In this tumultuous time, with unrest in the Middle East, never-ending bickering over a healthcare plan already signed into law, and weather-related hysteria, Washington has a local businessman to thank.
Yes, thank you, Dan Snyder, for providing some comic relief during a very sobering period, and for offering yourself up as a unifying force, a man who can draw ire and ridicule from everyone, regardless of political affiliation or ability to drive in the snow.
Snyder is suing the Washington City Paper for printing (several months ago) an article that summed up, albeit in a rather mocking and unkind manner, all the reasons Washington Redskins fan dislike the controversial owner. It wasn’t a news story—and not only because it’s not really news that many Washingtonians see Snyder as arrogant, petulant, greedy, and unable to assemble a winning team. It was essentially a column that chronicled Snyder’s low points, accompanied by a cover image of Snyder, defaced to include the standby devil graffiti of a beard, a mustache, and horns. [Check out a roundup of this month's best political cartoons.]
What’s baffling is Snyder’s apparent inability to recognize that the very existence of the lawsuit buttresses the theme of the article.
This is a man whose organization sued a financially distressed grandmother (along with others) when they could not pay for their season tickets as prescribed in their contracts. This is a man who charged fans for watching team practices and put restrictions on tailgating.
Snyder is a wealthy man. Can he not afford a public relations consultant? He’s becoming the Christine O’Donnell of the professional sports world, managing to make himself look more foolish in defending himself. What will he do next? Broadcast an ad in which he says, "I am not the Devil?" [The Year in Pictures: 2010.]
The remarkable thing is, he floated a trial balloon and still tried to keep it afloat after it popped. The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that Snyder was considering a lawsuit. The result was to direct more people and more attention to an unflattering story in the alternative weekly, and to provoke a new round of public criticism of Snyder. That was his hint to drop it, and he didn’t.
If Snyder is so arrogant to believe the suit is a justifiable move, then the defense can rest. And if he’s offering himself up to public ridicule to take our minds off of political unrest, a brutal winter, and a lackluster professional football franchise, I’ll be the first to offer my compliments. Brilliant, Dan.