Weeks of turmoil continue for Washington Football Team owner Dan Snyder, who is now being pressured by the team’s minority owners to sell the franchise, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Minority owners FedEx Corp. CEO Fred Smith, Black Diamond Capital chairman Robert Rothman and NVR Inc. board chairman Dwight Schar own approximately 40% of the team and have already hired an investment firm to sell their stakes. According to the Journal’s sources, their shares would be more valuable on the market if the entire team were for sale.
When Snyder, 55, bought the team in 1999 for $750 million, he was the youngest owner in the NFL. He made his initial fortune with marketing business Snyder Communications and sold it in 2000, and is currently worth $2.6 billion, according to Forbes.
Sources told the Journal that Snyder has “no intention” to sell his majority stake, and has “been reluctant to give any [interested minority buyers] the option to eventually buy control despite the attempt to oust him.”
In a filing issued Monday in Virginia as part of a larger suit against an Indian media company, Snyder suggested that one of the minority owners tried to leak defamatory information that was published in articles in July that have since been taken down.
Snyder has been under fire for much of the NFL offseason over a number of issues surrounding the team and its personnel.
In early July, after years of pushback, he announced that the team would drop its former “Redskins” moniker, a racist slur against Native Americans. FedEx, minority owner Smith’s company – which paid $205 million in 1998 for the naming rights to the team’s stadium through 2025 – had made an official request for a name change.
Smith had reportedly been trying to sell his stake in the team for at least a year ahead of the naming standoff, and at one point thought he had a buyer, but the buyer opted to buy a stake in a different team due to Snyder’s slow approval process.
A group of 87 investment firms and shareholders worth a combined $620 billion also issued letters calling for brands to end their relationship with the team until its name is changed, and Nike had pulled the team’s merchandise from its online store. The team announced in late July it would call itself the Washington Football Team during the 2020 season while it decides on a new name.
On July 16, The Washington Post released an investigation that included allegations from 15 female team employees and two media members of sexual misconduct and harassment by team officials over more than a decade. While Snyder is not directly accused of misconduct, he is said to have fostered a “hostile” work environment.
Shortly after that report, Syder hired prominent sports attorney Beth Wilkinson to conduct an independent review of the allegations, and the team’s culture and policies.