- - Thursday, July 7, 2022

It seems like every word of every sentence of every story that comes out of the House Oversight and Reform Committee’s investigation into the Washington Commanders paints a more troubling picture of Dan Snyder than before.

The owner’s partner in pettiness and mismanagement of an NFL franchise for 10 years was Bruce Allen, the team’s former general manager and president who, before he fell out of favor with the boss, absorbed much of the criticism directed at the franchise — Snyder’s beard, if you will.

Allen earned a lot of that criticism on his own, mind you, and he and Snyder together were the “Hardy Boys” of the NFL, bumbling through one misadventure after another.

But Allen’s name has not been heard much amid the sexual misconduct allegations that prompted the current congressional investigation. 

Allen shares responsibility for much of what went wrong in Ashburn over the years, but he has not been implicated in the more despicable sexual misconduct charges that have been leveled against Snyder and other executives who worked under Allen during his tenure.

Snyder tried to change that.

The owner mounted a behind-the-scenes campaign to convince the NFL that the problems with the Washington team’s workplace should be blamed on Allen, not Snyder. That attempt, like so much of the conniving by Snyder, failed. But it illustrates the depth of the fallout between the two Putt-Putt buddies.

From the time Allen walked past Snyder’s SUV and down the tunnel and out of the stadium after the final game of the 2019 season, a 47-16 loss at the Dallas Cowboys and was fired soon after, the split between Butch and Sundance has been as bitter as the poison that bonded the two men.

Snyder, according to the Washington Post, was upset that Allen never sent him a text message congratulating him for hiring Ron Rivera in January 2020. The animosity escalated from there to suggestions that Allen was involved in a defamation campaign against Snyder that was aimed at connecting him to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. 

Snyder also tried to stiff Allen out of money he owed his former running buddy. The Athletic reported that Snyder withheld salary due to Allen after the team president was fired. Allen eventually got his remaining pay through NFL arbitration, or the team eventually agreed to pay him, depending on who you believe.

Now we learn that Snyder has tried to convince the NFL and investigators that Allen was the bad guy in Ashburn. It is clear that the wounds between the two still run deep. To the bone.

A blood feud? Not quite. After all, Snyder and Allen are not brothers.

George and Bruce Allen are brothers, though, and according to sources, remain close.

Which brings us to Jason Miyares, the Virginia attorney general who is investigating Snyder and the Commanders for financial misconduct.

Responding to a letter from the House Oversight Committee to the Federal Trade Commission, charging it found evidence of deceptive business practices the Commanders engaged in for more than a decade, Miyares announced in April he was launching an investigation into the Commanders based on the allegations of financial improprieties.

The Republican, who took office in January, said in a letter to a team lawyer that he viewed it as his “responsibility to carefully examine the material facts regarding this matter.

“To be clear, I have not prejudged the issues raised regarding the Commanders,” Miyares wrote.

The letter stated Deputy Attorney General Steven Popps would lead the inquiry. A spokesperson for the office said they could not comment on “ongoing investigations.”

The team declined to comment and made reference to the letter they wrote to the FTC, which denied “any suggestion of financial impropriety of any kind at any time.”

Miyares got his start in Virginia politics in 2000, when he worked on the senate campaign of — George Allen.

George Allen endorsed Miyares for attorney general: “Jason Miyares and his family are the living embodiment of the American Dream, in our Meritocracy where everyone has an opportunity to work hard and succeed,” reads the statement on the Miyares campaign website. “Jason strongly believes in the foundational values and proven policies that will provide all the people of Virginia good job opportunities, better education and safe communities in every region.”

George Allen campaigned for Miyares, and, after Miyares won, George Allen was named to the Miyares transition team, along with former governors Jim Gilmore and Bob McDonnell.

It raised some eyebrows when Miyares agreed to investigate the Commanders, happening at the same time state elected officials were trying to give the franchise millions of dollars for a new stadium development.

The Washington Football Team donated $2,500 to Miyares’ campaign. George Allen donated $3,051 — if you’re keeping score.

Do I think that Miyares would conduct a campaign based on a grudge by political allies? Not likely. A longtime Virginia political observer said Miyares is “buttoned-up” and described him as a “boy scout.”

But if I was Snyder, I wouldn’t be expecting the benefit of any doubt. After all, politics is a blood sport, and Allen family blood has been spilled.

You can hear Thom Loverro on The Kevin Sheehan Show podcast.

• Thom Loverro can be reached at tloverro@washingtontimes.com.

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