The worst owner in the National Football League is going solo — if the rest of the league lets him.
Pending approval from 24 of the NFL’s 32 other teams, Washington Football Team principal owner Daniel Snyder will buy out the minority owners of his franchise and take sole possession of the organization. The ownership vote will take place at the annual league meeting next week.
Minority owners Fred Smith, Dwight Schar and Bob Rothman currently own 40.5% of Washington Football Inc. and have been waging a battle in court with Snyder about their shares of the team. If Snyder is allowed to buy them out, that dispute will be settled and the 56-year-old will assume complete control of the $3.5-billion franchise, according to The Associated Press.
Rothman, Schar and Smith, who bought into the team in 2003, have been trying to sell their stakes in the WFT since last spring when Snyder declined to pay them annual dividends to conserve the club’s cash with the status of the 2020 NFL season still in doubt due to COVID-19.
Buying out Smith, Schar and Rothman will cost Snyder, who bought a majority stake in the team in 1999, $875 million and he will have until 2028 to repay the debt, according to The New York Times. That’s a small price to pay to assume total control of a franchise Snyder has, after years of inept management, seemingly started to turn around.
After fighting it for years, Snyder finally consented to change Washington’s team name in July after 87 years of usage. In addition to rebranding his franchise as the Washington Football Team, Snyder also hired Jason Wright to be the NFL’s first Black team president.
Wright recently indicated that the WFT’s name, which was originally installed as a placeholder, may be permanent.
“There are a set of folks that have warmed to the Washington Football Team,” Wright told ESPN. “Some of the things that are emerging from that are the Washington Football Team has something that ties deeply to our history. It feels like that isn’t jettisoning all the things we have been in the past, whereas something that’s completely new might feel that way. It’s important for a substantial part of our fan base to feel that this is a continuation of something versus a complete reset, something brand new.”
Though the team may stick with its current title, the organization will continue to accept fan suggestions for a new name and logo through April 5 and has already received 15,000 submissions.