Thursday, October 13, 2022


Here was the Washington Commanders’ response to the ESPN story Thursday about owner Skipper Dan the Sailing Man and his despicable attempts to punish those with the courage to reveal who he truly is.

“It’s hard to imagine a piece that is more categorically untrue, and is clearly part of a well-funded, two-year misinformation campaign to coerce the sale of the team, which will continue to be unsuccessful,” an unidentified team spokesman said.

They are right about two things. First, yes, there is a campaign to coerce the sale of the team. It may not be well-funded but make no mistake about it — when websites and social media accounts are named “Sell the Team,” it’s a campaign. It may be more grassroots and far less conspiratorial than the Commanders owner wants everyone to believe. But yes, there is a campaign to coerce Skipper Dan to take his $6 billion and sail away.

Second: Team Snyder is absolutely right, there is one categorically untrue assertion in the report — though it’s not ESPN’s reporting, it’s a laughably naive quote attributed to Skipper Dan.

“The NFL,” he reportedly told an associate, “is a mafia.”

No, the NFL is not a “mafia.” If it were a mafia, Skipper Dan would be in a hole in the Nevada desert by now. Or a New Jersey landfill.

He’s not. Apparently, he is either “in a hotel suite, or on his superyacht, or at River View, his $48 million Virginia estate,” walking around with a drink in his hand, telling his army of private gumshoes to dig up dirt on fellow NFL owners and Commissioner Roger Goodell.

It’s amusing that for years we have wondered why his fellow league owners have not buried Skipper Dan after one embarrassment followed by another shameful act punctuated by another foolish gesture. And the average Joe on the street would say, “He’s got to have something on these owners,” because it was the simplest explanation of all why the other owners tolerated such a destructive person who had wrecked one of the league’s marquee franchises.

Surely there had to be more to it than that.

Turns out there is not. It is what we all thought it was.

“According to more than 30 owners, league and team executives, lawyers and current and former Commanders employees interviewed by ESPN, the fear of reprisal that Snyder has instilled in his franchise, poisoning it on the field and off, has expanded to some of his fellow owners,” the story says. “Multiple owners and league and team sources say they’ve been told that Snyder instructed his law firms to hire private investigators to look into other owners — and Goodell.”

Which begs the question — what kind of gutless weasels are NFL owners?

Jerry Jones — Skipper Dan’s former imaginary friend — is reportedly the colleague that the Commanders’ owner has the biggest pile of dirt on. Jones made his money in the rough-and-tumble oil business. He’s supposed to be leather-skinned Texas tough.

You mean to tell me he’s sitting in a corner cowering in fear of Skipper Dan?

I get it. Given what we know from what’s dribbled out around the edges of Jones’ life (the sexual misconduct allegations, something he has in common with Skipper Dan), the Dallas Cowboys owner would appear to have good reason to be nervous about Skipper Dan’s dossier.

But to be bullied by someone like Skipper Dan? Jerry is 80 years old. He is at the “what can they do to me?” age.

The rest of the NFL owners? You can be sure most of them made their fortunes by crushing those in their way, not by hiding in fear. Are they really intimidated by this coward who has hidden from facing his many accusers? We may find out at the NFL owners meetings next week.

The NFL owners may not be the ones who ultimately hold Skipper Dan’s fate in their hands. There are seven different investigations ongoing, some of which are out of the league’s control.

I could be off on this, but the one I find most curious is the one by Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares. It has been nearly six months since Miyares responded to the 20-page letter released by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform in April alleging that Skipper Dan “may have engaged in a troubling, long-running, and potentially unlawful pattern of financial conduct that victimized thousands of team fans and the National Football League.”

When Miyares learned of the letter, he launched a probe, saying in a statement it was his “responsibility to carefully examine the material facts after it was brought to my attention.”

Miyares is a Republican, elected to office last November in a state where Republican Glenn Youngkin had also been elected. At the time, Skipper Dan was involved in negotiations with Virginia officials for a new stadium. All that would have appeared to set the stage for a sympathetic ear for Skipper Dan.

Yet here he is, still under investigation by an attorney general whose political godfather and good friend is George Allen – the brother of former Washington team president Bruce Allen, who Skipper Dan has tried to make the scapegoat for all the toxic workplace the owner fostered.

“They can’t f—- with me,” Skipper Dan reportedly said privately about the NFL.

Even the Mafia will tell you, though, you don’t want heat from the law.

You can hear Thom Loverro on The Kevin Sheehan Show podcast.

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

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