Jim Irsay became the first NFL owner to publicly call for the removal of suspended Commanders owner Daniel Snyder over allegations of an improper workplace culture and also hinted at “possible financial improprieties” Snyder may have committed.
Irsay, who owns the Colts, said at the league’s fall meeting in Manhattan on Tuesday he and the other 30 owners have “complete authority” to vote to force Snyder to sell the team. It’s a move that has happened in other leagues, most notably the NBA, but never in the 102-year history of the NFL.
“The founders of this league taught me you have to protect the game,” he said. “This isn’t what we’re about … It’s a difficult situation. I believe there is merit to remove him as owner of the [Commanders].”
Irsay said a vote to remove Snyder could come as soon as the league meetings in March.
Irsay said there are potentially 24 total votes to force Snyder out.
“When we look at the evidence and go forward, we’ll have to determine what the situation is,” Irsay said. “But I just believe in the workplace today, the standard that the [NFL] shield stands for, that you have to stand for that and protect that. I think that once the owners talk amongst each other, they’ll arrive to the right decision. My belief is, unfortunately, that that’s the road we probably need to go down … It’s gravely concerning to me the things that have occurred.”
A recent ESPN report said Snyder has investigated fellow owners and has “dirt” on them which he could use to leverage retaining his ownership of the franchise.
“He can investigate me till the cows come home,” Irsay said. “It’s not going to back me off.”
Few other owners commented on the situation.
Commissioner Roger Goodell said he urged the owners not to speculate on the case until the investigation by former district attorney and head of the SEC Mary Jo White is complete.
A spokesperson for the Commanders issued a statement condemning Irsay’s comments as “highly inappropriate.”
“We are confident that, when he has an opportunity to see the actual evidence in this case, Mr. Irsay will conclude there is no reason for the Snyders to consider selling the franchise. And they won’t.”
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