A few months ago, Washington Redskins owner and textbook asshole Dan Snyder filed a libel suit against Dave McKenna of Washington’s City Paper for this A-to-Z guide to why Dan Snyder is,…well…, a textbook asshole. Why anyone on the eastern seaboard, or the U.S. in general, would give this guy a dime of their money is beyond me. Some highlights:
“Bankrupt Airline Peanuts: What Snyder was selling to fans at FedExField. During the 2006 season, vendors offered shelled nuts in royal blue and white 5 oz. bags adorned with the Independence Air logo. Problem: The airline had gone under about a year earlier. The supplier told Washington City Paper that it stopped shipping the airline’s nuts “before Independence Air went out of business.” A spokesman for the Peanut Council told City Paper that to prevent rancidity, the recommended shelf life of a foil bag of out-of-shell peanuts was “about three months.”
“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.
“Knott, Rene: D.C. sportscaster who in 2000 was forced to do live reports from the Redskins Park parking lot while peers filmed inside the practice facility. Knott’s employer, WJLA-TV, was the only local network affiliate that did not pay Snyder to become a “media partner” of the team.
“Labor Laws: Something Snyder has had trouble with. In 2006, Snyder was sued by a former nanny, Juliette Mendonca, who told a Montgomery County court that when she pointed out she was being shortchanged and asked for proper recompense, Snyder screamed, “I pay you more than my Redskins Park people! I can’t afford to pay you like this!” The court ordered Snyder to pay Mendonca $44,880. In 2008, Snyder faced a lawsuit from a group of FedExField ticket office employees who weren’t being paid for extra hours. The team argued that the Redskins ticket office wasn’t covered by standard overtime laws, citing a 1932 exemption for “amusement and recreation employees” in the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. The exemption, however, was meant to cover lifeguards and greenskeepers, not office employees. Snyder settled the suit with the employees earlier this year. James Rubin, a Montgomery County attorney who represented the ticket sellers, says that he was shocked to learn during the case that Snyder now requires all employees to sign a document waiving their right to sue him “as a condition of employment.”
“Market Segments: How Snyder viewed cancer patients and diabetics during his marketing days. In a 2000 interview for a PBS show called CEO Exchange, Snyder told host Jeff Greenfield that his business depended on coming up with “$5 million niches” that he could sell goods and services to. Asked for examples of his methodology, Snyder said, “We were looking at trend lines. We saw that the aging baby boomer demographics were coming on strong. That meant there’s going to be a lot more diabetic patients, a lot more cancer patients, etc. How do we capture those market segments?”
“Official Mattress of Six Flags: Anatomic Global. Over time, Snyder had shown his sponsorship mania by inking deals that gave Six Flags an official mayonnaise and the Redskins an official carpet installer. In June 2009, weeks after the theme park chain filed for bankruptcy, Snyder signed a deal for an official mattress. In the few months before his removal from the board, Snyder actually started selling the mattresses at his theme parks ($1,299 for a queen size).
“Pentagon Flag Hat: A Redskins cap sold for profit by Snyder to “commemorate September 11” in time for the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Ads boasted that the $23.99 caps, really just black Redskins hats with a red, white, and blue Pentagon sewn on the side, were “expected to be worn by the Redskins coaches.” No other NFL team put 9/11 commemorative products for sale during the 2006 season, for profit or otherwise. Snyder had previously added a $4 “security surcharge” to the ticket prices soon after the attacks.
“Ringing Endorsement”: What Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen gave ex-Broncos coach Mike Shanahan during private conversations with Snyder last year. Bowlen had fired Shanahan after the 2008 season with three years remaining on a massive contract. With Bowlen’s blessing, Snyder hired Shanahan, thereby taking Bowlen off the hook for about $7 million of the money that was still owed on his contract.
“Several Million Dollars”: Amount Snyder was paid by StubHub as part of the Redskins’ 2008 deal with the online ticket clearinghouse, according to StubHub spokesman Sean Pate. At the time, Snyder had been taking tickets away from season ticketholders for violating team’s policy against reselling tickets. The Washington Times reported that the team even repossessed six tickets from the Braloves, a D.C. family that had had them “since the 1940s,” after Redskins detectives found that they’d put some tickets up for sale on eBay.
“Smith, Bruce, Rear End Of: The only thing fans who bought the first run of Snyder’s Dream Seats had a great look at. Before the 2000 season, Snyder installed 1,488 field level seats at FedExField. To that point in football history, the front rows were regarded as the worst vantage point in a stadium, since the players on the sideline block the view, and were priced accordingly. Snyder charged $3,000 per Dream Seat.”
The McKenna / City Paper Legal Defense Fund:
“Whatever we raise will be used to pay our legal costs, and whatever we don’t spend fighting Snyder’s lawsuit, we’ll give to a local charity in the spirit of this fund. This is about showing Snyder you support our right—and anyone’s right—to write the truth about him, or any powerful public figure, even if it’s not flattering.
“Please don’t send us money you can’t afford to spare; we know what the economy is like, and we value your moral support just as much as your financial support. City Paper is not a non-profit organization, which means contributions to our legal defense fund are not charitable donations and are not tax-exempt for federal, state, or D.C. income tax purposes.”