Dan Snyder, the owner of the Washington Commanders (f/k/a Washington Football Team, née Boston/Washington Racial Slurs), is currently somewhere in the Mediterranean on his $100 million yacht (it has an IMAX theater on it!). There are many reasons to tour the Mediterranean, but probably the biggest one for Snyder is the fact that his tour of international waters allows him to duck a congressional subpoena.
He’s basically a Bond villain if Bond villains failed to win a playoff game in 16 years.
The House Oversight and Reform committee would like to talk to Snyder as part of its investigation into the NFL’s handling of workplace harassment and abuse claims against Snyder’s organization. You might remember that the NFL brought in Beth Wilkinson to dig into the allegations and she reportedly walked out of it recommending that the league force him to sell. Spoiler alert: the league did not force him to sell.
He was, however, fined $10 million and stripped of day-to-day responsibilities which he handed over to his wife who almost certainly runs things completely independently.
Hence the House investigation. Snyder has agreed to a video interview with the committee, but pointedly refused to accept a subpoena and intends to remain in international waters to make sure the Marshals can’t give him one. There’s one significant distinction between showing up voluntarily and showing up pursuant to a subpoena. From ESPN:
There’s a difference between whether someone testifies voluntarily or under a subpoena, according to Dave Rapallo, Georgetown University’s Federal Legislation Clinic director and the Democratic staff director of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform from 2011 to 2021.
“If you’re under subpoena, you have to answer the question posed,” Rapallo said. “If it’s voluntary, and you’re not under subpoena, you don’t.”
You might think Snyder has an attorney kicking around willing to accept the subpoena. And he does! Karen Patton Seymour of S&C. But she’s not agreeing to accept service, making her just the latest Snyder employee incapable of receiving.
While the committee is likely eager to hear from Snyder, on behalf of NFL fans, perhaps we can put aside getting to the bottom of this matter in favor of the unintended good fortune of forcing Snyder into functional exile over this subpoena. Usually justice delayed is justice denied, but wouldn’t keeping him away from his team more or less solve every issue — both allegedly off-the-field and most definitely on it?
Just throwing it out there.
NFL Owner Dodges Congressional Subpoena by Going on Vacation on His Yacht [NY Mag]
Attorney: Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder won’t testify under subpoena [ESPN]
From dream job to nightmare [Washington Post]
Joe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe also serves as a Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.