Commissioner Roger Goodell’s Tuesday press conference included several (but given the nature and length of the session not nearly enough) questions about the Washington Football Team investigation. Here’s one of the questions he fielded: “Has Dan Snyder been held accountable adequately in your opinion and is there more to be done there?”
Said Goodell, in part: “I do think he’s been held accountable . . . and I think we did an unprecedented fine. Dan Snyder has not been involved with the organization for now almost four months.”
Snyder is a multibillionaire, who now owns 100 percent of a franchise that (thanks to the ongoing gambling explosion) will in not much time be worth in the neighborhood of $10 billion. And while the fine itself may be “unprecedented,” Saints coach Sean Payton lost an amount in the general neighborhood of $10 million when he endured a full-season suspension for the bounty scandal in 2012.
For Payton, it was a suspension not a fine. But the suspension wipe out Payton’s entire earnings for a full year. Snyder won’t lose a penny of his revenue from owning an NFL team, whether it’s ticket sales or TV money or anything else he makes.
Even when an owner is suspended (like Colts owner Jim Irsay was in 2014), the owner doesn’t lose his income. Here, Snyder was not suspended. Even though Goodell said Snyder “has not been involved with the organization for now almost four months,” Snyder has been attending games. He’s just not running the team. His wife, with whom he presumably lives and regularly communicates, has been running the team in his place. With no input or recommendations (eye roll emoji) from him.
So while Snyder has had some accountability for the situation in Washington, it’s not nearly close to what it should have been. Indeed, if the factual findings made by attorney Beth Wilkinson had come to light, Snyder quite possibly would have had to sell the team.
That’s why they refuse to release the information. That’s why they’re hiding behind the righteous notion that they’re protecting current or former employees of the Washington Football Team. That’s why they’ll surely resist any and all efforts by Congress to get to the truth.
The truth is out there. But the NFL can’t handle the truth. And that’s the truth. Because the truth will literally set Dan Snyder free — from the realities of owning an NFL franchise.