- Covered the Redskins for the Washington Examiner and other media outlets since 1994
- Authored or co-authored three books on the Redskins and one on the Cleveland Browns
In 1999, the Washington franchise Dan Snyder purchased was one of the NFL’s hallmark teams.
It was less than a decade removed from three Super Bowl victories and had recently moved into an 80,000-seat stadium, fulfilling demand for tickets by a rabid fan base. At one point, the team said, the waiting list was 200,000 strong.
But in the ensuing 24 years under Snyder’s stewardship, the franchise’s status and reputation have sunk to the point that he and his wife put the team up for sale in November. He’ll leave a legacy of on-field futility and off-field scandal.
Allegations involving Washington’s workplace culture — charges of sexual harassment and financial improprieties — have resulted in investigations by Congress, the NFL and multiple state attorneys general.
On the field, Washington has had as many name changes as playoff wins — two — while compiling a 164-220-2 record.
Local revenue has dipped and the fan base continues to dwindle. The season-ticket wait list dropped to zero, and the seating capacity went from a high of more than 90,000 to just over 62,000 last season after removing seats, covering others and converting some suites into office space.
It is against that backdrop that NFL owners, general managers, coaches and team executives are meeting in Arizona to discuss the league’s future, which at some point will include a new owner of the Commanders.
There are three known bidders — groups led by Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils owner Josh Harris and Magic Johnson, Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta, and Canadian billionaire Steve Apostolopoulos — in addition to speculation that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos could join the mix. But whoever becomes the new owner, they will be immediately tasked with restoring a reputation and tradition to a franchise that has been faltering for more than two decades.
Here’s a look at how it all happened.
May 26, 1999: NFL owners approve Snyder’s $800 million purchase of the Washington Redskins by a 31-0 vote, ending a nine-month process. Snyder initially partnered with Howard Milstein, but questions arose about the latter’s ability to pay off the debt. After being approved, Snyder calls it a “lifelong dream” and labels himself a huge fan. Then he says: “I’m not focused on the money, I’m focused on the opportunity and the dream… Hundreds of fans have written to me with their support and suggestions… You want to win, we want to win, and we’re going to deliver that.”
July 17, 1999: Snyder fires 25 team employees, most of whom work in the business or public relations departments. After the sale was approved, Snyder had sent a letter to team employees on the football and business side saying he would retain them. A week later, general manager Charley Casserly resigned rather than take a lesser role. He was forced out as Snyder later said Casserly and coach Norv Turner could not work together. Around November of the same year, Casserly said Snyder called him to say he had fired the wrong guy.
Dec. 26, 1999: Washington wins its first NFC East title since 1991, beating the San Francisco 49ers on the road 26-20 in overtime. Snyder’s management style was revealed during the season when he informed defensive coordinator Mike Nolan about his dislike for “vanilla” defense. It was reported Snyder twice left vanilla ice cream on Nolan’s desk after bad games. Nolan said in John Feinstein’s book “Next Man Up” that each time Snyder left a gallon of Baskin-Robbins ice cream on his desk with a note, “This is what I like. Not vanilla.”
June 2000: Snyder wraps up an offseason of chasing big names by signing future Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders to a seven-year deal worth up to $56 million. This added to a who’s-who list of free agents Washington had signed that offseason, including defensive end Bruce Smith, safety Mark Carrier and quarterback Jeff George, with Washington completing the group by adding receiver Andre Reed in September. Coupled with a draft that yielded linebacker LaVar Arrington and left tackle Chris Samuels — picked first and third, respectively — the franchise became a trendy Super Bowl pick. Sanders, Reed and Carrier played one season in Washington; George was cut early in his second season.
July/August 2000: Washington training camp moves to its facility after a nearly $1 million payout with Frostburg State University, where it previously held camp, to break the contract. Washington became the first team to charge admission — $10 to park and $10 to enter — to camp practices. Scouts from other teams paid to attend practice and players and coaches from opposing teams said during Washington’s 1-2 start they knew what was coming.
