How Commanders owner Dan Snyder and the NFL’s investigation could be impacted by Robert Sarver’s sale of Suns


With Robert Sarver announcing his intentions Wednesday to sell the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury, some eyes in the sports world returned to Washington and embattled Commanders owner Dan Snyder.

Last week, the NBA released its findings on Sarver after a year-long investigation into workplace misconduct and inappropriate behavior. Along with the published report, the NBA fined Sarver $10 million and suspended him for a year. A week later, after pressure from inside and outside the Suns organization, Sarver committed to selling both the Suns and the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury.

“As a man of faith, I believe in atonement and the path to forgiveness,” Sarver wrote in a statement Wednesday. “I expected that the commissioner’s one-year suspension would provide the time for me to focus, make amends and remove my personal controversy from the teams that I and so many fans love.

“But in our current unforgiving climate, it has become painfully clear that that is no longer possible – that whatever good I have done, or could still do, is outweighed by things I have said in the past. For those reasons, I am beginning the process of seeking buyers for the Suns and Mercury.”

Pressure mounted on Sarver from his minority owner and sponsors to sell the team. Jahm Najafi, the team’s second-largest stakeholder, called for Sarver’s resignation. PayPal said it would not renew as a team sponsor if Sarver stayed.

While Snyder has faced pressure from Congress and dealt with an unhappy fanbase, one source noted that the unique pressures Sarver faced aren’t in front of Snyder. Earlier this year, Snyder bought out his minority owners and owns 100% of the Commanders.

And just an hour before Sarver’s news broke Wednesday, the Commanders announced a new sponsor for the team’s training facilities.

Snyder, who has not been involved in day-to-day operations with the Washington Commanders since July 2021, is the subject of two more investigations looking into alleged misconduct. Mary Jo White, a former SEC chairwoman, is leading the investigations.

The NFL famously decided not to release a written report following a year-long investigation by Beth Wilkinson into workplace misconduct. The league fined Snyder $10 million, and he has not represented the team at league meetings or been involved in the day-to-day operations since.

The league said in February it would release a written report from White once complete. The first allegation centers on former team employee Tiffani Johnston, who alleged Snyder sexually harassed her at a work dinner in 2005 or 2006. The other investigation is looking into alleged financial improprieties regarding Washington’s ticket revenue.

Synder has denied allegations of wrongdoing.

Jeff Miller, the NFL’s EVP of communications, public affairs and policy, said last week that White is still pursuing these investigations and has no timeline on when her findings will be made public.

The NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell have declined to make public the findings from the Wilkinson report. Goodell has said because the league promised anonymity to witnesses and victims, the league cannot release even a heavily-redacted report.

Snyder testified virtually in front of the US House Committee on Oversight for more than 10 hours back in July. The details of that testimony have yet to be made public.





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