By: Hannah Beck
The Washington Football Team announced on Tuesday morning that Tanya Snyder, wife of Dan Snyder (the current owner and CEO of the team), would be joining Dan Snyder as co-CEO. She is already a co-owner of the professional football team with her husband, and has been heavily involved with the team since Snyder bought it in 1999. Tanya has been a huge component of the team’s charitable work since 1999, and has also been involved in many league actions. Additionally, Tanya helped establish the NFL’s Think Pink campaign after she fought breast cancer. With the team currently rebranding themselves, appointing Tanya as co-CEO will be a great help.
The team has been somewhat nameless for a year or so, but plans to have an official team name for the 2022 season. Currently, the team is going by the title “the Washington Football Team,” after deciding to change their name due to their previous title’s racially insensitive roots. The team is also working to move on from sexual misconduct allegations brought forth from team cheerleaders. Both of these incidents have given the team a chance to re-establish themselves in the league, and Tanya is determined to help. Coming up with more charitable opportunities and new team values and standards, The Washington Football Team has a positive, new face with Tanya Snyder.
The announcement was met with mixed reviews, as the public is well aware of the scandals the team has faced in the past. Some fans feel that the team appointing Tanya is just a publicity stunt. Many think that the team is using Tanya’s positive reputation within the league, and the fact that she is a female, as a way to bounce back from the team’s negative press. Regardless, this is still a fantastic feat for women in sports. Tanya Snyder joins only two other women who have held positions of this caliber in the NFL–Amy Trask of the Los Angeles Raiders and Kim Pegula of the Buffalo Bills.
While finding women involved in professional football, and in the sports world at large, is now more common than it once was, women holding this much power in a sports setting is still a rarity. There are thirty two NFL teams, some with more than one owner. This means that these three women only make up roughly 9% of league owners. This low number–coupled with the fact that many believe Tanya’s promotion to co-CEO was for positive press, rather than due to her extensive knowledge of football and long standing involvement in the league–demonstrate how much room for growth there is in the football community for women’s involvement.
While I think that the promotion is based on Tanya’s long-standing action and work within the community, many believe otherwise. Despite the reason she was appointed co-CEO, it’s fantastic to see a woman hold such power in a male-dominated field. Breaking into the sports world is incredibly hard for anyone–player, team owner, or manager– and it is 10 times harder to do so as a woman. The public constantly questions if women know enough to be qualified to hold their position in the sports industry. Tanya Snyder’s promotion to co-CEO is a great step forward for women in sports, and especially women in football.
The involvement of women in football–from 49ers coach Katie Sowers, who was the first woman to appear in a Super Bowl, to Tanya Synder–these women are showing young girls who have an interest in sports that it is possible to break through barriers. These women prove that it is possible to become a powerful woman within the league. Hopefully, Tonya Snyder can help the Washington Football Team combat their negative press and rebrand themself as a winning, socially forward, and gender inclusive team.