Colts owner Jim Irsay: 'There is merit to remove' Dan Snyder
For the first time, an NFL owner is publicly calling for serious consideration to remove Dan Snyder as owner of the Washington Commanders.
Colts owner Jim Irsay made his comments ahead of Tuesday's NFL owners meeting.
Snyder’s status has been widely debated for years amid several scandals and investigations into workplace conduct in Washington. The league has been investigating allegations of sexual misconduct and financial impropriety, a probe conducted by attorney Mary Jo White that is ongoing.
"It’s something we have to review, we have to look at all the evidence and we have to be thorough and it’s something that has to be given serious consideration," Irsay said Tuesday. "I believe in the workplace today, the standard that the shield stands for in the NFL, that you have to stand for that and protect that. I just think once owners talk among each other they will arrive at the right decision. 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."
A Commanders spokesperson responded to Irsay's statement, saying in part, "It is unfortunate that Mr. Irsay decided to go public with his statement today, while an investigation is in process, and the team has had no opportunity to formally respond to allegations."
It would take 24 out of 32 owners voting in favor to remove Snyder.
Tanya Snyder, the team’s co-CEO, and Commanders President Jason Wright are representing the team at this week’s owners’ meetings in New York.
The league will be discussing topics that happen in the game such as concussions and roughing the passer penalties. However, it's also expected that Snyder's name will come up among the owners.
Snyder’s ownership of the Commanders became a big issue again last week when ESPN reported, citing anonymous sources, that he has hired private investigators and told people he has enough information to expose fellow owners and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
READ MORE: ESPN: Washington Commanders Dan Snyder claims ‘dirt’ he’s gathered on owners could ‘blow up’ NFL
The Commanders denied the contents of the report, calling it "categorically untrue" and "clearly part of a well-funded, two-year campaign to coerce the sale of the team, which will continue to be unsuccessful."
Snyder and the team are under congressional investigation for workplace misconduct.
There are no plans to vote on Snyder’s ownership because the league’s investigation, conducted by attorney Mary Jo White, into allegations of sexual misconduct and financial impropriety is still ongoing.
Snyder has owned the team since 1999.
The Washington Post published a report on Monday saying D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine's office has nearly completed its investigation into Snyder and the team and is planning to take further action in the case. Racine's office declined to comment on that report.
The Commanders team lawyer says the office has never indicated they were planning to take any kind of action against the team or Snyder.
READ MORE: Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder accused of sexual harassment; NFL to oversee investigation
Among the topics on the agenda for the meetings are updates on international play and preseason injury trends, including use of Guardian caps to prevent concussions.
The NFL and NFL Players Association already revised their concussion protocol following a joint investigation into the procedures after Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa suffered what was described as a back injury against the Buffalo Bills last month.
The league faced heavy criticism and scrutiny after Tagovailoa was carted off the field by stretcher just four days after stumbling off the field and being allowed to return to play.
A pair of disputed roughing-the-passer penalties in Week 5 frustrated defensive players and had players, coaches and fans questioning what constitutes a legal hit. But the league doesn’t plan to soften its interpretation of the rule and will continue to allow referees to err on the side of caution in order to protect quarterbacks.
The owners are also expected to vote on the $790 million St. Louis relocation settlement. Last November, the NFL and Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke agreed to pay $790 million to settle a lawsuit filed by St. Louis interests over the team’s relocation to Los Angeles. The vote would determine how much Kroenke pays and how much would be covered by owners of the league’s 31 other teams.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.