Dec. 4, 2000: With a 7-6 record, following a 9-7 loss to the New York Giants — their third loss in four games by a combined six points — Snyder fires Turner. Reports surfaced saying Snyder wanted to hire former UCLA coach Pepper Rodgers, 69, who had become a confidante, but had never coached in the NFL, as interim. Instead, after assistants threatened to quit, Snyder opted for receivers coach Terry Robiskie. Washington went 1-2 to finish 8-8.
Jan. 3, 2001: Snyder hires Marty Schottenheimer as coach, giving him full authority over all football decisions. Washington gives up two third-round picks to Kansas City, Schottenheimer’s former team with which he was still under contract. A month before being hired, Schottenheimer, working as an ESPN studio analyst, said he could never work for an owner like Snyder. One of Schottenheimer’s first moves is to fire director of player personnel Vinny Cerrato, a favorite of Snyder’s family and his business partners, who had been the main football decision-maker.
Jan. 13-14, 2002: Washington wins eight of its final 11 games to finish 8-8 but Snyder decides to fire Schottenheimer — as well as vice president of player personnel John Schneider — and, a day later, hires Steve Spurrier, who resigned from the University of Florida 10 days earlier. Spurrier signs a record five-year, $25 million deal.
Dec. 30, 2003: After two seasons and a 12-20 record, Spurrier resigns from Washington. The move is announced while Spurrier is on a golf course. He has $15 million left on his three-year contract. The offensive expert Snyder desired produced an offense that finished no higher than 20th in points and yards.
Jan. 7, 2004: Snyder hires Joe Gibbs, who had already been enshrined in the Hall of Fame for his first stint with Washington. The Atlanta Falcons had talks with Gibbs, but he wanted to return to Washington. Dwight Schar, who would become a limited partner with the organization, helped connect Gibbs with Snyder. Gibbs had retired after the 1992 season, a year after starting his own NASCAR team.
March 6, 2005: Washington trades receiver Laveranues Coles to the New York Jets for Santana Moss. Coles had wanted an extension from the Jets before accepting the trade. He says Snyder told him if he didn’t accept a trade to the Jets without a contract extension, he’d force him to sit out until his contract ended. Coles says Snyder told him he’d send a “flat-screen television to my home because I’d be better off watching the games there.” Coles’ extension was eventually agreed upon with the Jets. Washington made out fine as Moss caught 581 passes with 47 touchdowns in 10 seasons.
Jan. 7, 2006: Washington beats the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17-10 in the first round of the playoffs — the franchise’s last playoff win under Snyder and second during his tenure. Washington loses the following week at the Seattle Seahawks.
2006 season: Washington sells peanuts at the stadium that were meant to be distributed to passengers on Independence Air, which had been out of business since January. A spokesperson for the Peanut Council told the Washington City Paper the shelf life for these particular peanuts — in a foil bag, out of the shells — was “about three months.” He added: “Beyond three months, they gradually start losing their flavor and eventually start turning rancid.” The team blames an inventory mistake.
2006 season: The organization is criticized for selling commemorative caps for the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Nothing was stated about the proceeds going to charity, but a cap sold shortly after the attacks raised money that, the team said, was donated to a survivors fund.
Nov. 27, 2007: Safety Sean Taylor dies from gunshot wounds one day after being shot by intruders at his Florida home. Taylor had been unable to play because of a knee injury, which is why he had returned to his Miami-area home.
Dec. 30, 2007: Washington wins its fourth consecutive game to finish the regular season 9-7 and clinch a wild-card bid. The team loses to Seattle in the first round of the playoffs.
Jan. 8, 2008: Gibbs retires after four seasons, ending his return with a 31-36 record, 1-2 in two trips to the playoffs. He has one year left on his contract, but cites a desire to spend more time with family. He’s the only coach in the Snyder era to make two postseason trips. Gibbs led the franchise to three Super Bowl victories during his first coaching stint from 1981-92.
Feb. 10, 2008: Jim Zorn is hired as coach after a monthlong search that includes interviews with Pete Carroll, Jim Fassel, Steve Mariucci, Jim Mora, Jim Schwartz and Steve Spagnuolo. Fassel interviews multiple times and is considered a favorite, but fan backlash because of his stint as the Giants’ coach ends his chances of getting the job. Carroll, then USC coach, meets with Snyder for nine hours but neither side pursues a deal. Former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who had been on the staff with Gibbs, also interviews. Washington goes 8-8 in Zorn’s first season, losing six of its last eight.
