Dick of the Week, Jan. 31 – Feb. 6: Daniel Snyder

8 Feb

This week’s Dick of the Week is Daniel Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins.  Now, I’m not a Redskins fan (thank God), but as a resident of the good city of DC, I can say that it’s difficult to escape the disdain in which Dan Snyder is held by most Washington fans.  Since Snyder purchased the team, the Redskins’ record is a mere 86-106, with only two seasons in which the ‘Skins finished above .500, a futile stretch by any definition.  And while Lions and Bills fans may shake their heads and point to their own teams’ futility, it is important to consider that not only has Snyder failed to bring success to the Redskins’ franchise, he has done so while drastically overspending for overrated free agents like DeAngelo Hall or Albert Haynesworth, only to see these greedy and immature athletes (surprise!) stop giving a shit about football once they start cashing their paychecks.  With 2010’s trade for Donovan McNabb, Redskins fans finally thought that perhaps Snyder had done something right and gotten them the franchise quarterback they so desperately needed; however, McNabb’s subsequent benching demonstrated that, hey, maybe the Eagles knew what they were doing when they traded their starting quarterback within the division.

Snyder’s history of incompetence is well documented, but I’m afraid I don’t want to delve into it here because I don’t want Snyder to, well, sue me.  Besides, the Washington media has covered Snyder for a solid decade now, and they can almost certainly do a better job than I can.  In fact, in November, Washington City Paper writer Dave McKenna wrote an article titled “The Cranky Redskins Fan’s Guide To Dan Snyder.”  The beginning of the article contains the following passage:

“So before we welcome the New Dan Snyder, let’s look back at the one we know. That’s the Dan Snyder who left his mark, or stain, on more than just a football team. That’s the Dan Snyder who got caught forging names as a telemarketer with Snyder Communications, made a great view of the Potomac River for himself by going all Agent Orange on federally protected lands, and lost over $121 million of Bill Gates’ money while selling an “official mattress” while in charge of Six Flags. That’s the Dan Snyder I’ve found to be the most fascinating and consistent man on the planet, responsible for the hilarious and/or heinous deeds outlined in the following pages.”

Yeah, it pretty much goes downhill from there.

Oh, Redskins fans. You are a silly bunch.

One would expect Snyder to take the article for what it is: a tortured Redskins fan expressing his frustration at the team’s lack of success by taking a few potshots at the owner.  Is the article malicious?  Certainly not.  It was almost certainly designed to give unhappy Redskins fans a few laughs, so as to momentarily forget that their multi-million dollar quarterback was sitting on the bench, their starting running back was out for the year, and their record-setting free agent defensive tackle was in a never-ending feud with, oh yes, their overrated coach.  Of course, that isn’t all Dan Snyder’s fault–but can you really fault Redskins fans for taking out a little anger with some (very funny) creative writing?

Dan Snyder sure can!

Indeed, Snyder’s attorney wrote a letter to the Washington City Paper essentially demanding that Dave McKenna be fired, or else legal action would be taken.  If you’d like a few laughs, you can read the letter itself here.

If you didn’t read the letter, Snyder’s attorney essentially states that McKenna made false allegations regarding Snyder’s alleged past transgressions (such as allegedly forging names as a telemarketer–Snyder really seemed to have a problem with that one), and that he has a history of negative coverage of the Redskins (which should be understandable since the Redskins’ record has been…you know…negative).  But the most laughable part of the letter comes when the lawyer essentially accuses McKenna of being “anti-Semitic.”  What evidence, you ask, do Snyder’s people produce to back up this claim?

This picture:

I...uh...no offense, but that accusation itself might reflect some anti-Semitism.

Is…is that picture anti-Semitic?  It’s certainly not flattering…but (and I’m just GUESSING, here) it looks to me like McKenna is, I don’t know, saying that Dan Snyder is the DEVIL.  Which I guess says something about our society that individuals like Dan Snyder are more worried about being portrayed as “stereotypical” Jews than they are about being portrayed as THE FUCKING DEVIL.  Granted, I’m not Jewish, so my grasp of Jewish persecution is tenuous at best, but…come on, it seems pretty Goddamn cut and dry in this case.

