NFL fines Washington Football Team $10 million

The investigation that initially was started by the Washington Football Team has been ended by the NFL.

The headline from the end result of the investigation is that the NFL has fined the Washington Football Team $10 million. Per the league’s statement, that money “will be used to support organizations committed to character education, anti-bullying, healthy relationships and related topics.” The team also will “fund fund programs directed more broadly at improving the workplace, particularly for women and other underrepresented groups, and training and development programs throughout the league, with recipients identified with the assistance of respected third-party advisors.”

The team likewise will be footing the bill for the investigation that resulted in today’s punishment. Per the league, it will pay the fees and expenses associated with attorney Beth Wilkinson’s investigation. Given that she interviewed (per the NFL) more than 150 people, that likely will be at least another $1 million, maybe $2 million.

Then there’s this: Buried at the bottom of the release published on one day before one of the prime bad-news dump afternoons of the year, the league essentially suspended Daniel Snyder. In the next-to-last paragraph of a 29-paragraph press release, the NFL says this: “As co-CEO, Tanya Snyder will assume responsibilities for all day-to-day team operations and represent the club at all league meetings and other league activities for at least the next several months. Dan Snyder will concentrate on a new stadium plan and other matters.”

That’s a very significant statement. Basically, Tanya Snyder has (as a practical matter) the ultimate control of the team, as far as the league is concerned. And ultimate control — as we’ve recently seen in Tennessee and currently are witnessing in Denver — is a huge issue.

She’ll represent the team at league meetings and run the day-to-day operations “for at least the next several months,” which basically means Daniel Snyder has been suspended indefinitely, and that his ability to return to his usual role, the one he’s held for more than 20 years, will be determined at a later date.

The league doesn’t call it a suspension, and many won’t even regard it as one. But it is. It definitely is. And it explains Tuesday’s sudden move to make Tanya Snyder co-CEO and co-owner.

Someone had to take over the team while Daniel Snyder stays out of football operations and focuses solely on business matters, and the decision was made that it will be Daniel Snyder’s spouse.

UPDATE 4:41 p.m. ET: Although the statement from the league does not say it, Lisa Friel of the NFL said in a conference call that the shift was “voluntary.”