Billionaires are reportedly lining up to place bids to buy Washington Commanders

The search for a new owner for the Washington Commanders has entered a new phase.

According to multiple reports, a group led by Josh Harris and Mitchell Rales – including Lakers legend Magic Johnson – has submitted a fully funded bid for the franchise, now owned by the embattled Daniel Snyder. ESPN, citing an unnamed source, has reported that the group has met Snyder’s asking price of $6 billion.

But there are more billionaires in the mix, including Canadian developer Steve Apostolopoulos – ESPN has reported he also submitted a $6 billion bid – and Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta. Some people expect Amazon founder Jeff Bezos to join the fray.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, speaking at the end of the sessions, said the league received an update on the commanders’ situation Tuesday afternoon.

“The Washington Commanders are obviously the ones running the sales process,” Goodell said. “If there is a sale they will notify us and we will proceed with it.”

Speculation of new owners has circulated since November, when Daniel and Tanya Snyder announced they had hired Bank of America to begin selling part or all of the team.

The expected sale of the Commanders, which will require the approval of three quarters of the other 31 clubs, is a big issue at the annual league meetings. The Denver Broncos were the last NFL franchise to change hands and sold for a record $4.65 billion in August.

The widely disliked Snyder is the focus of multiple investigations into his team’s leadership. According to a congressional report released in December, Snyder “allowed and participated” in the club’s pervasive and toxic work culture, worked to dissuade and intimidate witnesses from collaborating in a 14-month investigation, and claimed more than 100 times in his testimony that he couldn’t get answers to basic questions.

In July 2021, the NFL fined the then-Washington Football Team $10 million and ordered Snyder to cease day-to-day operations of the franchise for several months after an independent investigation found the club’s workplace “highly unprofessional ‘ was, especially for women. At the time, the team had been under a year-long investigation into dozens of allegations of sexual harassment by former employees over a 15-year period.

Although a sale of the commanders could take weeks or even months, there’s a chance a vote could take place at the league’s May meetings in Minnesota.

Harris owns the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and the NHL’s New Jersey Devils, and worked with Rales, a Maryland billionaire originally from Pittsburgh. Johnson owns a minority stake in the Dodgers and has long expressed interest in becoming part of an NFL ownership group.

do not look back

Jaguars linebacker Travon Walker, 44, was fined for roughly hitting the passer after that hit on Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert during their AFC playoff game last season.

(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

The Rams proposed a rule to make rough-pass penalties reviewable, but couldn’t sway teams enough to effect a change.

The proposal failed to get the required 24 votes on Tuesday, possibly due to an experiment that failed in 2019. At this point, the NFL attempted standing reviews of pass interference calls, and these proved too subjective to warrant a permanent rule change.

“There are a lot of problems that come with that,” said Rich McKay, chairman of the competition committee, of conducting roughing calls that are the subject of retakes. “It’s a dramatic and almost drastic change in office to take it from the field to the dressing room.”

McKay declined to disclose the vote count but said, “It wasn’t a long discussion and then we voted and it didn’t pass.”


Now that YouTube TV is taking on the Sunday Ticket package, there will only be one RedZone channel: the NFL-produced version hosted by Scott Hanson, not the DirecTV version hosted by Andrew Siciliano.

numbers game

Single-digit jersey numbers are trending, so there was little resistance to adding a “0” as an option. All players are eligible to wear this number this season except those in the trenches.

Offensive linemen are still relegated to numbers between 50 and 79, while defensive linemen can wear numbers in that range or from 90 to 99.

Kick it down the street

The league brought forward a proposal from the Philadelphia Eagles to provide an onside kick option. The Eagles suggested a team behind could retain possession by substituting an offensive play — a fourth and 20 of their 20 — in lieu of an onside kick.

The rate of successful onside kicks has dropped to 4% this past season, well below the league’s target of 13% to 14%.

Exhilarating movement

With a view to further reducing concussions, the league plans to expand the use of sentinel caps, the padded shells that fit over helmets, to full-contact drills during the regular season, rather than just preseason.

At last summer’s training camps, the caps were worn by offensive and defensive linemen, as well as linebackers and tight ends. Now they are also worn by tailbacks and fullbacks.

This too shall pass

The rule changes passed include proposals by the Chargers to align the game clock adjustment after instant play with other timing rules; Houston’s proposal to allow review of failed fourth-down attempts and the Contest Committee’s proposal that the tripping penalty be assessed as a personal foul.

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