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Daniel Snyder no longer under any NFL restrictions, his attorneys say

Daniel Snyder walks on the field with Commanders team president Jason Wright, left, and Tanya Snyder before an Oct. 2 game against the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Tex. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder is “no longer under any NFL restriction” limiting his degree of involvement in the franchise’s operations, the team’s attorneys said.

The NFL on Thursday neither confirmed nor refuted that contention made by the Holland & Knight law firm, which represents the Commanders. The league repeatedly has said, as recently as last month, that there has been no change to Snyder’s ownership status since its July 2021 announcement that he would turn over control of the franchise’s day-to-day operations to his wife Tanya, the team’s co-CEO, for an unspecified period.

The NFL has said Commissioner Roger Goodell will discuss the issue with Snyder upon the completion of a league-commissioned investigation, conducted by attorney Mary Jo White, into allegations of sexual misconduct and financial impropriety. Snyder and the team have denied all allegations.

NFL owners’ attitudes harden toward Commanders’ Daniel Snyder

The team, through its attorneys, portrayed Snyder’s status differently.

“Dan Snyder agreed with the NFL that he would step away from day-to-day operations … for a limited period, and he is no longer under any NFL restriction related to his involvement with the team,” the Holland & Knight firm said in a statement. “That said, Jason Wright has, from day one, done such an outstanding job as Team President, that there has been little need for Dan to involve himself in the Team’s operations. Tanya also has been very engaged and hands on.”

The Commanders provided the statement Thursday to The Washington Post after previously providing it to ESPN.

“Tanya continues to represent the Team at NFL meetings as a committed, effective, long-standing co-owner, and one of the small group of women owners,” the statement said. “That decision is, however, a decision made jointly by Tanya and Dan, and is not as a result of any requirement imposed by the NFL.”

The NFL said Thursday in a statement: “The Commissioner’s decisions were based on a comprehensive workplace review conducted by Beth Wilkinson and the grounds were identified in the public statements made at the time that the discipline and remedial measures were announced.”

The NFL did not directly address the team’s statement Thursday about Snyder’s ownership status, instead referring to previous comments made by Goodell at two sets of owners’ meetings this year.

At an owners’ meeting in August in Bloomington, Minn., Goodell said: “As far as his status, as we all know, there’s an ongoing investigation, a congressional investigation as well as our investigation into those issues. As we get to resolution on that, Dan and I will discuss where he participates.”

At the annual league meeting in March, Goodell said that Daniel Snyder “has not been involved in day-to-day operations,” adding that Tanya Snyder’s oversight of the franchise’s daily operations and representation of the team at meetings “will continue for at least the foreseeable future.” Goodell also said then, “Dan and I will talk about that at some point.”

A league executive reiterated last month that there had been no change to Snyder’s ownership status since the July 2021 announcement, pending the completion of White’s investigation.

“There is no update or timeline at this point in terms of her findings,” Jeff Miller, the NFL’s executive vice president of communications, public affairs and policy, said during a September conference call with reporters. “But as soon as she is done, I am sure that we’ll be talking about that. The commissioner said it. I think this remains the status quo, then he’ll have a discussion with Dan at the appropriate time. And, again, those findings haven’t been made to us yet. Her work continues.”

The NFL said in its July 2021 announcement that the team had been fined $10 million, based on the findings of a previous league investigation led by Wilkinson. The league said then in a statement: “As co-CEO, Tanya Snyder will assume responsibilities for all day-to-day team operations and represent the club at all league meetings and other league activities for at least the next several months. Dan Snyder will concentrate on a new stadium plan and other matters.”

The league said in that announcement that any “material failure to implement these recommendations or to otherwise comply fully with these obligations and the commitments may result in an extension of the reporting period or other discipline.”

The team and Daniel Snyder’s attorneys always portrayed the arrangement regarding the franchise’s daily operations as voluntary on his part and disputed that Goodell’s approval was needed for Snyder to return to control over those operations despite the subsequent statements by Goodell and the league that the two would have to discuss the matter.

There never was any restriction placed on Snyder attending the team’s games. But there have been conflicting accounts of Snyder’s level of involvement in team operations. Commanders Coach Ron Rivera said Daniel Snyder was involved in the team’s deliberations leading to its trade with the Indianapolis Colts in March for quarterback Carson Wentz.

The owners are scheduled to meet Tuesday in New York at their regularly scheduled quarterly meeting. No formal actions by the owners regarding Snyder are expected at that meeting, with a final report by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform and the findings of White’s investigation pending.