Washington name change: Ownership in turmoil, minority owners attempting to sell share of team, per report


It’s shaping up to be an offseason of sweeping change for Dan Snyder and his Washington football franchise, and not simply on the field. The team began the year with the hiring of Ron Rivera as head coach and ushering in the new by shoving out the old — sending longtime general manager and president Bruce Allen packing — but the latter isn’t the biggest front office change that could take hold before it’s all said and done. Currently in the midst of turmoil as Snyder opens an official review into the possible (ahem … likely) change of the franchise’s name from “Redskins,” which is viewed as a racial slur toward Native Americans, the team’s owner may find himself soon flanked by new faces in the ownership committee.

The minority ownership in Washington appears uneasy about the direction the franchise has gone in recent years, and is ready to exit stage left, according to the Washington Post. Dwight Schar, Robert Rothman and Frederick Smith all own a minority stake in the team, but seemingly not for long, with all three reportedly looking to sell their piece of the pie. The trio has hired Baltimore-based firm Moag & Co. — as noted by Sportico —  to officially seek potential buyers due to internal conflict that’s left them “not happy” with Snyder. 

This news comes only days after Smith used the FedEx brand to apply pressure to Snyder to change the team’s name, a move that combined with a similar demand from federal officials and additional calls for change from Nike and PepsiCo. FedEx, of which Smith is founder, chairman and CEO, also owns the naming rights to Washington’s home stadium to the tune of a $205 million contract, giving them the unique ability to force Snyder into a name change after years of a dug-in stance that once led him to openly declare the team would “never” even consider it.

That was then, however, and this is now.

While the consideration of a new name is put to review, a situation Rivera would like resolved before the beginning of the 2020 season, Snyder now finds himself fighting major battles on many fronts. The trio of Schar, Rothman and Smith account for roughly 40 percent of Washington’s ownership, and they are the only ones whose last name isn’t Snyder that own a piece of the team. 

In other words, as plainly as can be stated, Snyder is entering uncharted territory regarding the looming name change, and he’s doing so while watching the knights of his round table search desperately for an exit, based upon how he’s run the organization to this point on the whole — since taking the reins in 1999. The franchise is currently valued at around $3.4 billion, and the aforementioned trio isn’t the first minority ownership the club has seen in the past 21 years. Schar, Rothman and Smith entered the fold in 2003, with the two original minority owners — Fred Drasner and Mortimer Zuckerman — having purchased the team with Snyder before bowing out not long thereafter. 

And now, Snyder may find himself looking for a new band of business brethren for a second time in nearly as many decades, should the minority owners find success in exiting. 





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