Introducing the “C.R.A.P” rating of owner horribleness.
Like a lingering fart freed from a tent, Dan Snyder’s rein of horror is over. The Washington Commanders’ sale is in the works, with the Josh Harris-led consortium poised to take over the team and return normalcy to the franchise. Snyder will be resigned to a footnote in history, recalled only in conversations at the bar 20 years from now as fans remember “the bad old days.”
Snyder’s ownership of the Commanders will go down in legend as one of the worst eras in the history of any sports team. The man managed to make every bad decision an owner could possibly make as he alienated fans, put an atrocious product on the field, went to the mat in favor of keeping the team’s racist nickname, was implicated in a sexual harassment scandal, defrauded fans, and is still locked in an ongoing legal battle that will decide whether he committed bank fraud.
Oh, he also had 200 feet of old-growth trees removed from national parkland outside his house to improve the value of his home. It’s relatively small potatoes in the scheme of things, but I needed to point out that he hates the environment as well.
Now Snyder has been resigned to memory we can finally discuss the retrospective this man deserves: Is Dan Snyder the worst owner in the history of sports?
What’s left to say about this man? He sucks. It takes tremendous effort to take a proud franchise and turn them into a universally-reviled laughing stock, but that’s precisely what he did. Let’s push all the atrocious off-field shit we already know to the side, and Snyder would STILL be regarded as one of the worst owners of all time.
One of Snyder’s first football moves after taking over the franchise was kicking out Charlie Casserly, a beloved general manager who brought the team a Super Bowl in 1991. Snyder replaced him with Vinny Cerrato, whose only qualification was “I play golf with Dan Snyder.”
His bold vision for the franchise was hiring a bunch of old players who were well past their prime, serving more as a weird marketing ploy than a sound football plan. Cerrato’s trio of big signings, Jeff George, Deion Sanders and Bruce Smith took the team from a 10-6 team that won a playoff game, to 8-8.
In an effort to course correct Snyder actually made a good move in hiring Marty Schottenheimer in 2001, who required Cerrato leave as part of joining the team. Of course, this lasted the length of a hiccup, and Snyder fired Schottenheimer who was turning the team around, because the coach didn’t pledge absolute fealty to him. Snyder then hired Steve Spurrier, and re-hired Vinny Cerrato.
Schottenheimer went on 47-33 record with the Chargers. Spurrier went 12-20 before being fired.
This began a legendary run of coaching failures. Joe Gibbs, Jim Zorn, Mike Shanahan, Jay Gruden — all of whom came under the purview of Bruce Allen, who rose to become a mediocre general manager. More importantly: He was Dan Snyder’s friend, which has always been the most important pre-requisite.
Snyder invested the majority of his time and energy into fighting to keep the team’s racist nickname and making money, rather than actually caring about whether the team won or not. This was a legendary cautionary tale for bad ownership, and when we combine the atrocious lack of football success with his suite of disgusting off-field decisions and we’re left with a very stinky bag of trash.
We need a scoring system to truly evaluate how bad an owner can be. Allow me to introduce the CRAP This system ranks owners on four key areas:
Each of these are graded, with a top score in each area being a 25. This gives an owner a potential 100 CRAP grade to determine how bad they are. There are a lot of truly horrible owners, but here are some of the worst and their corresponding CRAP ratings.
Donald Sterling: Los Angeles Clippers (1979-2015)
Donald Sterling sucked beyond comprehension. For his near-four decades of ownership the Clippers were perennially one of the saddest teams in the NBA. It wasn’t just the Clippers were bad, because Sterling was a legendary racist.
In 2003 he was sued for making racist comments about Black and Hispanic tenants in his properties. In 2006 he was sued for refusing to rent property to Black people in Beverly Hills. In 2009 he was sued by Elgin Baylor for racial discrimination.
Sterling was given a lifetime ban by the NBA for his incomparable harm to the game and whined all the way out the door when he was forced to sell the team.
Unfortunately he’s still alive.
Robert Sarver: Phoenix Suns (2004-2023)
Publicly Sarver was a fairly quiet owner for much of his tenure with the Suns until 2021. It was then that the depths of Sarver’s mysogny and racism came to the forefront. This was a classic case of wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Publicly Sarver loved to position himself as the good guy, standing against Arizona’s SB-1070 bill, the strictest anti-immigration bill in the country. However, behind closed doors he was a different person, using the n-word liberally, discriminating against women, and interfering in the workplace.
Jeffrey Loria: Florida/Miami Marlins (2002-2017)
Loria isn’t really a criminal, nor a horrible racist — but goodness was he a horrific owner. Despite winning a World Series and having middling success for much of his tenure, his entire time as owner of the Marlins was unrealized potential. He loved playing a shell game with salaries to push them down the line, doing his best to field a mediocre team for the least money possible.
This is more about unrealized potential than anything else. With competent ownership the Marlins could have become a force in MLB. Instead they got Jeffrey Loria.
James Dolan: New York Knicks (1994-present)
It takes a lot of skill to oversee a sporting jewel and make it a mess. The Knicks are perennially one of the most disappointing teams in sports, and Dolan is a major reason why. His lack of patience to allow anyone the build the organization, paired with his incredibly thin skin has made him one of the most reviled owners in professional sports.
Also his music sucks.
Daniel Snyder: Washington Commanders (1999-2023)
What’s left to say about Dan Snyder? He is truly one of the worst owners of all time. The pending court case could up his criminality a little, but he just sneaks in under the bar of Donald Sterling for being the worst owner in history.
Feel free to drop a hated owner in the comments with your own CRAP ranking.
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