SNIDER: Washington Commanders owner wants to testify on his terms


Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder rarely speaks publicly and only to friendly media where he can dictate questions. Seems it won't work that way with a Congressional committee, though.

In a great show of poker faces, Snyder's attorneys are rejecting the House Oversight Committee's demand that Snyder testify on July 28 under subpoena that strips the beleaguered owner of many legal protections. Snyder's legal team says a subpoena isn't needed because he'll voluntarily testify.

The House is having none of it. Voluntarily means Snyder can refuse to answer any question and invoke non-disclosure agreements. Essentially, he'd fulfill a legal requirement to appear before the committee without saying anything. Maybe NFL commissioner Roger Goodell can dance around questions, but Snyder isn't so smooth. His lawyers are protecting him because anything Snyder says can and most certainly will be used against him in court.

But it's a good legal try by Snyder's lawyers. First, they claim Snyder was too busy to testify during the June 22 meeting. Now they're waiting for the last days of the House session before it recesses for six weeks. When the House called their bluff and said July 28 is fine, now Snyder's team will argue over how testimony is conducted.

Ultimately, Snyder's not saying anything. He hasn't uttered much publicly in the past decade other than saying he would never change the Redskins name. Why should he answer the panel's questions, especially when they could be over anything? Snyder is rightfully naked and afraid of that scenario.

Right now, Snyder can claim willingness to testify with a molecule of truth. It's an old lawyer's trick.

The House's response will either accept Snyder's condition only to see lawyers deflect every question or require Snyder accept the subpoena. That Snyder will appear via Zoom is a win for the owner rather than looking nervous in a committee room before dozens of cameras.

Ultimately, Snyder's a long shot to testify. He'll delay until after the House returns in mid-September and by then the representatives are too busy with Nov. 8 elections to squander time on him. Republican committee members have already said they won't continue the inquiry should their party win control of the House after the midterm election. So, Snyder has to essentially get past their July 28 appearance and he's likely off the hook.

Fans have been waiting years for this moment hoping it would lead to a team sale. Instead, they'll have to wait a little longer for some watershed moment to force change.

Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @Snide_Remarks.

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