The New Dan Snyder

Dan Snyder, the owner of a certain Washington based NFL football team that has a racist nickname, is threatening to sue a paper for an article posted if the author is not fired.  What’s funny is that the article is not that inflammatory.  While it is childish, it’s not any worse than anything written about any other owner of a struggling once proud team that is a national laughingstock (see Oakland Raiders, Toronto Maple Leafs, Buffalo Bills, Detroit Lions, Pittsburgh Pirates, or the USC athletic department).  There isn’t even anything that personal in there.

Here are some of my favorite bits

Fan Appreciation Day: Gimmick used in 2006 by Snyder to draw people to FedExField, where he charged $25 to park to watch the team scrimmage and hear an address from Vinny Cerrato. The parking charge was not mentioned in the advertisements the team produced for the event.

Hill, Pat: Down-on-her-luck 73-year-old grandmother—and five-decade Redskins season-ticketholder—who was sued by the Redskins in 2009 because she could not afford to keep up payments on the 10-year, $50,000-plus club seats contract she’d signed.

Kennedy, Robert F.: Namesake for the former Redskins stadium—and current “party deck” at FedExField. Tickets to this standing-room only section cost $152.50 and include access to a cigar bar and a Hooters, among other come-ons. Snyder dropped “RFK” from the marketing pitch after Kennedy family announced its displeasure in Washington City Paper.

Redskins Unfiltered: Feature on designed to “offer fans an a la carte menu of information,” as Snyder told The New York Times in 2006. In practice, Unfiltered was mainly used to rebut everything written about the team by The Washington Post. Immediately after the Post ran a story that mentioned players eating “fast food” at Redskins Park, for example, Snyder staffer Larry Michael produced a long video in which team employees testified that Baja Fresh was NOT fast food. Unfiltered came back to haunt management when players used its video as evidence in a union grievance over “contact drills” during voluntary workouts. “You know how we caught them?” said NFLPA chief Gene Upshaw. “We saw it on their Web site.”

Vanilla: Flavor of ice cream that Snyder left to thaw in defensive coordinator Mike Nolan’s office TWICE in one season to let the coach know the owner felt his schemes were simplistic, or vanilla. John Feinstein wrote that Snyder’s second delivery, after a loss to Dallas, consisted of “three giant canisters of melting 31 Flavors ice cream” and a note that said “I do not like vanilla.”

Even the Washington Post has gotten sucked into this one.

According to several people with direct knowledge of the situation, Snyder’s attorneys contacted The Post last week and asked the newspaper to preserve e-mails between Post sports blogger Dan Steinberg and McKenna.

The attorneys said they intend to explore whether there was any agreement between McKenna and Steinberg to cross-promote McKenna’s pieces on Snyder. Steinberg routinely links to sports content across the Web.

McKenna and Steinberg are former neighbors and longtime friends, a fact disclosed by Steinberg when he linked to McKenna’s City Paper article on Steinberg’s D.C. Sports Bog blog in November. At the time, Steinberg called McKenna’s article "an encyclopedic takedown of Snyder’s decade of Redskins ownership, with just about all the horror stories gathered in one place."

McKenna, in turn, occasionally mentions Steinberg’s work in his City Paper columns and blog postings, referring to him as "the Great Dan Steinberg."

Steinberg declined to comment Tuesday, as did The Post.

Dan Snyder continues to be the most tone deaf owner in the NFL who has managed to turn a frivolous sports rant into a national story bringing attention to how inept he is.  If I was the defense attorney, I would just point to Dan Snyder’s record as the owner of the team, toss a couple of years of sports stories from the Washington Post, some game film of Jeff George playing and Steve Spurrier coaching and say, “I rest my case”.

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