Oct. 8, 2008: The organization files a lawsuit against a 72-year-old season-ticket holder who was among approximately 125 fans sued after they had defaulted or tried to break their ticketing agreements. Pat Hill was a grandmother and longtime season-ticket holder who asked to be released from her 10-year, $5,300 contract because the recession had hit her hard and she could no longer afford the payments. The team sued and won a $66,364 default judgment — but Snyder later said she didn’t have to pay. Overall, the team won $2 million in judgments from 34 season-ticket holders.
Feb. 27, 2009: Washington signs defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth to a seven-year deal worth up to an NFL-record $100 million. Two years later, with Haynesworth unhappy with how he’s used and Washington unhappy with his on-field effort, Washington trades him to the New England Patriots for a fifth-round pick. He appears in 13 games in 2011 with the Patriots and Buccaneers but never plays again after that season.
Oct. 6, 2009: After averaging 14 points in the first four weeks, Washington hires Sherm Lewis to help Zorn as an offensive consultant. It’s the beginning of the end for Zorn in Washington. He ends up handing over playcalling to Lewis two weeks later. Lewis was a respected offensive mind during 22 seasons in the NFL, but had been retired since 2004 and was calling bingo games at a senior center in Michigan.
Oct. 27, 2009: Washington bans fan signs in the stadium, saying they obstruct other fans’ ability to see the game. With the team’s 2-5 start, many of the signs were critical of Snyder and Cerrato, who had been rehired in January 2002. The ban is lifted a month later.
Dec. 17, 2009: Following seven losses in nine games, Snyder hires Bruce Allen as executive vice president and general manager. Cerrato, the object of fan anger, resigns as executive vice president of football operations. Allen’s father, George, was a Hall of Fame coach who led Washington to its first Super Bowl appearance after the 1972 season. Snyder calls Bruce Allen a “proven winner.”
Jan. 4, 2010: Zorn is fired after a season-ending loss at San Diego. Washington closes the season with 10 losses in 12 games. Zorn goes 12-20 in two seasons, 6-18 over his final 24 games.
Jan. 5, 2010: Washington hires Mike Shanahan as coach. The team had tried to hire him earlier in the season, flying to Denver after a September loss to Detroit, which ended the Lions’ 19-game losing streak. Shanahan said he spoke to Gibbs and Schottenheimer before taking the job and said both strongly endorsed working for Snyder. “Those are the things I look at from people who have been in the business,” Shanahan says in his opening news conference. “Do you have an opportunity with the owner to give you the best chance to win?”
April 4, 2010: Washington trades a second- and fourth-round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for quarterback Donovan McNabb. Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan objects to the trade at the time. Three weeks later, the team trades quarterback Jason Campbell to the Oakland Raiders for a fourth-round pick.
Nov. 15, 2010: Two weeks after being benched at the end of a loss to the Lions, McNabb signs a five-year extension with Washington worth up to $88 million. The reality: Washington faced a $3.75 million cap hit if it cut or traded him. On the night the deal is announced, McNabb’s former team beat Washington 59-28 on “Monday Night Football” with quarterback Michael Vick. A month later, McNabb is benched for good.
July 27, 2011: Washington trades McNabb to the Minnesota Vikings for a sixth-round pick in the 2012 draft, which the team uses on running back Alfred Morris.
March 9, 2012: Washington trades three first-round picks and a second-round pick to the St. Louis Rams for the second overall pick in the 2012 draft, putting it in position to draft Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Robert Griffin III.
March 11, 2012: A day before free agency, the NFL announces Washington has incurred a $36 million penalty — split over two seasons — for its handling of the salary cap during the 2010 season. Shanahan says they would not have traded up had they known the penalty was coming. It leaves Washington without much cap room or a first-round pick in 2013 and ’14.
Dec. 30, 2012: In one of Washington’s most exciting seasons, Griffin helps Washington clinch the NFC East title with a 28-18 win over the Dallas Cowboys in the regular-season finale. It’s Washington’s seventh consecutive victory with 27 or more points in six of those wins. Griffin finishes with 3,200 yards passing, 815 rushing and a Pro Bowl bid.
