Wednesday, June 22, 2022


I think Dan Snyder might want to stay out of the country floating around the world on his yacht. Maybe become a Russian oligarch, although I hear that’s not as glamorous as it once was.

He may not own the Washington Commanders for much longer. Skipper Dan the Sailor Man didn’t own the Commanders on Wednesday. The House Oversight and Reform Committee did.

“We will not be deterred by billionaire owners and political posturing,” committee chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Maloney said, before officially announcing that the committee will issue a subpoena for Skipper Dan to appear before them next week.

If Skipper Dan wasn’t such a weasel, I’d almost have respect for him thumbing his nose at the committee while sitting on his $300 million yacht docked in Cannes, refusing their invitation to appear — even via Zoom — and answer for his crimes.

It’s like the scene in “Animal House” when the Delta House gets raided by Dean Wormer, when Bluto screams, “They took the bar,” to which Otter and Boon respond, “Road trip.”

But Skipper Dan isn’t Otter or Boon. He’s Neidermeyer. He is a weasel of the first degree. He refused to show up at the House Oversight Committee hearing Wednesday into the toxic workplace he oversaw as owner of the Washington Redskins — and the Commanders as well — out of fear, not out of some sense of bravado.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who gets paid $64 million a year to take this kind of abuse did make a virtual appearance, via zoom. He took it like, well, another weasel. When he was asked if he held Skipper Dan accountable for his behavior, Goodell answered, “Yes I do.”

What Goodell did was fine the team — not Skipper Dan — $10 million. What else he did is open to interpretation. Skipper Dan was not “suspended,” but he was told to stay out of the day-to-day operations of the team — something he ignored, as Skipper Dan was seen around numerous times, including the announcement of the new Commanders name.

Accountable? Goodell doesn’t have the courage of his father Charles, who, as a Republican United States senator, spoke out against the Vietnam War in 1969.

If there are any worries about serving Skipper Dan with the subpoena while he hides on his yacht in Cannes, they could take a lesson from the capture of former Trump adviser Steve Bannon. He was sitting on a yacht on the Long Island Sound when agents boarded the ship to arrest him on charges of pocketing money for a fundraising effort called “We Build This Wall.” Turns out the Coast Guard can pretty much board any ship they want, even one in Cannes.

They have a lot of questions for the Commanders owner — like how he conducted a “shadow” investigation to harass and discredit former employees who accused him of fostering a “toxic” workplace — the NFL’s word, not mine — to intimidate witnesses and obtain phone records and emails, according to a committee report.

“We have uncovered new evidence of misconduct” at the Washington Commanders workplace, Maloney said — a key component of the ongoing cascade of disgusting information that has surfaced about the NFL franchise in the shadow of the nation’s capital.

Skipper Dan’s witness intimidation campaign isn’t something that happened 10 or 15 years ago. It began after the Washington Post article came out that revealed allegations of sexual harassment and bullying within the organization in July 2020 — while the league was supposedly investigating the team as a result of those allegations, when the team had supposed cleaned up its act.

Skipper Dan wasn’t there to answer those allegations — and, among others, the bombshell Post story published Tuesday that Skipper Dan of sexual assaulting a former employee on his private plane in 2009 before the team paid her $1.6 million as part of a confidential settlement. Skipper Dan allegedly asked for sex, groped her and attempted to pull off her clothing.

Skipper Dan has denied the allegations and, in a statement, called the hearing a “politically-charged show trial, not about uncovering the truth. Hopefully, the committee will utilize its resources for more pressing matters, instead of an issue a football addressed years ago.”

But Skipper Dan’s attempts to intimidate witnesses and sabotage the NFL-sanctioned Beth Wilkinson investigation into the voluminous sexual misconduct allegations isn’t an issue that was addressed years ago. It happened while the Wilkinson probe was underway, an investigation that Goodell still insisted he cannot release the details of, claiming to protect the identity of the victims.

This may have been the most obscene statement of everything that came out of Goodell’s mouth Wednesday. The whole point of this investigation and hearing is to give Skipper Dan’s victims a voice. There is no passage of time that diminishes the importance of that.

At one point in the nearly three-hour hearing, Goodell was asked if he had the authority to get rid of Skipper Dan. After all, it defies all logic why anyone would want to keep this guy as a member of your club. He embarrasses the league almost on a weekly basis. 

Goodell didn’t use any double talk, no corporate-speak to try to maybe explain why he wouldn’t want to get rid of Skipper Dan.

He simply said, “I don’t have the authority to remove him.”

But if he did have that authority … sorry, the gentleman’s time has expired.

Hear Thom Loverro on The Kevin Sheehan Show podcast.

• Thom Loverro can be reached at tloverro@washingtontimes.com.

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