Washington Football Team owner Daniel Snyder has found his name in the headlines over the past several months for a variety of unflattering reasons, and he says the negative publicity stems from a calculated effort to pressure him into selling the team.
Both the New York Times and Washington Post reported in the past week about a settlement Snyder paid to a former employee over a sexual misconduct allegation in 2009. The settlement is confidential and did not admit wrongdoing, but the Post reports that it stemmed from an incident on Snyder’s private plane while returning from the Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas.
In response to those reports, Snyder made a court filing in Maryland on Wednesday accusing Washington Football Team minority owner Dwight Schar of extrotion. Snyder says in documents that Schar leaked information to multiple news outlets in an attempt to force Snyder to sell the team.
“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,” the filing reads, according to ESPN’s John Keim. “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 said he paid the $1.6 million settlement in 2009 only to avoid negative publicity. Neither he nor anyone in the Washington organization admitted wrongdoing. Snyder says an investigation from a law firm uncovered no evidence of wrongdoing.
There were also two stories from the Washington Post over the summer in which former Washington employees described a workplace littered with sexual harassment and misconduct. Snyder said in Wednesday’s filing and previous filings that Schar has “funneled information about me and the team” to former executive assistant Mary Ellen Blair, who then provided it to the Post.
Snyder says he has been threatened numerous times in recent months by Schar and others associated with him, including one time when Schar told Snyder’s attorney that information that “will kill Dan” is going to come out if Snyder refuses to sell the team.
This is not the first we have heard that minority owners are pressuring Snyder to sell the team. Snyder also filed a massive lawsuit against an India-based media company over the summer due to an inaccurate report about Snyder being involved in sex trafficking.
Snyder, 56, purchased the Washington NFL franchise in 1999.