Embattled Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder and his wife Tanya are exploring purchase deals for the NFL club, according to a team statement released Wednesday.
Snyder, dogged by accusations of a toxic workplace culture, bought the team and its home stadium in 1999 for $800 million.
Forbes magazine in August ranked the Commanders as the NFL’s sixth-most valuable team at $5.6 billion despite issues surrounding Snyder.
“Dan and Tanya Snyder and the Washington Commanders announced today that they have hired BofA (Bank of America) Securities to consider potential transactions,” the statement from the Commanders said.
“The Snyders remain committed to the team, all of its employees and its countless fans to putting the best product on the field and continuing the work to set the gold standard for workplaces in the NFL.”
Left unclear was exactly how much of the club might be for sale or if a minority investor would be involved in a takeover effort.
The most recent NFL team sold was the Denver Broncos, who were bought for $4.65 billion in August.
The statement followed a Forbes magazine report Wednesday that said at least four groups have expressed interest in purchasing the Commanders and that Snyder was exploring all options for a complete sale or a minority stake purchase.
Snyder bought out all of his minority partners last year to take full control of the NFL team, which hasn’t won a playoff game since 2005.
Snyder has taken verbal abuse at games from fans complaining about the state of the franchise, which has won three games in a row to stand 4-4 in the current campaign.
The Washington Post reported in July 2020 that 40 women who were former employees of the club had been sexually harassed by Snyder and others within the organization.
An independent investigation into the matter concluded in July 2021 and found bullying, intimidation and sexual harassment were commonplace within the NFL team’s workplace.
The league fined the team $10 million and Snyder gave day-to-day operational control of the team to his wife.
In July of this year, Snyder testified before a US House committee regarding its probe into the Washington team’s workplace.
The committee also looked into reports Snyder under-reported ticket sales to the league, a move that would have allowed him to keep more ticket revenue.
ESPN reported on Wednesday that the US Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Virginia had launched a criminal investigation into alleged financial improprieties by the Commanders, citing unnamed sources.
A House committee’s letter to attorneys general in April alleging deceptive business practices by the club triggered the probe, according to the report.
The league told ESPN that a probe by the league started in April remains ongoing while a statement from attorney John Brownlee from a law firm representing the Commanders denied any wrongdoing.
“It is not surprising that ESPN is publishing more falsehoods based solely on anonymous sources — given today’s announcement,” the statement said.
“We are confident that, after these agencies have had a chance to review the documents and complete their work, they will come to the same conclusion as the team’s internal review — that these allegations are simply untrue.”
Snyder had once vowed that his team would never change its controversial “Redskins” nickname but in 2020 after several advertisers urged a change and some stores stopped selling team apparel, the team was rebranded as the Washington Football Team before adopting the Commanders moniker early this year.
Snyder also had once vowed never to sell the team.
Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said last month that there was “merit” in Snyder no longer owning the Commanders, saying that was “something that has to be given serious consideration.”
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