he's not worried about it.

“I could care less," Irsay said per USA Today and the AP. "You can investigate me until the cows come home. That’s not going to back me off. Private investigators or any of that stuff, to me, I just shrug it off. It’s irrelevant to me. I don’t know about any of that stuff, I just focus on the issue of what’s happened in Washington, and to me, it’s gravely concerning.”

According to The Post, in order to remove Snyder, 24 of the 31 owners would be required to vote.