MIKE BURKE

Allegany Communications Sports

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay could not have been less coy on Tuesday at the NFL owners meeting in New York when he almost volunteered his view on the possibility of Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder being forced by the other owners to sell the team.

“I believe that there’s merit to remove him as owner,” Irsay said, along with, “I think serious consideration has to be given to his removal. I believe it’s in the best interest of the NFL to look it squarely in the eye and deal with it.”

Does Irsay believe there are at least 24 owners willing to vote out Snyder, 24 being the minimum required to oust a member of the exclusive club?

“Potentially there will be,” Irsay said.

When NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was asked later in the day if he was surprised by Irsay’s comments, he flatly responded, “No.”

Everybody who knows or knows of Jim Irsay knows he has always said what is on his mind, often times without having to be asked, dating all the way back to the Colts’ days in Baltimore when, as a team manager and the owner’s son, he would voluntarily apologize to players, coaches and media for many of the idiotic statements and maneuvers made by his father, then-team owner Robert Irsay.

On the day his father put into motion the plan to sneak the Colts out of Baltimore, Jimmy Irsay was said to have openly cried.

So while it should come as no surprise that the current Colts owner would so candidly voice his opinion, this feels like something far more than his being glib. This seems as though Jim Irsay drew the short straw – or in this case, the winning straw – and was initiated by his fellow owners, sans Snyder, of course, to get out there and spread the first drops of blood for the oncoming shark feeding.

Whatever it was, it worked. The media devoured it, along with Goodell’s short “no,” and most folks in the D.C. Metro area went to work Wednesday morning with a little extra hopeful bounce to their step: Maybe now the process to remove this horrible little man who has single-handedly destroyed one of the once-great sports franchises in the world, is finally underway.

And make no mistake about it, Daniel Snyder is a horrible little man, let us count the ways for the umpteenth-thousandth time; so there is nothing new about this. It’s almost a prerequisite to have some mention of horrible on your resume if you are to be admitted to the NFL Owners Club, and Snyder has gone above and beyond almost from the moment he arrived as the Napoleonic young owner with the Redskins belt buckle.

NFL owners don’t oust fellow owners for their teams’ poor on-field performance, so if this is what it looks like it could be, what was the tipping point given Snyder’s long list of misdeeds – the sexual harassment claims, the alleged financial deception, the toxic workplace, or is it the latest reporting by ESPN, which Snyder and the Commanders deny, that Snyder allegedly has an “enemies list” and used private investigators to acquire “dirt” on other owners to prevent an attempt to oust him?

The great Sally Jenkins opined in Wednesday’s Washington Post that if Snyder had a stadium deal in place we wouldn’t be having this discussion despite all of his alleged transgressions and obvious mismanagement of the franchise, which cuts to the skinny of what truly matters the most to NFL owners.

The truth is, Snyder has played Maryland, the District of Columbia and Virginia against each other and, in turn, alienated Virginia and the District, while Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said in March that he would like for the Commanders to stay in Maryland, “But we’re not going to get in a bidding war over them and we’re not going to be proposing $1.2 billion for them to build a new stadium. If Virginia wants to do that and they want to go to Virginia, I would say, ‘good luck.’ “

Virginia has since let it be known that, no, there isn’t a Santa Claus, at least not for Dan Snyder and a new stadium.

Word has it of late that if Jeff Bezos would happen to decide to be the new owner of the Commanders, the RFK Stadium land in D.C. would be back in play for a new Commanders stadium. Which is another reason I feel the federal government has a hand in the latest heat on Snyder, since the land on which RFK exists is federally-owned land.

This franchise has never been the same since it left D.C. which was not Daniel Snyder’s doing, but that of the late Jack Kent Cooke’s.

But not even the feds like Daniel Snyder.

Thus, as our old friend Rick Snider said Wednesday on “Rick Snider’s Washington,” if the NFL owners even call a vote on Snyder’s ownership, that will mean they have the 24 votes to end it.

Mike Burke writes about sports and other stuff for Allegany Communications. He began covering sports for the Prince George’s Sentinel in 1981 and joined the Cumberland Times-News sports staff in 1984, serving as sports editor for over 30 years. Contact him at [email protected] and [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @MikeBurkeMDT