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    NFL owners unanimously approve the $6.05B sale of the Commanders from Snyder to Harris group

    BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — NFL owners unanimously approved the sale of the Washington Commanders on Thursday from Dan Snyder to a group led by Josh Harris and including Magic Johnson for a record $6.05 billion.

    NOTE: The video in the media player is from a previous report.

    All 32 team owners voted for the sale, which is the highest price paid for a North American professional sports team. After the finance committee approved the agreement with the new ownership group, Harris Blitzer Sports and Entertainment, a special league meeting was called to consider and vote on it before the 2023 season begins.

    ASHBURN, VA – JUNE 1: The Washington Commanders new logo on the helmets during OTA On-Field Practice.

    Photo by Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post via Getty Images

    Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones beamed as he walked off an escalator and headed toward the meeting room, granting a brief interview with reporters about the impending sale of his team’s division rival.

    “It’s a hallmark day,” Jones said. “I’m excited about the prospects of going into Washington and giving them some capital punishment.”

    The NFL released a 23-page report detailing the findings of an independent investigation into Snyder’s conduct just minutes after its owners unanimously approved the sale to Harris, announcing Synder has agreed to pay a $60 million fine.

    Snyder had owned his favorite boyhood team since 1999, when he bought it for $800 million. Success was fleeting, both on and off the field. With Snyder in charge, the team made the playoffs just six times in 24 years, only twice won a postseason game and went 166-226-2 overall. The franchise has lost a significant amount of luster from the glory days under coach Joe Gibbs, who won three Super Bowls in his 12-year run from 1981-92.

    Under Dan Snyder, the Washington franchise has been mired in controversy, legal troubles and on-field mediocrity.

    Patrick Semansky

    Then there were the problems outside of football, from a feud with minority owners that led Snyder to buy out their shares of the team to allegations of sexual harassment by former employees, which prompted a series of investigations into workplace misconduct. Over and over again, Snyder said he would never sell the team.

    The tide began to shift on that front last October when Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said there was “merit to remove” Snyder, an ouster that would have required votes from at least 24 of the other 31 clubs. Two weeks later, Snyder and his wife Tanya hired a firm to begin exploring a sale of part or all of one of the NFL’s oldest franchises – one that has called the nation’s capital home since 1937.

    Ultimately, that process led to a group chaired by Harris. His investment crew also includes David Blitzer, with whom he co-owns the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and the NHL’s New Jersey Devils, Washington-area businessman Mitchell Rales and more than a dozen others. The unusually large ownership group needed and received league finance approval for a deal that shattered the $4.35 billion Walmart heir Rob Walton paid last year for the Denver Broncos.

    Philadelphia 76ers owner Josh Harris speaks with members of the media on Tuesday, May 14, 2019.

    AP Photo/Matt Rourke

    The special meeting for the Commanders sale was conducted at the same hotel adjacent to the Mall of America in suburban Minneapolis where Walton’s group gained formal control of the Broncos.

    Their biggest immediate challenge for the long-term future of the organization is a new stadium to replace FedEx Field, the rushed-to-completion home of the team since 1997 in Landover, Maryland, that has not aged well. Virginia abandoned a stadium bill more than a year ago, a consequence of the number of off-field controversies swirling around the team.

    Bringing the fans back is a major priority after Washington ranked last in the league in attendance in 2022 and second-to-last in 2021. The team rebranded last year as the Commanders after dropping the name Redskins in 2020 and generically going by the Washington Football Team for two seasons.

    Washington Redskins helmets sits on the field before the start of an NFL football game between the Washington Redskins and the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019, in Landover, Md.

    Washington Redskins helmets sits on the field before the start of an NFL football game on Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019, in Landover, Md.

    AP Photo / Patrick Semansky

    Snyder’s attorneys attended the meeting. He did not.

    Owners also received an in-person update at the meeting from former U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White on her investigation for the NFL into the Commanders that began 1 years ago. That was launched in light of the congressional review into workplace misconduct that also included a referral to the Federal Trade Commission for potential business improprieties by Snyder.

    Commissioner Roger Goodell has pledged to make White’s report public when it’s completed.


    Whyno reported from Washington.


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