Jan. 6, 2013: Griffin tears the ACL in his right knee during a 24-14 playoff loss to Seattle — five weeks after having suffered a PCL tear in the same knee. The ACL injury leads to a rocky offseason for Washington, highlighting a developing tension between Griffin and the coaching staff — about how the staff was using him on the field and whether the two sides could trust each other. Snyder and Griffin, meanwhile, develop a strong bond.
May 9, 2013: After renewed protests regarding the team’s name, Snyder issues a declaration to USA Today: “We’ll never change the name. It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.”
Dec. 30, 2013: After Washington loses the final eight games of the season, Snyder fires Shanahan, ending weeks of various unnamed reports highlighting the tension in the coach’s relationship with Griffin. Shanahan benched Griffin in favor of backup Kirk Cousins for the final three games, saying they wanted Griffin healthy for the offseason.
Jan. 9, 2014: After interviewing Darrell Bevell, Rich Bisaccia, Sean McDermott and Jim Caldwell, Washington hires Jay Gruden to replace Shanahan. He receives a five-year deal worth $20 million, all guaranteed.
Feb. 10, 2014: Snyder hires former quarterback Doug Williams, who became the first Black quarterback to win a Super Bowl when he led Washington to a victory over the Denver Broncos in January 1988, as a personnel executive. Since being hired, Williams also served as a senior vice president of player personnel for three years and is currently a senior adviser.
March 24, 2014: Snyder sends a letter to season-ticket holders, reiterating his stance on not changing the name and announcing the Original Americans Foundation, which he says will be a charitable resource for Native Americans. In its first year, Washington donated $3.7 million, but by fiscal year 2019, according to USA Today, that number plummeted to nothing. The team says it donated supplies, food and glasses and held two football camps.
Jan. 6, 2015: After a season-ending news conference a week earlier in which Allen said the team was “winning off the field,” Scot McCloughan is hired as general manager. Allen had served in that role the previous two seasons as Washington went 7-25. McCloughan had served as 49ers general manager for two seasons and had been an executive with Seattle. An ESPN The Magazine story three weeks earlier had detailed McCloughan’s history with alcoholism.
March 1, 2016: Washington places the nonexclusive franchise tag on quarterback Kirk Cousins, who was the full-time starter in 2015 and helped the team win the NFC East. Washington doesn’t want to meet Cousins’ request for a three-year, fully guaranteed contract worth approximately $57 million so it allowed him to negotiate with other teams.
March 7, 2016: Washington releases Griffin, who spent the 2015 season mostly as the third-string quarterback. Griffin signs with the Cleveland Browns.
Feb. 28, 2017: Washington tags Cousins for a second season — this time with an exclusive tag — making him the first quarterback to be given the tag twice. Multiple sources on the football side say they want to trade him because the chance of a long-term contract is slim. The two sides never get close to a deal.
March 4, 2017: While at the NFL combine, Washington agrees to a two-year extension with Gruden despite having two years left on his deal. The team had gone 17-14-1 in the previous two seasons, missing a trip to the postseason in 2016 with a regular-season finale loss to the Giants.
March 9, 2017: Snyder fires McCloughan as general manager before free agency. Questions regarding McCloughan’s future had begun circulating in late January, as well as questions surrounding off-field issues and internal tension, according to numerous sources and multiple reports. Bruce Allen returns as GM.
May 2, 2018: The New York Times reports details of a trip Washington’s cheerleaders took to Costa Rica in 2013 for a photo shoot. Among the charges: Cheerleaders are asked to pose topless with men watching the shoot. Other cheerleaders told the Times they were asked to accompany sponsors to a local night club.
Sept. 16, 2018: Washington draws 57,013 to its home opener against the Indianapolis Colts — the smallest opening-day crowd in FedEx Field’s 21-year history. It is 21,000 fewer than the 2017 opener.
Nov. 18, 2018: Quarterback Alex Smith suffers a broken right fibula and tibia in a game against the Houston Texans. Washington was leading the NFC East with a 6-3 record. Smith spends the next month in a hospital, undergoing multiple surgeries to stave off infections. Washington starts three more quarterbacks — Josh Johnson, Colt McCoy and Mark Sanchez — and finishes 7-9.
