February 02, 2011
Proving that a thin skin can be added to his list of many failings, Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder is trying to get a newspaper reporter fired for printing a critical article about him last November. [See update at bottom of the post.]
According to The Washington Post, Snyder's lawyers are seeking the dismissal of Dave McKenna, a writer for the Washington City Paper, who authored a lengthy piece on Snyder's countless debacles since taking over the Redskins in 1999. A lawsuit against City Paper's owners for defamation is being considered but has not been filed.
The City Paper published McKenna's "Cranky Redskins Fans Guide to Dan Snyder" in November. It was an encyclopedic A-Z look at Snyder's "many failings" and featured a picture of him with penciled on devil horns and goatee. McKenna chronicled most of Snyder's missteps, most of which already were on the public record. This piece wasn't reporting as much as it was collecting.
It's not the writer who coined the phrase "Dan-Jazeera" to refer to a Snyder-owned radio station or called Snyder the "sports jerk of the year" or paid excessive money to Jeff George, Jim Zorn, Deion Sanders and Donovan McNabb(notes). Why is McKenna the target for rehashing past incidents? If Snyder really wants to channel his frustration, he should try standing in front of a mirror. A majority of the entries in the anti-Snyder encyclopedia are directly about decisions the owner himself has made (like the time he cut down trees on his estate to get a better view of the Potomac River.) The others are reactions to said decisions. (The "Dumb and Dumber" entry, for instance, which was a nickname given to Snyder and his right-hand man, Vinny Cerrato.)
It should go without saying that Snyder is in the wrong and comes across as an impotent fool in this situation. No matter McKenna's motives, what's Snyder's best-case scenario here?
The saddest thign of all is that, as a Redskins fan, this incident doesn't change my opinion of Dan Snyder one bit. We've known for years he's thin-skinned and can't take criticism. That's why he surrounds himself with yes men and once demanded that all negative signs be banned from FedEx Field. And we already know he can be petty and vindictive. Years of personnel decisions and stories about aggrieved season-ticket holders blew the lid off that well before McKenna's piece.
All this does is confirm that Snyder has learned next to nothing in his 12 years as Redskins owner. He still doesn't know how to work with the media (suing a journalist is sure to please all the other reporters at Redskins Park), he has no self awareness (a rich guy stomping on the little guy never looks good) and he never sees the big picture (now everybody is going to read that long-forgotten article).
The good news for McKenna and City Paper is that if Snyder's past is any indication, this lawsuit will fail. Dan Snyder is like the bizarro King Midas. Everything he touches falls to pieces.
Update: Snyder's people insist they're not calling for McKenna's termination. In a three-page letter written in November, Snyder's lawyer accuses the City Paper of anti-Semitism and libel for McKenna's piece, namely from an accusation that Snyder forged names while working as a telemarketer. The City Paper stood behind the writer. A lawsuit is expected to be filed on Thursday.
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