Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder has denied allegations that he hired private investigators to look into his NFL counterparts, as well as league commissioner Roger Goodell.
Last week, ESPN, citing multiple unnamed owners and league and team sources, reported that the Commanders owner “instructed his law firms to hire private investigators to look into other owners – and Goodell.”
In a letter sent to all other NFL owners, Snyder stated: “That is patently false and intended to erode the trust and goodwill between owners that I take quite seriously. I have never hired any private investigator to look into any owner or the Commissioner. I have never instructed or authorized my lawyers to hire any private investigator on my behalf for any such purpose. And I never would.
“While we all are fierce competitors on the field, we are a part of this organization because we love football, our teams and our fans. Having the privilege to own a franchise in America’s sport is something I know none of us take for granted. Falsehoods and lies being spread about any of our organizations hurts our League, our players and our fans, and we simply cannot let them go unchallenged.”
Last year, after an internal investigation by attorney Beth Wilkinson, the NFL fined the team $10 million and Snyder handed control over the franchise’s daily operations to his wife, Tanya Snyder. The NFL, however, declined to publicly release its findings, sparking a House Oversight Committee review in October.
Despite the change, ESPN alleges current and former team executives say Snyder “is still far more involved running the club than most realize,” adding that he lobbied to acquire quarterback Carson Wentz from the Colts while the sources questioned if team president Jason Wright, the first Black man in NFL history to hold that title, “has true authority to fix the team.”
Snyder denied the ESPN report’s allegations, saying in the letter: “It is particularly shameful for ESPN to diminish the very real accomplishments of our President Jason Wright, who ESPN alleges was placed at the Commanders by the League and has no power to make real change. I know you know this to be false. Unfortunately, ESPN ignored our efforts to correct the many falsehoods in their article before its publication.”
Following the Commanders’ 12-7 victory over the Chicago Bears on Thursday night, Washington head coach Ron Rivera also denied the reports, saying that he was behind the decision to recruit Wentz.
“Everybody keeps wanting to say I didn’t want anything to do with Carson, well, bullsh*t,” said Rivera.
“I’m the f**king guy that pulled out the sheets of paper, looked at the analytics, watched the tape … when we were at Indianapolis, OK? And that’s what pisses me off, ‘cause the young man doesn’t deserve to have that all the time.”
An ESPN spokesman told CNN in a statement the company is standing by its reporting.
The NFL hired former Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairwoman Mary Jo White earlier this year to investigate workplace misconduct against Snyder.