Dec. 26, 2018: Snyder fires Brian Lafemina, who was hired less than eight months earlier to boost ticket sales and game-day revenue. He was the highest-ranking executive on the business side. Lafemina acknowledged shortly after being hired the oft-reported 200,000 person season-ticket wait list was a myth. His firing is part of a shakeup that includes other executives.
April 25, 2019: At the urging of Snyder, and against the wishes of Kyle Smith, his director of college scouting, according to multiple people in the draft room, Washington selects Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins with the 15th pick in the draft. Haskins starred at Bullis High in suburban Washington, D.C. — the same school Snyder’s son attended.
Oct. 7, 2019: Snyder fires Gruden after an 0-5 start. His tenure under Snyder is longer than any coach, lasting five-plus years with a 35-49-1 record. Bill Callahan replaces him as interim coach. Washington finishes 3-13.
Dec. 30, 2019: Snyder fires Allen, ending his 10-year run during which Washington finishes 62-97-1.
Jan. 1, 2020: Snyder hires Ron Rivera and gives him more power than any coach who has worked under him, including allowing him to select his front office. Snyder had been talking to Rivera since shortly after Carolina fired him a month earlier. Rivera says he talked to Gibbs, among others, before accepting the job.
April 25, 2020: Washington trades Pro Bowl tackle Trent Williams to San Francisco for a 2020 fifth-round and 2021 third-round pick. Williams had been upset with the organization for its lack of reaction to a cancer scare he’d had. He was willing to return, but wanted a contract extension. Washington declined and Williams asked to be traded.
July 13, 2020: Under pressure from sponsors, Washington announces it will drop the Redskins name it had used for 87 seasons. There had long been controversy surrounding the name, considered an offensive term for Native Americans.
July 16, 2020: The Washington Post releases a report detailing the franchise’s toxic culture. Fifteen women allege they were sexually harassed and verbally abused by former team employees. Two scouts named in the piece are fired shortly before the story runs. A third employee named in the article, play-by-play broadcaster Larry Michael, announces his retirement prior to publication. Snyder is not accused of harassment. However, he is cited for setting up a toxic culture. On the same day, Washington hires attorney Beth Wilkinson to review the team’s “culture, policies and allegations of workplace misconduct.”
July 23, 2020: Washington announces it will temporarily be known as the Football Team until a new name is chosen. The team will keep the burgundy and gold color scheme.
Aug. 7, 2020: Snyder sues online media company Media Entertainment Arts WorldWide, accusing the site of publishing “malicious criminal allegations.” The lawsuit charges that MEAW published defamatory stories about him, accusing him of sex trafficking and linking him to Jeffrey Epstein. The stories were based on social media rumors that began before the Post published its first story about the team in July. The $10 million suit also contends unidentified sources paid the site to publish the stories.
Aug. 16, 2020: Smith returns to practice after recovery from his gruesome leg injury nearly two years earlier and is activated off the physically unable to perform list. Smith starts in six games, with a 5-1 record.
Aug. 17, 2020: Snyder hires Jason Wright to be Washington’s team president, making him the first Black person to hold this role in the NFL. The move comes less than a month after Washington hired Julie Donaldson as its senior vice president of media. She went on to become the first woman to be part of an NFL radio booth.
Aug. 20, 2020: Rivera announces he has squamous cell carcinoma and will need to undergo seven weeks of treatment during the season. He won’t miss any games but will sit out three practices while being treated.
Aug. 26, 2020: Another report is released by The Washington Post and builds on the allegations from its first story about Washington’s toxic culture. This report includes 25 more women alleging sexual harassment. The Post reported former play-by-play broadcaster Larry Michael requested his staff produce a lewd video for Snyder from a 2008 cheerleader calendar photo shoot. A former team employee says one was made in 2010 as well. Snyder and Michael deny the charge.
Aug. 31, 2020: Snyder announces via statement the NFL has taken over the investigation into his franchise, which was previously run by attorney Beth Wilkinson. Wilkinson and her team will conduct the investigation, but from that point they will report to commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL. Snyder says he and his wife, Tanya, told Goodell the league should take it over. “The entire Washington Football Team remains committed to fully cooperating with all aspects of the investigation,” Snyder says.
