Washington Football Team owner Daniel Snyder made a court filing Wednesday as part of ongoing litigation brought forward by three of the club's minority owners, Dwight Schar, Fred Smith and Bob Rothman, alleging Schar is trying to lead an extortion campaign against him.
ESPN's John Keim reported Thursday that Snyder argues in the court documents that Schar is behind media leaks that have painted the franchise in a negative light, including a Washington Post story Tuesday detailing a $1.6 million settlement with a former female employee who accused Snyder of sexual misconduct.
"The Post's article includes several quotes from the filing that improperly give the misleading impression, based on Plaintiffs' position and status, that there was merit to the allegations of misconduct. Plaintiffs' purpose in submitting their supplemental filing is now clear: to try to continue to smear me in an effort to gain leverage in this business dispute," Snyder wrote in the court filing, per Keim.
U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte of Maryland is scheduled to hold a Jan. 7 hearing in the case with the sides accusing each other of leaking important details to the media, per Keim. Snyder denied he's been the source of any confidential material published by the Washington Post or other outlets.
"I am fighting on multiple fronts for interests that go beyond just me including for the Team that I love, as well as my family, and can swear to this Court that the accusations I improperly leaked information to the press are false," he said in court documents.
In August, Andrew Beaton and Cara Lombardo of the Wall Street Journal reported Schar, Smith and Rothman had intensified efforts to force Snyder to sell the NFL franchise, and they argue his unwillingness to make the team available amid controversy causes their shares, which total about 40 percent, less valuable.
That alleged push to force Snyder into a sale came after the Washington Post reported in July stories from 15 former female staffers who alleged sexual harassment and verbal abuse during their time with the team.
The Washington owner said in the court filing Wednesday he believes Schar provided information that was later used in Post articles, per Keim.
"Dwight Schar has funneled information about me and the Team to Mary Ellen Blair, a former executive assistant with the Team, to be provided to The Washington Post," Snyder wrote.
Forbes listed the Washington Football Team as the eighth-most valuable franchise in the NFL at $3.5 billion in its 2020 rankings. That would make 40 percent of the team worth $1.4 billion, but Snyder has only offered the minority stakeholders $900 million to buy their shares, per Keim.
Meanwhile, Washington sits atop the NFC East with a 6-8 record and thus controls its own destiny with two weeks left in the regular season. Victories over the Carolina Panthers and Philadelphia Eagles would clinch a playoff berth.
It would be the team's first postseason appearance since 2015, and it would be seeking its first playoff win since 2005.