Even Roger Goodell doesn’t know for sure whether Daniel Snyder is running the Commanders

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The punishment (it’s still unclear whether it was voluntary or not) on Commanders owner Daniel Snyder appeared near the bottom of a lengthy statement released last July 1 by the league. It’s still not clear whether he’s fully complying with the restrictions.

“Tanya Snyder will assume responsibilities for all day-to-day team operations and represent the club at all league meetings and other league activities for at least the next several months,” the league’s initial press release declared. “Dan Snyder will concentrate on a new stadium plan and other matters.”

In March, Commissioner Roger Goodell confirmed that nothing had changed in that regard.

“Dan Snyder has not been involved in day-to-day operations,” Goodell told reporters at the league meetings in March. “Don’t believe he’s been in the facility at all, and when we continue to have league matters, Tanya has represented the team as the CEO both on a day-to-day basis, but also here and that will continue for at least the foreseeable future, but Dan and I will talk about that at some point.”

Shortly thereafter, the Washington Times reported that Snyder had indeed resumed his day-to-day role. The league declined to comment on the report, reiterating Goodell’s comments, even though the report sharply contradicted the things Goodell had said.

Now, with Goodell poised to appear before the House Oversight Committee later today, his introductory remarks adroitly carve out a safe harbor that will insulate him from ever being accused of lying to Congress: “We imposed unprecedented discipline on the club — monetary penalties of well over $10 million, and requirements that the club implement a series of recommendations and allow an outside firm to conduct regular reviews of their workplace. In addition, for the past year, Daniel Snyder has not attended League or committee meetings, and to the best of my knowledge, has not been involved in day-to-day operations at the Commanders.”

In other words, Goodell is saying that, if Snyder has resumed his day-to-day role, Goodell doesn’t know it. Which begs an obvious question. Why doesn’t he? Did Goodell simply shrug at the report that Snyder is defying the limits of his role with the team? Did he plug his ears and repeat the magic words, “I’m not listening”?

The report from the Times put the league on notice that Snyder was potentially violating the terms of his punishment. The Committee hopefully will press Goodell on what he knew, when he knew it, and what he did to find out more when it became obvious that there apparently was more to find out.


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