Nov. 13, 2020: Washington’s three minority owners — Fred Smith, Dwight Schar and Robert Rothman — sue Snyder in federal court, saying he interfered with a pending sale of their shares to investors willing to pay $900 million for their 40%. They contend Snyder improperly used his right of first refusal by offering to buy the shares of Smith and Rothman, but not Schar. Snyder had accused Schar of leading an effort to extort him. The NFL later bans Schar from being part of an ownership group again.
Dec. 22, 2020: The Washington Post reports Snyder paid a former team employee $1.6 million in 2009 as part of a settlement after she accused him of sexual misconduct while flying on his plane. Snyder denies the allegations.
Dec. 28, 2020: Washington releases Haskins, a day after a loss to Carolina and after what team sources said were repeated missteps by the second-year quarterback. The release occurs one week after a maskless Haskins was photographed at his girlfriend’s birthday party with strippers, hours after a loss to the Seahawks. Washington fined him $40,000 for his second breach of COVID-19 protocols and took away his captaincy. In a tweet following his release, Haskins wrote: “I take full responsibility for not meeting the standards of a NFL QB & will become a better man & player because of this experience.”
Jan. 3, 2021: Washington beats the Eagles 20-14 in the regular-season finale to win the NFC East with a 7-9 record. Washington wins five of its last seven games — with multiple players saying they were inspired in part by Smith’s return and Rivera’s cancer battle — to win the division. Washington loses to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the wild-card round.
March 5, 2021: Washington releases Alex Smith — an expected move that clears $15 million in salary cap space. Two weeks later, Washington signs free agent quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.
March 31, 2021: NFL owners unanimously approve Snyder buying out his minority partners for the remaining 40.5% control of the franchise. The NFL approves a $450 million debt waiver in addition to the $875 million sale. Snyder must pay off the debt by 2028. Four months earlier, Snyder rejected an offer of $900 million by a group of investors wanting to buy out the minority partners.
June 29, 2021: Snyder’s wife, Tanya, is named co-CEO of the franchise along with her husband. “This team is our family’s legacy,” Tanya says in a statement. “We are at a pivotal point in the history of this team as we work to become the gold standard of NFL franchises.”
July 1, 2021: After Wilkinson’s investigation concludes, the NFL fines Washington $10 million for a toxic workplace culture under Snyder, but does not release a written report. The league also announces Dan will hand the day-to-day duties over to Tanya while he focuses on trying to get a new stadium built. The league does not call it a suspension. Snyder says in a statement, “It is now clear that the culture was not what it should be, but I did not realize the extent of the problems, or my role in allowing that culture to develop and continue. I know that as the owner, I am ultimately responsible for the workplace.”
Oct 1, 2021: Two days before Washington plays at Atlanta, the Drug Enforcement Agency raids the office and home of Commanders head athletic trainer Ryan Vermillion. Vermillion is placed on administrative leave pending an investigation centered on the distribution of prescription drugs. Assistant trainer Doug Quon is also placed on leave.
Oct. 8, 2021: The Wall Street Journal releases leaked emails that highlight exchanges between Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden, who was working for ESPN at the time the emails were written, and Allen. Gruden’s emails were uncovered as part of Wilkinson’s investigation. A year later, former House Oversight Committee chairman Tom Davis writes in a letter to the current chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney that Snyder was using the emails to show Allen’s relationship with members of the media and to blame him for the toxic culture. In the emails, Gruden uses language considered anti-gay and misogynistic. In addition, he used a racist trope to describe NFL Players Association president DeMaurice Smith, who is Black. After another email leak three days later, Gruden resigns as coach of the Raiders.
Oct. 21, 2021: The chairwoman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), announces an investigation into the Washington franchise as well as the NFL’s handling of their investigation into the team. Both Maloney and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, sign a letter sent to Goodell.
Jan. 2, 2022: A railing above the visiting tunnel at FedEx Field collapses as Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts exits the field. Multiple fans fall to the ground, one of whom is helped by Hurts. A day later, four fans refute a statement by the team suggesting they were offered on-site medical evaluations. Eight months later, they file a lawsuit against the organization seeking $75,000 apiece in damages.
