They like to hold players responsible for their conduct on and off the field, but they can’t even hold themselves accountable a lot of the time.
With the recent exposure of Robert Kraft being arrested for multiple counts of soliciting “relief” from a day spa in Florida and the precious Panthers owner selling his team over sexual misconduct. I thought I’d take a dive down the rabbit hole to see what other dirt is on the NFL owners.
There are 32 teams in the NFL and 31 billionaire owners with a myriad of screw ups to their names. From actual crimes to just plain douchery, I have compiled the worst things that NFL owners have done (or “not done.”)
Zygi Wilf, Minnesota Vikings
Born in Germany in 1950, Wilf immigrated to the United States in the early 50s. He bought a bunch of rentable housing units with his brother and the rest is history, he became a billionaire real estate developer. Now Zygi has been flushed with controversy, the biggest of which was when a New Jersey court found him liable for break civil racketeering laws and keeping separate accounting books to keep revenue for himself and away from his business partners. The judge concluded that Wilf had used criminal like tactics to defraud his partners and awarded them damages of $84.5 million.
Do you remember when the Vikings new shiny stadium was announced? The beautiful $1 billion steel castle was only constructed due to pressure from the owner on the city. He was threatening to move the team elsewhere unless Minnesota ponied up the money to get the construction going. So not only did he defraud his ex-business partners, he basically conned the state of Minnesota out of almost $1 billion of tax payer’s money.
Dan Snyder, Washington Redskins
I don’t think this name is a surprise addition to the list as he is widely regarded as one of the most hated owners in the NFL mainly due to a long sequence of horrible football related moves. But his conduct away from the field is far from squeaky clean. Can we just mention the name of the team for one? Would it be so big of a deal to just change the name to something that isn’t racist?
Snyder is also notoriously thin-skinned and has preceded to ban multiple Washington media outlets from all Redskin related activities if they don’t show him in a good light. When one reporter went in on him back in 2010, Dave McKenna, he sued him. He’s even gone as far as banning signs in the stadium as many of them were critical of him.
In 2008 and 2009, around the time of the financial crisis, Snyder sued Redskin season ticket holders that couldn’t pay their bills on time. For a billionaire to sue the less fortunate in such a desperate time is a horrible move. The last thing you can peg on Snyder is the Redskins cheerleader scandal where they were asked to pose topless and escort high paying clientele after a photoshoot. Now this might not have anything to do with Snyder, but you have to assume he had some say in it.
Jimmy Haslam, Cleveland Browns
Having bought the team in 2012, for a cool $1 billion, Haslam has preceded to install and rip out a new coach and GM seemingly every other season, ensuring no stability and no success for the franchise. This has made him hated among the fanbase and he’d better hope Kitchens can last and sustain some success in Cleveland.
Ignoring his football mistakes, the man is an actual criminal. Haslam made his fortunes with convenience stores and most of the money was from fuel sales. The FBI found that Pilot Flying J, Haslam’s company, had defrauded customers on gas rebates and ordered them to pay a $92 million fine and reimburse customers $56 million. Honestly I’m not sure which was the worse move, this, or taking advice from a homeless man and drafting Johnny Manziel.
Jim Irsay, Indianapolis Colts
This is just a simple DUI charge back in 2014 but he was also found to be taking pills and eventually went to rehab for it. The NFL took action against Irsay, but this is the type of thing that players in the NFL get taken down for all the time. Maybe owners and players aren’t so different after all.
I can’t single out one owner here for sexual misconduct or allegations as a lot of the owners have been alleged for sexual abuse or misconduct over the years. When you have that much money then people will try to sue you over anything, not to say its false and a lot of the time it’s settled out of court which is a little suspicious to say the least. The one big one that came out was Jerry Rees and the sexual misconduct across the Panthers organisation forcing him to sell the franchise to credit card magnate David Tepper who once had a pair of giant brass testicles in his office.
From Robert Kraft’s alleged spa visits, to Dan Snyder’s cheerleaders being forced to escort rich clients to dinner to Jerry Jones love of strippers and escorts, there are multiple examples of owners not taking the high road when most of them preach that players need to behave themselves better. A little hypocritical.
This was just a short look at the misbehaving’s of billionaires, and I’m not saying I’d be any better with that kind of money and exposure but for the owners to hold the players to such a high standard, they need to look in the mirror a little more and hold themselves to that same standard.
Obviously a lot of things that these rich owners do will likely be covered up or paid off and the public will never hear of them. But when the owners do mess up and get public backlash they rarely face many consequences, fines are nothing but a splash in their oceanic bank accounts and they can always pay off jail sentences with ease.
If I missed anything make sure to leave a comment and discuss who is the worst owner in the NFL!