New Commanders owner Josh Harris. Photo Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports Jul 27, 2023; Ashburn, VA, USA; Washington Commanders owner Josh Harris (R) greets fans while walking to the fields prior to day two of Commanders training camp at OrthoVirginia Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The vitriol toward Daniel Snyder from the Washington Commanders is unlike any we’ve seen in professional sports. Now that he’s no longer the owner of the team, which has been sold to a group led by Josh Harris, Snyder is no longer the problem of a fanbase that had rooted and rooted for him to sell the team.

Even before the toxic workplace allegations came out a few years ago, Snyder was still a persona non grata around those parts. Obviously, the vitriol and hatred towards him only increased from that point on. But according to Commanders’ play-by-play voice Bram Weinstein, you have to look at it his tenure in phases.

Appearing on the most recent episode of the Awful Announcing podcast, Weinstein touched on what the reception’s been like in the DMV area when Snyder was officially ousted from ownership last week. While Weinstein said he was going to be the one in a million who doesn’t have any bad things to say about Snyder, he did acknowledge that this was the right move for the franchise. And something that needed to happen.

“It was an enormous deal and it can’t be understated,” Weinstein told Awful Announcing’s Brandon Contes. “I grew up here, so I’m kind of living a dream job. I get to call the games of the team I love the most. I grew up in the Washington area and went to RFK Stadium as a kid. If listen to the press conference of what they’re calling the managing director and many members of the new ownership group—it’s a very large group—they went through the same thing. They went through a glory day era. They understand that this organization was in a very different and it’s been a long time. There’s been some erosion here of the fanbase. And this is one of the most loyal, passionate fanbases that you will find.

“When I was a kid, when the Redskins won the Super Bowl, they shut down the entire school system in the entire region. The entire school system. Like that’s how this team affects this area. It used to change the mood of the city by wins and losses. And this was a necessary move.”

The Commanders had gotten away from those so-called “glory days” for over two decades now, dating back to when Snyder bought the team in May 1999.

In the early phases of Snyder’s tenure as owner, he had five head coaches in six years and was spending a lot of money like older players, it was all in the name of winning. When Snyder was criticized for hiring and firing both Steve Spurrier and Marty Schottenhimer and making misguided salary cap moves by bringing in veterans like Bruce Smith and Deion Sanders, he was under the impression that this was what the fans wanted.

“The way he looked at it was, ‘I may be making mistakes, but it’s not in the name of not winning,'” Weinstein said.

Over the last 5 to 10 years, that’s changed as Snyder’s mistakes have progressed beyond the football side of things.

“The stories became very different. I think last year, the epitome of it was —and again, I can’t speak for him or what bubble he was in or what he’s paying attention to or not paying attention to—the idea that he would’ve thought he was beloved I think would be preposterous,” Weinstein said.

That became inherently clear when Snyder’s wife, Tanya, a survivor of breast cancer, was booed by the fans at FedEx Field as she appeared on the stadium’s video board during a video regarding breast cancer awareness. Tanya had become the forward face of the franchise by the sanctions that were placed on her husband by the league in the wake of the severe workplace environment allegations and subsequent findings.

“If there ever was a wake-up call for that family, I think it was that moment where she’s being booed for doing something really wonderful for the community,” Weinstein said. “It almost kind of gave you the sense that there really isn’t that much they can do right.”

Washington fans have wanted Snyder and his family out for several years, so perhaps Tanya getting booed this past season was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Of course, there were several other factors at play, including the multiple investigations into the franchise over the toxic workplace environment that existed under Snyder. In any event, the booing seems to have served as a swan song for one of the most unpopular owners in North American sports history.

It needed to happen, and it did. For that, it’s hard for anyone to argue that the franchise won’t be better off with Snyder calling the shots. Obviously, that will be seen in the results, but surely its a breathe of fresh air for a fanbase that couldn’t wait for when the Snyders no longer reigned supreme in Washington, D.C.

“He gave me these jobs and I’ve been around this team for a number of years, but I will say that it’s clear that this a change that was necessary,” Weinstein said. “I don’t know what the future holds for them, but I do think the team is in better hands.”

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.