Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said "there's merit to remove" Dan Snyder as owner of the Washington Commanders during the 2022 Fall NFL Meeting on Tuesday (October 18), making him the first NFL team owner to publicly call for Snyder's removal, Front Office Sports' A.J. Perez reports.
"I'm very concerned that he needs to be removed," Irsay said via NFL Network's Tom Pelissero.
"Some of the things I’ve heard doesn’t represent us at all," Irsay said via ESPN's Jeremy Fowler. "I want the American public to know what we’re about as owners…I believe it’s in the best interest of the National Football League that we look at this squarely in the eyes and deal with it.”
In June, the Washington Post reported on a 29-page memo released by Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform regarding Snyder, which stemmed from an investigation into the franchise's alleged toxic workplace culture and revealed that the owner launched a "shadow investigation" into his accusers, which included a "100-slide dossier with emails, text messages, telephone records, and social media posts from journalists, victims, and witnesses who had made credible public accusations of harassment against the Commanders."
The Commanders were fined $10 million as a result of the NFL's investigation into the franchise's workplace culture in July.
NFL.com confirmed the fine "will be used to support organizations committed to character education, anti-bullying, healthy relationships and related topics."
Additionally, Tanya Snyder, who was promoted to co-CEO this week, will oversee the franchise's day-to-day duties and represent the franchise at league functions as her husband turned his focus "on a new stadium plan and other matters," NFL.com reported at the time.
Snyder wasn't seen publicly around the team during the NFL regular season prior to resurfacing during Washington's matchup against the Cowboys in Arlington on October 2.
Attorney Beth Wilkinson began an independent investigation into the Washington Football Team in July 2020 amid numerous accusations of sexual harassment by former employees during a 15-year span detailed in a column by the Washington Post published last summer.
In April, Front Office Sports reported that the investigation examined former team employees and email accounts, which revealed "a toxic work environment and contain troubling exchanges, including nude photos and other inappropriate correspondence," a source with knowledge of the probe confirmed.
A specific exchange included Donald Wells, the franchise's first openly gay employee who previously directed the WFT's cheerleading squad for 12 years, who has publicly lobbied for Dan Snyder to be held accountable for years of workplace harassment that existed within the organization.
“They took advantage of (the cheerleaders) and did things to other people in the office, including me,” Wells told Front Office Sports. “What went on there was way worse than that (email). My gosh.”
However, the email exchange showed that Wells was implicit in that behavior.
“She is a fat cross-eyed, crazy chick,” Wells wrote from his WFT email account in September of 2007 after a member of the cheerleading team put in her notice via FOS. “… I am sure she will enjoy taking trashy pictures while she eats her big macs :).”
Wells said he didn't recall sending the email mentioned in FOS' report.
In March, the NFL approved Snyder's application to buy out the franchise's minority owners.
Snyder's $450 million debt waiver was approved by the league's finance committee, an NFL spokesperson confirmed to ESPN on March 24, which was initially reported by Tyler Dunne of GoLongTD.com. The rest of the league's majority owners will vote during the NFL's annual meeting next week on whether to approve the deal, with Snyder needing approval from 24 of the 32 owners for the transaction to pass.
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