ESPN details how Jon Gruden email leaks led to Dan Snyder being forced to sell Commanders

It’s funny how dots can be connected and traced back to when the first domino fell. It wasn’t so long ago that Dan Snyder seemed untouchable as the owner of the Commanders/Redskins/Washington Football Team. He was supremely confident he couldn’t be forced to do anything.

First it was his refusal to change the name of the team from the Redskins, despite mounting public and league pressure.

He ultimately did have to do that. Going with “Washington Football Team” (which is basically what many outlets were already calling them) before eventually going with Commanders as the new mascot.

Such was also the case with his ownership of the team despite serious lawsuits for toxic workplace allegations.

Once those came out, Snyder treated it like he did everything else — a staple of powerful people who aren’t often faced with anyone telling them “no” — he brushed it off.

But in this case, he may have gone a step farther. One step too far as it would happen.

We all know that in the midst of the investigation into Snyder and the Washington Football Team’s toxic workplace allegations, it was Raiders head coach Jon Gruden who was caught under the wheels of that bus.

Emails were discovered between Gruden and then Washington GM Bruce Allen that included some offensive language many deemed to be racist, homophobic, and misogynist in nature. Leading to Gruden’s forced resignation.

Some indepth reporting by ESPN reveals many details about how and perhaps *why* those emails were released. Along with the reverberation felt from it that went far beyond Gruden. Many believe it was Snyder himself who leaked them.

Snyder was in the midst of a suspension due to the results of the league’s investigation into his team’s conduct. He got impatient and wanted back in and hoped the leak would help get him back in Goodell’s good graces.

Lawyers close to the NFL and to Gruden said the choice to leak to the Times over The Washington Post, a newspaper Snyder hates, was a dead giveaway that Snyder and those around him were behind the leaks.

If that indeed was Snyder’s plan, it backfired. Big time.

No matter how the leaks were engineered, multiple sources draw a direct line from emails that trickled out over a few days in October 2021 to Snyder’s crash and his imminent $6.05 billion sale of the Commanders. Within days of the leaks, a congressional committee launched a wide-ranging investigation of the Commanders and the NFL that forced Goodell, Allen and Snyder to testify under oath. The congressional inquiry would lead to a federal criminal investigation into alleged financial misconduct by Snyder and the team. As pressure mounted, Snyder bragged to associates that he had collected dirt on his fellow owners and Goodell that could “blow up” the league. Unfazed, owners finally all but forced Snyder to sell his beloved franchise.

“He was free and clear that October — he just had to wait out his suspension and let everything blow over,” a source close to Snyder said. “A major miscalculation. Without the leaks, he might just have survived.”

Goodell’s response to the leaks was…not at all what Snyder was hoping for.

The commissioner was furious that the emails sullied the league’s image after years of trying to make progress in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusiveness.

Not to mention, the leaks now got the attention of Congress who opened their own investigation into Snyder.

A source close to the committee told ESPN that, although congressional staff and some lawmakers were already interested in issues around the Commanders and Snyder, the string of leaks moved them to act. Their thinking was, if the leaks showed the kind of material Snyder was weaponizing against his enemies, what else might be out there?

And thus Snyder had officially overplayed his hand. And he was about to finally get at least a bit of what was coming to him.

Snyder’s suspension would continue indefinitely. The owners — and most importantly Jerry Jones — would line up in lockstep to force Snyder to sell the team, which as of late last May, he has agreed to do.

Meanwhile, Gruden’s lawsuit against the NFL persists, with him thus far refusing to ever settle. Some would probably say his forced resignation was a good place to start. But Snyder was always the big fish here.

Who knows, by the end of this thing, we could see a lot more people get their just desserts.

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Mike McNamara

Mike McNamara

A Las Vegas Realtor since 2008. Mike has a wide range of knowledge around all things Las Vegas.

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