Jan. 9, 2022: The franchise plays its last game as the Washington Football Team, beating the Giants 22-7 to finish 7-10. On Dec. 5, they were 6-6 but a combination of COVID-19 absences and injuries leads to the poor finish.
Feb. 2, 2022: Washington announces its new name — the Commanders — after two years of being called Washington Football Team. The franchise unveils the uniforms and logo. “What this effort really is at its core is not landing on a name that was going to be unanimously loved by everybody but to start a process by which we can continue to preserve what’s best about the burgundy and gold,” team president Jason Wright says. Snyder adds: “Today’s a big day for our team, our fans, a day in which we embark on a new chapter. It’s been a long journey to get to this point.”
Feb. 3, 2022: In a roundtable session in front of members of the House Committee for Oversight and Reform, former Washington cheerleader and marketing manager Tiffani Johnston alleges Snyder placed his hand on her leg while at a dinner function and later unsuccessfully tried to force her into his limousine.
Feb. 18, 2022: The NFL hires Mary Jo White, a former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York and former chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, to investigate Johnston’s claims against Snyder. A week earlier, the team announces it will conduct an investigation but the NFL later says it will run the probe.
March 9, 2022: After failing to land Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in a trade — and having inquired on numerous quarterbacks, according to coach Ron Rivera — Washington trades two third-round picks to the Colts for Carson Wentz. The teams also swap second-round picks. The Commanders pick up Wentz’s $28 million contract for 2022. According to multiple team sources, Snyder pushed for the front office to finalize the move.
March 18, 2022: Anheuser-Busch ends its sponsorship with the franchise, worth $4 million per year. Anheuser-Busch sponsors 26 teams as well as the entire league. It’s the third sponsor in the past year that cut ties with Washington. Washington’s attendance in 2021 ranked next-to-last in per-game average and is last in percentage of filled capacity.
March 29, 2022: NFL commissioner Roger Goodell says at the owners’ meetings that Snyder “has not been involved in day-to-day operations.” Goodell says Tanya Snyder has been representing the team as CEO, on a daily basis and at league meetings.
April 4, 2022: The Commanders release a statement strongly denying former Washington employee Jason Friedman’s testimony before the House Oversight Committee, alleging financial improprieties — including Washington withholding ticket revenue that was supposed to be shared with other teams.
April 12, 2022: The House Oversight Committee sends a 20-page letter to the Federal Trade Commission regarding “potentially unlawful pattern of financial conduct” by the franchise.
April 18, 2022: The Commanders send a 25-page letter to the FTC, strongly denying Friedman’s charges, saying he did not have access to the financial information he was alleging. They also release emails and other correspondence to back up their rebuttal.
April 25, 2022: The Virginia attorney general’s office informs the Commanders via email it will investigate the allegations of financial impropriety. The D.C. attorney general’s office also is investigating the franchise. Maryland’s attorney general’s office declines to comment on questions asking if they’re doing the same.
June 1, 2022: The House Oversight Committee asks Snyder and Goodell to testify at a hearing on June 22. In a statement, chairwoman Maloney says, “We must have transparency and accountability, which is why we are calling on Mr. Goodell and Mr. Snyder to answer the questions they have dodged for the last seven months.”
June 15, 2022: Snyder informs Congress he will not appear at the hearing, citing a long-standing commitment to attend an awards ceremony in France. Meanwhile, Goodell says he will testify. Two days later, Maloney urges Snyder to reconsider and offers him a chance to do so remotely. Three days after Maloney’s encouragement, Snyder again declines. His attorney says they want the committee to share documents it intends to use during questioning.
June 22, 2022: The House oversight committee releases a 29-page report, detailing new allegations against Snyder. The report concludes Snyder conducted a “shadow investigation” to try to discredit accusers, media and others who they thought played a role in making accusations against him and the organization. Among the report’s findings: Snyder sent private investigators to the accusers’ homes to offer them “hush money” and Bruce Allen created the toxic workplace.
