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Read the transcript of Colts owner Jim Irsay’s comments on Daniel Snyder

Commanders owner Daniel Snyder stands on the sideline before the game between Dallas and Washington at AT&T Stadium on Oct. 2. On Tuesday, Colts owner Jim Irsay spoke at length about Snyder's status among NFL owners. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)
8 min

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay offered the sharpest comments yet about Daniel Snyder and the Washington Commanders, telling reporters at the NFL’s fall league meeting in New York on Tuesday that “there’s merit to remove” Snyder as owner of the team.

Irsay talked to media for nearly 15 minutes, fielding question after question about Snyder and his status with fellow owners. Here are his comments.

Colts’ Jim Irsay: Removing Daniel Snyder merits ‘serious consideration’

Has Dan Snyder been a topic of conversation? “I don’t know. I assume we’re going to get into more and more discussion on that. It’s a difficult situation. I believe that there’s merit to remove him as owner of the [Commanders]. I think it’s something that we have to review. We have to look at all the evidence, and we have to be thorough in going forward. But I think it’s something that has to be given serious consideration.”

Do you believe enough people agree with you that that’s a realistic possibility? “When we look at the evidence and go forward, we’ll have to determine what the situation is. But I just 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 that once owners talk amongst each other, they’ll arrive to the right decision. My belief is that — unfortunately, I believe that 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.”

What concerns you the most? “I just think what’s happened in the workplace — [I have] three daughters, seven granddaughters — that’s just not, again, we have to look at the investigation and see the finality of certain things that happen, because there’s been a lot of different things that have happened. But you can’t shy away from the fact [that] it’s an unfortunate situation. But I believe it’s in the best interests of the National Football League that we look it squarely in the eye and deal with it. I think America, the world, expects us to, as leaders.”

Do you think [Snyder] has dirt on other owners? “I don’t know about that. I could care less. You can investigate me until the cows come home. That’s not going to back me off, private investigators or any of that stuff. To me, I just shrug it off. It’s irrelevant to me. I don’t know about any of that stuff. I just focus on the issue [of] what’s happened in Washington. And, to me, it’s gravely concerning.”

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Do you think there are 24 owners who agree? “I think potentially there will be. But we’ll see.”

Is there anything the investigations can show that would change your mind at this point? “Sure. I said it’s under consideration, serious consideration. But I want to see the thorough investigation be put before us and see exactly what’s going on, including possible financial improprieties. I don’t know if that exists. But that’s another component to it that we have to see.”

Are you saying you’d like to see a vote today? “We’re not going to vote today.”

How soon do you think a possible vote would be held? “It’s hard to say. You know, I don’t know how long it will take. Certainly we’re going to be thorough and look at everything. It could be at the March meeting. I don’t know. But I know we want to be thorough and look at everything carefully.”

What troubles you the most about the way [Snyder’s] actions reflect on the rest of the owners? “That’s not what we stand for in the National Football League. And I think owners have been painted incorrectly a lot of times by various people and under various situations. And that’s not what we’re about. And we do care a great deal for each other. You know, there’s a lot of friendships in this league and closeness. Bob Kraft getting married and talking to him and sending him a gift — there’s just a lot of closeness in this league. And I don’t think, some of the things I’ve heard, it doesn’t represent us at all. And I want the American public and the world to know what we’re about as owners.”

Should the Snyder family sell? “I said there’s consideration that he should be removed. We have to complete the investigation. But, to me, it’s something that I think serious consideration has to be given to the removal. And we have complete authority to do that.”

[Consideration of just removing] him or the family, period? “I think, in general, of him being removed and selling the franchise.”

How would you describe your relationship with Dan over the years and today? “You know, I’ve known Dan. We’re not close or anything like that. Of course, I’ve known Dan and talked to Dan. And so, again, it’s a regrettable situation. It pains me to see it. The founders of this league taught me you have to protect the game and protect what we’re about. This isn’t what we’re about.”

How much does the team’s struggle to get a new stadium concern you and other owners? “I don’t think that plays into this. You know, obviously, there’s problems there and that sort of things. But … this doesn’t have anything to do with the financial inability possibly to go forward in Virginia or Washington to build a new stadium. We would never base that on that.”

Have owners been given any information on the status of the Mary Jo White investigation? “We need to be updated a lot more thoroughly and more clearly. There’s no question about that. So [we’re] looking forward to seeing the final report on that, no question.”

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Does Snyder have much support in the room at all? Does he have friends? “You’d have to ask the other owners. It’s something where every owner looks at it differently. I think, again, it pains me because it’s not something personal. It’s something in the interest of the National Football League and what we’re about and how we’re represented as leaders in the world, quite frankly.”

Do you believe there has been or will be an attempt to convince him to sell voluntarily? “I don’t know. I don’t know [with] that dynamic, if that would occur. I just know that unfortunately this has been put before us, and we have to act and look at it once we have all the facts. And we have to act appropriately, you know, to protect and to be an example for what we want to be about.”

Do you feel Dan Snyder is good for the league? “From the things that I’ve heard, I want to hold my final opinion until I see the report. … But I have my concerns at this point. I’m very concerned that he needs to be removed.”

Was there a turning point for you? “No. This is a situation that has a long, long history. And it’s unfortunate that way. But, again, I want to see the final report on those things before we move in that direction. I think in looking at where we’re at, I can’t sit here and not say that this is a very serious situation and, you know, it’s something that we have to really look at closely because it could very well head down that road where we have to remove him.”

How many people will support how you feel out of the other owners? “I believe they’ll support [removal] if the report shows and they believe it’s the right thing to do. I’ve seen the room act that way all the time. It’s a situation that you wish wasn’t there. But you can’t shy away from it. As leaders, these things are presented before you. And so I think it’s important to wait to see for the whole report to come in, because obviously it’s a big decision. But … if we have to move in that direction, we have to be prepared to do it.”

Do you think the NFL has handled this properly? “I think it’s a very big decision. And all owners and the commissioner have to look at it very carefully and thoroughly, because obviously there hasn’t been this type of removal. … But I think we just have to really see the report before there’s any definite and for-sure direction that we go in. I just think that, at this point, there has to be serious consideration to be ready to move in that direction.”