Dan Snyder Agrees to Sell Washington Commanders for $6 Billion

Snyder sued his limited partners claiming that they had tried to smear his reputation to undermine his ownership of the team, triggering a highly contentious legal battle that included accusations that Snyder financially mismanaged the club. The dispute went to a league-appointed mediator and ended in the spring of 2021 after the owners allowed Snyder to take on $450 million in additional debt so he could buy out the three limited partners whose stakes amounted to 40 percent of the club.

In July 2021, the league fined the club a record $10 million and ordered Snyder to stay away from the team after a league-helmed investigation found that a rampant culture of sexual harassment perpetuated by managers and executives had persisted at the team for more than a decade, and that Snyder had done nothing to stop it.

Though some executives were fired and others left, Snyder urged the league to keep the specific findings private, and Commissioner Roger Goodell released only a cursory summary. This led a congressional committee to launch its own investigation into the treatment of women in the team’s front office. Witnesses testified to new claims against Snyder, who was deposed for more than 11 hours.

After the new allegations arose, the league ordered a second investigation led by Mary Jo White, a former federal prosecutor. The N.F.L. has yet to release her findings.

In November 2022, the U.S. attorney’s office in the Eastern District of Virginia opened a criminal investigation into allegations that the team committed financial improprieties. Snyder and the team were also sued by the attorneys general of Virginia and the District of Columbia. The latter case was settled, with the team agreeing to pay a $425,000 fine and refund about $200,000 in deposits to season-ticket holders.

Amid the legal inquiries and diminished public support, Snyder faced significant challenges in building a new stadium in the region to replace the aging FedEx Field, which opened in 1997 and has been plagued by pipe leaks and other structural failings.

The Commanders finished with winning records in just six of 24 seasons and won just two playoff games under Snyder. The losing, coupled with the creaky stadium, began to repel fans. The team routinely played to sold-out crowds during the 1980s and ’90s, but ranked near the bottom of the N.F.L. in home attendance in recent seasons.

Still, Forbes in 2022 ranked the Commanders the eighth most valuable team in sports, ahead of the N.B.A.’s Los Angeles Lakers and Manchester United of the Premier League, in large part thanks to the N.F.L.’s revenue sharing model and the windfall ensured by football’s media rights deals.

Jenny Vrentas contributed reporting.

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