Dan Snyder, the Jewish owner of the Washington Commanders football team who is under multiple investigations over sexual harassment and toxic workplace culture allegations, has agreed in principle to sell his NFL franchise to a group led by Jewish billionaire Josh Harris, who co-owns the Philadelphia 76ers, for a record $6.05 billion.
Snyder and his wife and co-owner Tanya Snyder had announced in November that they would explore a possible sale, as investigations from Congress and the NFL remain underway. There are also allegations of financial misconduct.
Snyder has been under considerable scrutiny since July 2020, when a Washington Post investigation uncovered a series of allegations from former team employees, including the use of “Jewish slurs” by a high-ranking team executive.
Last summer, Snyder, who is a member of the Greater Washington Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, asked to postpone a scheduled deposition in front of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform because of a trip to Israel to observe the anniversary of his mother’s death.
Harris, whose net worth is estimated at $6 billion, is a co-founder of the private equity firm Apollo Global Management, which manages over $500 billion in assets globally. Harris is also a co-owner of the 76ers and the NHL’s New Jersey Devils, and a minority owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and a general partner of the Crystal Palace Premier League soccer club in Great Britain.
Harris has supported charitable efforts in Israel, including a project that focused on integrating Ethiopian immigrants to Israel through sports, and a more recent effort to combat socioeconomic inequality in Israel through youth sports in underprivileged areas.
In addition to Harris, the investment group buying the Commanders includes Jewish businessman Mitchell Rales, whose parents are the namesakes of the Ruth & Normal Rales Jewish Family Services in Boca Raton, Florida. NBA legend Magic Johnson, who is part of the ownership groups of the MLB’s Los Angeles Dodgers and the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks, is also involved.
Snyder purchased the Commanders in 1999 for $800 million. The $6 billion price tag would far surpass the previous record of $4.65 billion, which was set last year with the sale of the Denver Broncos. The sale requires approval by the NFL’s finance committee and at least three-fourths of the league’s 32 owners, who are scheduled to meet next month.
The Commanders sale comes months after another Jewish billionaire, Mat Ishbia, purchased the NBA’s Phoenix Suns and WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury from another embattled Jewish owner, Robert Sarver.