June 22, 2022: Several hours after that report is released, Goodell testifies before the House oversight committee for 2½ hours, reiterating they won’t release the Wilkinson report to protect the anonymity of those who participated. Later, Maloney says they will issue a subpoena to get Snyder to testify.
July 7, 2022: Ten days after refusing the House oversight committee’s subpoena, Snyder offers to testify remotely. The committee accepts his offer to testify on July 28.
July 28, 2022: Snyder testifies voluntarily for approximately 10½ hours via video conference from Israel, where he’s commemorating the one-year anniversary of his mother’s death. The committee warns beforehand if he did not fully answer questions, they will issue a subpoena upon his return to the United States. A spokesperson for Snyder said he answered all of their questions about workplace misconduct.
Oct. 13, 2022: An ESPN report reveals Snyder told people in his inner circle Goodell and other owners can’t “f— with me” because of information he has on all of them. The report says Snyder has accumulated information on six other owners, including the Cowboys’ Jerry Jones, with whom he had been close, as well as Goodell. The report says many owners and top league executives would like to see Snyder removed. But to do that, 24 of the other 31 owners would have to vote in favor of ousting him. However, no vote is taken at the league meetings the following week.
Oct. 18, 2022: Colts owner Jim Irsay tells reporters at the owners’ meetings: “I believe there’s merit to remove [Snyder] as owner. Unfortunately, I believe that’s the road we probably need to go down and we just need to finish the investigation, but it’s gravely concerning to me the things that have occurred there over the last 20 years.” Washington releases a statement from the Snyders saying they will not sell. Snyder then sends a letter to the other owners calling the ESPN report false and denying he hired a private investigator “to look into any owner or the Commissioner.”
Nov. 2, 2022: The Snyders announce they’ve hired Bank of America Securities to consider “potential transactions” for selling the team. Their statement did not specify if they will sell all of the team or just a portion. A spokesperson says the Snyders are “exploring all options.” Forbes values the team at $5.6 billion.
Nov. 10, 2022: D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine says the city has filed a civil lawsuit under the consumer protection act against Snyder and the Commanders. Racine says it is for “colluding to deceive residents of the District of Columbia about their investigation into a toxic workplace culture that impacted employees, especially women.” A week later, Racine files a second lawsuit accusing the team of cheating season-ticket holders in the District out of $200,000 in deposit money.
Dec. 8, 2022: The House Oversight Committee releases a 79-page report on its investigation, stating Snyder “permitted and participated in” creating a toxic workplace culture. They called Snyder’s testimony evasive and at times misleading. It says Snyder told them more than 100 times he couldn’t recall answers to basic questions about the team, his role and allegations of misconduct. The report also states the team and league failed to “produce more than 40,000 responsive documents, including the findings of the Wilkinson investigation…” Also in the report, Allen alleges Snyder leaked the Gruden emails.
Jan. 8, 2023: Washington beats Dallas to finish 8-8-1 and out of the playoffs, but team sources said Snyder doesn’t attend, missing his third consecutive game — one in which they were retiring the jersey of former quarterback, broadcaster and a Snyder favorite, Sonny Jurgensen. If this is the last game of the Snyder era, then the franchise finished with a 164-220-2 record, 14 losing seasons in 24 years and two playoff wins. From 1969-1998, Washington posted a record of 257-181-2 with seven losing seasons and three Super Bowl victories in five appearances.
Feb. 8, 2023: At Super Bowl LVII, Goodell says there remains no timeline for the Mary Jo White investigation into former cheerleader Tiffani Johnston’s claims against Snyder. He updates the sale without saying much: “As far as the process, the Commanders are under a process that is their process; ultimately, if [the Snyders] reach a conclusion and have someone join the ownership group or buy the team entirely, that’s something the ownership will look at.”
Feb. 17, 2023: Washington hires Eric Bieniemy as an assistant head coach/offensive coordinator, in what could be Snyder’s last big coaching move.
Feb. 28, 2023: ESPN reports a $55 million loan made to the team — “without the knowledge and required approval of Snyder’s minority partners” — has become a focal point of federal prosecutors in Virginia who are investigating allegations of financial misconduct by Snyder and the franchise. The loan was included as a footnote in an April 2020 financial report and had been taken out 16 months earlier.
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