Washington Commanders: Up for Sale?


Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder has officially announced potential plans to sell the franchise. While nothing is definite, many fans hope that the current chapter of the team will come to an end.

After nearly two decades of allegations, controversies, and defeats, Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder has agreed in principle to sell the popular football franchise amidst NFL investigations into misconduct and improprieties within the organization. The prospective buying group, led by former NBA star Magic Johnson and mogul Josh Harris, looks to finalize what would be a record fee for any North American sports team in history in the coming days. 

Snyder, who purchased the team for $800 million in 1999, became the subject of league investigations when accusations of sexual harassment surfaced against Snyder and other Commanders executives dating back to 2005. The NFL’s second inquiry into the Commanders in the last two years was recently prompted by over 50 former employees going public with allegations of workplace misconduct and the covering up of such wrongdoings. 

Throughout his time as owner, Snyder’s Commanders (formerly the Redskins) have been scrutinized in the public eye as one of the most toxic franchises in American sports. The years-long push to change the former name due to its racial insensitivity came to an end only after key corporations such as Nike and FedEx threatened to pull sponsorships with the Washington team.

Snyder’s toxicity is near-perfectly exemplified in a 2013 interview in which, when asked about a potential name change out of respect for Native Americans, Snyder responded, “We’ll never change the name. It’s that simple. Never.” The environment created and enabled by Snyder’s ownership has been arduous enough that Lisa Banks and Debra Katz, lawyers representing the dozens of employees accusing the franchise of misconduct spoke out against the company. They described Snyder’s time as owner as “a long, difficult chapter for all employees and fans of the Washington football organization.”

The group of potential buyers, led by Harris, who owns stakes in multiple major sports teams in the New England area, consists of 17 different partners, and is officially valued at $6.05 billion. While astonishingly high, the bid remains non-exclusive, meaning that other groups are still able to win the bid. Canadian billionaire Steve Apostolopoulos remains in contention to win the bid after his $6 billion offer was made at the end of March. While both bids meet the $6 billion price tag Snyder put on the Commanders, the earliest that a new owner could be announced is by the end of May. 

The end to Snyder’s ownership will hopefully give way to a more successful chapter in the Washington team’s history. Between failing to win a single playoff game in 17 years with Snyder at the helm, a stadium widely viewed as the worst in the entire league, and his thick-skinned refusal to change the team’s name out of respect for different cultures, Snyder has dragged the Washington Commanders to the bottom of the NFL cellar, where the team has been left for years on end. 

After Snyder hired Bank of America to help explore the possibilities of selling the franchise in November, the likelihood of new ownership seems increasingly possible by the day. While no certainties can be made as of yet, Commanders fans will without a doubt await news that the Dan Snyder era will come to an end, and a new, more successful chapter of Washington football will begin.