Thursday was a busy day for the NFL and the most significant news came off the field, and also in the broadcast booth to some degree.
ESPN reporters Don Van Natta Jr., Seth Wickersham, and Tisha Thompson released an extensive report about Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder that suggests a man prepared to take down his fellow NFL owners if they try and come after him over an array of misconduct allegations.
Recent years have revealed extensive workplace misconduct allegations about Snyder and his organization that have embarrassed the league. The allegations include sexual harassment and assault allegations, of which you can read more about at SB Nation.
Thursday’s ESPN report focused on how Snyder is handling the situation and what it could mean for the league. He reportedly told a close associated, “he has gathered enough secrets to ‘blow up’ several NFL owners, the league office and even commissioner Roger Goodell.”
It could be mostly talk, but Thursday evening suggested it has rattled owners to some degree. During the fourth quarter of the Thursday Night Football broadcast featuring the Commanders and the Chicago Bears, announcer Al Michaels made a notable comment. He said, “Just my feeling, I think what the league would love is for Snyder to sell the team. Not have to go to a vote but just sell the team. Because it’s become a major problem around the league, obviously.”
Al Michaels discusses the ongoing issues with Dan Snyder, saying "Just my feeling, I think what the league would love is for Snyder to sell the team. Not have to go to a vote but just sell the team. Because it's become a major problem around the league, obviously." pic.twitter.com/sBA5WrGChI— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) October 14, 2022
Al Michaels is a good company man. He’s been connected to the NFL since he started calling Monday Night Football in 1986. However, he’s also not going to just shill endlessly for the product as we’ve seen in many broadcasts, including last night’s. If the product is poor, Al will let us know.
So when he does have something to say that is a little different, we should pay attention. As others have noted, Al’s comments weren’t just some random thoughts in his head. They come across as something the NFL wants to be made clear, and wants to do it without having to release official statements. For all intents and purposes, this was an official statement.
It’s unclear what the next steps will be in this messy affair. Someone with a certain amount of shame might want to end this whole affair and move on with their life. Dan Snyder does not appear to have such shame, but I suppose he could surprise us in the coming weeks or months. In the meantime, the NFL will likely continue finding ways to make it known how displeased they are with the whole situation without actually doing anything about it.