Analysis: Commanders ugly on and off the field

The dysfunctional Washington Commanders are ugly on and off the field.

A day that began with a detailed report about Dan Snyder’s toxic ownership ended with a sloppy 12-7 victory over the Chicago Bears in front of a national television audience Thursday night.

Don’t let the victory fool you. The Commanders (2-4) were losers the minute ESPN reported, citing anonymous sources, that Snyder has hired private investigators and told people he has enough information to expose fellow owners and Commissioner Roger Goodell.

There is no plan to vote on Snyder’s status next week at the owners’ meetings in New York, according to three people with knowledge of the agenda. The people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Thursday because the discussions are private.

Forcing Snyder to sell the team requires 24 votes from the other 31 owners. It’s not a simple task despite the latest stain against him.

Snyder and the organization are currently the subject of ongoing investigations by the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform and former U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White, who is conducting a new review on behalf of the NFL.

Once those reports are filed, owners could try to seek removal. Meanwhile, public pressure will continue to mount against Snyder, who has been accused of workplace sexual harassment, potentially unlawful financial conduct, deceptive business practice, among other improprieties.

During the Amazon Prime Video broadcast, play-by-play announcer Al Michaels said: “Just my feeling, I think what the league would love is for Snyder to sell the team. Not have to go to a vote, but just sell the team. Because it’s become a major problem around the league, obviously. And we’ll see what happens. I think it’s got a long way to go, and Dan, very well known for digging his heels into the ground.”

Snyder watched from a suite at Soldier Field as his team put aside all the distractions and barely held on for a win by 1 yard, snapping a four-game losing streak.

“With the distractions going around, we don’t pay attention to any of that,” linebacker Jamin Davis said. “As a locker room, as a team, we really pay attention to what we have in front of us and going forward that’s how it’s going to be.”

Coach Ron Rivera, who created a different distraction earlier in the week when he blamed quarterback Carson Wentz for the team being last in the NFC East, walked out of his postgame news conference after referring to part of ESPN’s report that said it was Snyder’s decision to acquire Wentz.

“They’ve played their (butts) off. They have,” Rivera said about his team. “They come out and show up. They work hard. They don’t complain. They hear all this stuff and they got to deal with it. I get that. I respect them for it. They’re resilient. They come back. Everybody keeps wanting to say I didn’t want anything to do with Carson. … I’m the …. guy that pulled out the sheets of paper, that looked at the analytics, and watched the tape when we were in Indianapolis (at the combine). That’s what pisses me off because the young man doesn’t deserve to have that all the time.”

None of the Commanders deserve to deal with the series of scandals and investigations that surround the man who signs their paychecks.


AP Sports Writer Stephen Whyno contributed to this report.


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