If you were to rattle off a bunch of hypothetical hints that Dan Snyder could drop to indicate he’s selling the Washington Commanders, delaying signing bonuses until after a possible sale date would be No. 2 on the list. The first would be moving cheerleader try-outs before May 12, but considering the hot tub of investigations and lawsuits he’s currently soaking in, that would be a little too overt even for Snyder.
In The Athletic’s story, they spoke to a former member of Washington’s front office about the delayed payments, and he pointed out that the money usually goes out within a month of signing the player.
“Relative to their prior contract precedents, it would seem that they have intentionally delayed the first installment of their signing bonuses,” the source said. “Very plausible that it’s related to the expected timeline of a sale. … I think the payout dates are fairly telling.”
This is coming off the news from last week when PFT reported that Dan and Tanya Snyder have removed their personal belongings from the team facilities. No word on if Dan took his box of Cheerleaders Gone Wild DVDs or had them digitized. (Snyder has denied the allegations he had “highlight reel” type tapes of topless cheerleaders.)
So is the long night over? Will the fans, at least the ones who haven’t been turned into White Walkers, finally be able to rejoice?
Seeing is believing
As promising as the latest round of evidence is, nobody will believe the Snyders are gone until the sale is final. It may require even more drastic measures — a couple months in the decontamination chamber, a Men In Black memory wipe, an exorcism, a new team name — you name it. The trauma sustained by fans in the DMV will likely take years, therapy, and a shit ton of winning to overcome.
And then there’s the possibility that Snyder goes full Jordan Belfort, and rallies the March owners meeting around him while screaming, “I’m not fucking leaving!” Every time you think a powerful old white guy has taken his last gasp, he bounces back with a stream of obscenities like Logan Roy and tells his base to rush the Capital.
Say that happens, it would then fall to the owners to vote out Snyder. The NFL requires 24 of the 31 to be in favor of removal for it to happen, and I’m dubious of assuming a room full of old, white guys are going to go against one of their own. It would set a precedent of accountability for a group of people who fire coaches and front offices with impunity, always pointing fingers not thumbs.
This is a roundabout way of saying: No amount of hearsay, clues, or hints will convince me that Dan Snyder is gone until I personally see him, Jerry Richardson, and Donald Sterling hanging out wherever it is exiled owners go to die, take a picture, and get it notarized by Roger Goodell.
Deadspin looks forward to a time when its Commanders team page doesn’t double as a Dan Snyder Reddit thread. However, those stories, as well as a few on Washington’s NFL team, can be found here.