So, Dan Snyder has unbelievably thin skin.  We get that.  He also clearly has a tremendous lack of self-awareness, or he would realize the Dave McKenna’s article perfectly reflects how the majority of Redskins fans feel.  That lack of self-awareness has led many to point out that, by threatening a lawsuit, Snyder has entered a public relations battle that he has absolutely NO hope of winning.  In fact, one Washington Post writer even points out that the lawsuit may have even more damaging unintended consequences: the Redskins, who had been hoping to move their team offices back into DC, may find themselves continuing to be stranded outside the city.  Is it the end of the world?  No.  But it’s just one more inconvenience unwittingly foisted on the Redskins by their owner.

Oh, wait a minute.  Have I been saying that Snyder was threatening to sue?  My mistake!  As of February 2nd, Dan Snyder actually sued the Washington City Paper, digging himself even deeper into a hole of his own creation.  The media outrage has been swift and, in a word, hilarious.  The good people at Deadspin have started a feature called “We Are All Dave McKenna,” which will run every day until, in their words, “Snyder’s dumbass lawsuit gets thrown out of court.” We’ve got to respect that.  And while we don’t have the readership to make a daily feature worthwhile, we will follow their example and direct you to the Washington City Paper Legal Defense Fund, where readers can make a donation to the legal defense of the Washington City Paper.  Because I think we can all agree that our right to criticize the idiots in charge of our favorite sports teams is INALIENABLE!  Also, “freedom of the press,” or something.

Bill of Rights whatever, just shut up and let me criticize Jeremy Jacobs.

Snyder is a fool.  I say that not as a football fan criticizing his performance as owner, but as a human being criticizing whatever thought process went into this lawsuit.  When your team performs as badly as the Redskins have for the last ten years, the owner of the team is almost certainly going to take heat.  The fact that Daniel Snyder has made himself a public figure as a result of his aggressive personality and nonstop meddling in Redskins personnel decisions makes it even more certain that he will find himself in the line of fire, and often.

The story of Dan Snyder honestly makes me sad, because Snyder seems like one of us.  He made his fortune relatively young and decided to buy a football team, something that any of us would love to do.  The man has lived the dream.  But for Redskins fans, Dan Snyder’s dream has turned into their nightmare, as their rich, young, optimistic owner has turned into a hypersensitive bully, unable or unwilling to hear a negative word about his performance.  Snyder’s lawsuit will almost certainly be thrown out, but it has already told us more about how big of a dick Dan Snyder is than we honestly would have cared to know.

Honorable Mention:

Charlie Sheen: Honestly, I’m giving Charlie Sheen an honorable mention for no particular reason this week.  None at all.  It’s just…we haven’t really mentioned Charlie Sheen yet, and that is wrong.  Charlie Sheen is one of the biggest dicks in the entire world, and he manages to live a life that the rest of us would bomb a children’s hospital to live.  A short time ago, the man was hospitalized after a two-day coke bender spent partying with five porn stars.  That doesn’t even make him a dick, that just…Goddammit, Sheen!  We might just have to give him an honorary Mel Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award.

Hero of the Week:

This is a feature that I have not done before, but I’ll be damned if I’m not giving it out this week to a real, true hero.

Paul Haggis: No doubt none of you have ever heard of Paul Haggis.  Haggis was a top level Scientologist who became disenchanted with the “Church.”  He left Scientology and helped the New Yorker write a lengthy and comprehensive exposé on its devious practices.  That exposé is now available for all to read, and we recommend that you do.  Our distaste for Scientology is well documented in previous posts, and we firmly believe in the notion that the more you know about cults, the less likely you are to be brainwashed by them.  Enjoy the article; you probably have only a limited time in which to do so before the Church of Scientology sues them and forces its removal.

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