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NFL Officially Set to Make Dan Snyder Investigation Public

The NFL is preparing its case against Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder, but how far will this thing go?

Fearing a backlash from the NFL amid allegations of sexual misconduct from former team employees, Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder announced earlier this month that he has hired an independent investigative team to look into the claims made before Congress by six former staffers.

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Dan Snyder 2019 © Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Dan Tanya Snyder © Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
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Dan Snyder Chargers 2018

The NFL then scoffed at the idea that a team could investigate itself, and announced the league will in fact be conducting the investigation.

On Friday, the NFL informed the House Oversight Committee that Debevoise & Plimpton's Mary Jo White will be involved in the league's investigation of the latest allegations made against Snyder. The findings will be made public at the end of the investigation, according to the NFL. White notably took part in the NFL's investigation on former Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, who was forced to sell his stake in ownership in 2017.

Following the news of the investigation going public, the Commanders made the following statement:

"The Washington Commanders are pleased that the NFL has appointed Mary Jo White to look into the recent allegations made by Tiffani Johnston. The Commanders have always been intent on having a full and fair investigation of this matter conducted, and to releasing the results of that investigation. Given the Team's confidence in Ms. White's ability to conduct such a full and fair investigation, the Commanders will not separately pursue an investigation, and will cooperate fully with Ms. White."

Making the investigation public is an indication that the league is tired of dealing with Snyder with kid gloves and upset with the Commanders for breaking the unwritten rule of "no controversy during Super Bowl week."

But then came a bomb, dropped by Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio. During the NBC Super Bowl pregame show, Florio stated, "There is a sense among ownership that the time has come for Dan Snyder to move on."

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We know the history of the NFL and its backroom politics. The league lost a lot of credibility after mishandling the initial investigation by not requiring a written report. The result? Snyder was simply asked to lay low for a while. Out of sight, out of mind.

But now Congress is involved, and the NFL and Snyder can't sweep the situation under the proverbial rug. Congress' house committee is demanding a paper trail. It's about to get a lot worse for both the NFL and Snyder.

The NFL fears further public backlash if an order is made by Congress for Snyder to sell the Commanders. But there's another problem. It also fears retaliation by Snyder himself.

The league dealt with this before when Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson voluntarily left the league after similar allegations of sexual misconduct with female staffers. Richardson was 82 years old and had been associated with the NFL most of his life. He had no desire to see the league he'd been a part of for so many years fall due to his mistakes. The NFL pressured him to sell, and he did.

That probably won't work with Snyder. He's just a rich guy who got in on the NFL ownership game late. Maybe he accepts a suspension of a year to a number of years. He's also recently announced that his wife, Tanya, is publicly running the organization, and there is no evidence she ever did anything wrong. So Snyder still would have input in day-to-day operations. The NFL knows this.

And here's an even bigger problem ... having been an NFL owner for a number of years, Snyder certainly knows a lot of dirty, dark, backroom secrets about the NFL and other owners. Surely if it comes down to it, he'll squeal like the Hogs at FedEx Field.

This is going to get dirty and may take a number of years to settle. But the NFL surely has a plan, and it's about to go public.


Follow Timm Hamm on Twitter at @IndyCarTim