Media and entertainment mogul Byron Allen doesn’t seem to stop. Allen is already one of the most successful Black entrepreneurs in the country. Now he’s reportedly trying to add becoming the first Black person to be a majority owner of an NFL franchise to his list of accomplishments.
Journalist Kamaron Leach broke the news that Allen was assembling a group of investors to put in a bid to purchase the Washington Commanders on Twitter Wednesday, Nov. 2.
Leach tweeted a link to his article with the caption, “#scoop: media mogul Byron Allen (@realbyronallen) is said to be readying a bid for Dan Snyder’s Washington @Commanders in what would be his second attempt this year to buy an NFL team.”
According to Leach, people familiar with the matter spoke on condition of anonymity because the business dealings are confidential.
“Allen is working with an investor group, according to people familiar with his ambitions who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private,” Leach wrote.
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“NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft came to me in November of 2019 and asked me to take a good look at buying an NFL team,” Allen said at the time. “And after serious consideration, I strongly believe I can effectuate positive changes throughout the league. And for that reason, I will be making a bid for the Denver Broncos.”
The Broncos were eventually purchased by the Walton-Penner family, heirs to the Walmart fortune.
The news about Allen’s alleged bid comes the same day the Washington Commanders released a statement that owners Dan and Tanya Snyder “hired BofA Securities to consider potential transactions.”
While the statement did not specify what types of transactions and further noted, “The Snyders remain committed to the team,” many believe it is time for Snyder to move on.
He is currently under investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Eastern District of Virginia for deceptive business practices.
Snyder was also accused of sexual assault and cultivating an unhealthy and hostile work culture within the Washington Commanders organization.
According to ESPN, Attorneys Lisa Banks and Debra Katz represent more than 40 former franchise employees. They said the announcement was “a good development.”
“Today’s news that Dan and Tanya Snyder are exploring selling the Washington Commanders is a good development for the team, its former and current employees, and its many fans,” Banks and Katz said in a statement. “We will have to see how this unfolds, but this could obviously be a big step towards healing and closure for the many brave women and men who came forward.”
In October, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said there was “merit to remove” Snyder as the Commanders owner.
“It’s something we have to review, we have to look at all the evidence and we have to be thorough, and it’s something that has to be given serious consideration,” Irsay said. “I believe in the workplace today, the standard that the shield stands for in the NFL, that you have to stand for that and protect that. I just think once owners talk among each other they will arrive at the right decision. Unfortunately, I believe that’s the road we probably need to go down and we just need to finish the investigation, but it’s gravely concerning to me the things that have occurred there over the last 20 years.”
Sports analyst Stephen A. Smith said if Snyder does sell the Washington Commanders, this would be the optimal time for the NFL to get its first Black majority owner.
“It’s time for Black ownership. … I’m talking about a majority owner of a National Football League franchise that happens to be a Black person. That would be nice,” Smith said during a segment on ESPN.
“One of the things that we have discussed and lamented throughout recent history is the lack of representation, the lack of diversity when it comes to the ownership group,” Smith continued. “Maybe if there were Black owners, more issues would be addressed more poignantly; more transparency would exist. Obviously, more coaches would be of African American descent and beyond; and so I look at this an opportunity to ingratiate an African American into the proceedings.”
If successful, Allen would make history. However, he has not commented on the validity of the report.
Byron Allen, June 12, 2017. (Photo by Eric Charbonneau/Invision for Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures/AP Images)
Washington Commanders’ Dan Snyder poses for photos during an event to unveil the NFL football team’s new identity, Feb. 2, 2022, in Landover, Md. Part or all of the NFL’s Washington Commanders could soon be for sale, after owners Dan and Tanya Snyder said they have hired Bank of America Securities to “consider potential transactions.” The team announced the surprising decision Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)