Minority owners of the Washington Football Team are pressuring majority owner Dan Snyder to sell the franchise, according to the Wall Street Journal's Andrew Beaton and Cara Lombardo.
According to the WSJ, Snyder has no interest in selling the team.
FedEx CEO Fred Smith, Black Diamond Capital chairman Robert Rothman and NVR Inc. board chairman Dwight Schar have hired an investment firm to sell their roughly 40% stake in the franchise, according to the WSJ.
The Journal reports that the minority stakes have attracted interest previously, but that prospective buyers have walked away from deals citing Snyder's reluctance to give any of the new buyers the option to eventually buy control of the team. Per the Journal, any stakes sold by minority partners would also become more valuable if the entire team were sold.
The internal pressure comes as Snyder recently filed a lawsuit accusing a former team employee of assisting an alleged defamatory plot against the longtime team owner.
On Monday, in a Federal District Court filing, Snyder asked for documents from a former team executive assistant, Mary-Ellen Blair, to bolster a defamation case against an Indian media company that he alleges published defamatory information about him.
“We are aggressively pursuing Mary-Ellen Blair, a disgruntled former employee who is clearly in the pocket of another and complicit in this scheme to defame Mr. Snyder, in order to ensure that the full weight of the law comes down heavily on all those responsible for these heinous acts,” one of Snyder’s lawyers, Joe Tacopina, said in a statement to the New York Times.
All of this comes on the heels of a recent name change from the franchise. On July 23, the club announced that it temporarily would call itself the "Washington Football Team," effective immediately, as it figures out a new name to adopt at a later date.
On July 13, the team first said it would "retire" its old nickname after facing criticism and mounting pressure from sponsors. Snyder insisted for years that he would never change the team's name.
“For updated brand clarity and consistency purposes, we will call ourselves the 'Washington Football Team' pending adoption of a new name,” the team said in a release. “We encourage fans, media and all other parties to use “Washington Football Team” immediately. The Redskins name and logo will officially be retired by the start of the 2020 season.”
A July investigation by Sports Illustrated's Jenny Vrentas and Michael Rosenberg determined that although Snyder touted the “Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation” as proof of the franchise's commitment to Native American communities, tribal officials and public records tell a less flattering version of the story.
A July investigation by the Washington Post, found that more than a dozen women allege sexual harassment and verbal abuse by former team employees.
Snyder purchased the Washington team in 1999 for around $800 million, which at the time was a record price for a U.S. sports franchise.