Killing the Message Why Dan Snyder is checking fans for seditious materials.

Take-Away Ratio: Snyder haters commit costly turnovers at gate.
Courtesy David Alperin

David Alperin has only one paper plate left.

After watching the Redskins lose and lose ugly for years, Alperin wanted to make a statement about the mismanagement of his favorite sports team. Every fellow season ticketholder he knew wanted to make the same statement.

So Alperin spent hours decorating plates with a photo of Dan Snyder’s face and a red circle and line through the middle, or what he understood to be the international symbol for “Snyder Sucks!” He also painted a two-by-three-foot paper sign that said love the redskins. hate the owner!

He took stacks of the plates and the rolled-up sign with him to the Redskins game versus Tampa Bay. In the FedExField parking lots before kickoff, he was pleased, but not surprised, by the reaction his artwork received. The grounds were full of like-minded folks, many of whom had also brought their own handiworks to rail against the state of the franchise.

These were folks who loved the Redskins but no longer had a shred of goodwill toward Snyder. This was the day he’d been building toward ever since he took over the team in 1999, and, as quickly as he could, put in place things like $10 admission charges and $10 parking fees for training camp, both unprecedented. And it’s been going downhill ever since. The folks who bothered going to FedExField to see the lowly Skins play the lowlier Bucs were united in their belief that Snyder was no good for the team or the fans.

“I gave away all of my plates,” Alperin says. “If I’d have made 1,000, I could have given away 1,000. Everybody wanted one. Everybody loved them.”

The security staff at the stadium gates, however, wasn’t so receptive. Guards took the plates from Alperin as he tried to enter. They told him he would have to throw his poster in the garbage, too.

The night before the game, Alperin had checked the stadium rules posted on Snyder’s own Web site, redskins.com, to make sure that his agitprop props were within bounds—signs were permitted, so long as they weren’t mounted on poles and didn’t contain any profane or vulgar language.

But those rules no longer applied.

“I said I knew what the rules were,” Alperin says. “The guards told me, ‘We changed the rules last night!’ The security supervisor was walking up and down and was directing all the guards in the security lines to grab the signs and was very vigorous about grabbing all the signage. I don’t think any of the plates I gave away made it inside the stadium.”

Alperin saw his plates and poster thrown in trash piles at the entrances, which were full of decorated paper bags and signs and all sorts of other anti-Snyder paraphernalia made by other fans. The buzz everybody had felt in the parking lot was killed; Prague Spring for Redskins fans had been crushed by the ownership’s heavy-handed tactics.

“If the Redskins had announced a new policy about signs a week earlier, I would not have been happy about it, but I could have lived with it,” he says. “I’m a native Washingtonian, been a Redskins fan my whole life. Now, I’m very frustrated and just wanted to express my opinion, and that was denied.”

Faraji Rosenthall had a paper bag that he intended to wear on his head taken at the gate. Rosenthall, an Alexandria native and lifelong Skins fan, says he decided to take a stand against Snyder after hearing about the bag-wearing campaign organized by sports-talk station WJFK-FM.

Rosenthall thinks whatever short-term gains the Redskins owner achieved by stifling criticism that day will be poleaxed over the long run by all the bad will his Sedition Acts have incited.

“I’m fascinated by how much anger there is towards Dan Snyder now,” Rosenthall says. “His organization is so poorly run, and he does so many things that are ass-backwards, like [confiscating] the bags. As a lawyer, I felt that he probably had the right to do that, to regulate what comes in as he did, being the owner of a private facility. So I didn’t argue, I just threw away the bag. But it just seemed so petty and small, so unnecessary. The backlash against him now is amazing. I was talking to my friends about this, and none of us could come up with anybody who’s even close to being hated as much as he is in D.C. You can’t even name a politician who comes close! That’s mind-boggling for this town.”

Redskins spokesman Karl Swanson did not respond to questions about the changes in FedExField’s sign policy.

Maggie Cameron is among those now trying to foment the hate. Cameron went to the Tampa Bay game wearing a T-shirt she made that said sell the team dan, and she says she was mobbed by like-minded fans asking for a shirt of their own. A photo of her in the shirt made Dan Steinberg’s D.C. Sports Bog at washingtonpost.com a day later. But the photo of Cameron disappeared from the blog after publication, along with other shots of civilly disobedient fans, and there was no explanation on the Post site for the disappearance. Steinberg declined to discuss the situation. Matt Vita, sports editor of the Washington Post, explains that the pictures of Cameron and the others were removed at the request of the Redskins.

“The Redskins said [Steinberg] was in violation of his credentials for taking the photographs,” Vita says. “We honored that request, because at the end of the day, they control access to their facility.”

Steinberg has over the years published photos taken at Redskins games using the exact same press pass, such as one featuring Alex Ovechkin at FedExField, without any complaints from the team or requests to have the pictures removed.

Cameron says she previously wore Skins jerseys to games. “My closet is organized by color,” she says, “and I have a huge burgundy-and-gold section.” But she admits loving the celebrity that the anti-Snyder shirt has given her at the stadium. She’s set up a Web site, selltheteamdan.com, to promote owner-bashing. The censorship of the bags, posters, and (mainly) her photo motivated her to produce copies of the shirt, and to plan an anti-Snyder rally at FedExField before the Skins–Eagles game on Monday night.

“What Dan Snyder did needs to be talked about,” she says. “This was fascist. So we’re doing something. We’re going to give away shirts. And if he tries banning this shirt, we’ll come up with another one. This isn’t going to end soon.”

When Alperin got home from the Tampa Bay game, he found a plate with Snyder’s face crossed out floating in an otherwise-empty cooler. That’s the only one left, he says, and he’s holding on to it to remind him of the anger he felt when the guards threw away his handiwork.

That anger will survive beyond even the Redskins turning things around and winning, should such a day ever come.

“What [Snyder] did was very cowardly,” Alperin says. “If he had allowed myself and other fans to vent, this would have eventually disappeared. Now? I don’t think it will. Now I’m more livid about the change in policy and the way this was handled than I was about the play of the team. We all know this was about the message, not the medium.”

 

Read Cheap Seats Daily every weekday morning at washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/citydesk.

Our Readers Say

There is only one way to demonstrate your dissatisfaction. Don't go to the games. Don't pay for the parking. Don't but the food and souvenirs. Buy nothing with a Redskin logo. If you continue to put money in his coffers, why will Dan Snyder change?
Snyder's a pig who needs his fat ass whupped.
Snyder and the name have to go.
deangold is absolutely right. snyder only understands money. you not only need to stop going to the games, you need to stop buying the season tickets. too. Dan needs the revenue from the team because his other ventgures (Six Flags, I think) are in trouble. Not buying the tickets will be tough, i know. but only when the revenue stream dries up will things change. and the change will be that dan sells the team because he'll need the money. meanwhile, it will have to be a couple of dark seasons.
All well and good but if the revenue dried up for The Dan it would hurt a lot of working people along the way.

I mean it could be worse, right? We could live in Kansas City - oh, never mind.
I wish someone would sucker punch that douche bag Snyder. He's a cancer in a already dying organization.
Is there ANY wonder why he's the most hated figure in DC sports history?

He's more hated than that self admitted bigot George Preston Marshall and he was a douche of grand proportions.

He's more hated than Peter Angelos and he's an all time prick and fellow loser.

If Angelos and $nyder were both dying and you could save only ONE, which one would it be?
"If Angelos and $nyder were both dying and you could save only ONE, which one would it be?"

I wouldn't save either. Why keep the devil on hold?
“The Redskins said [Steinberg] was in violation of his credentials for taking the photographs,” Vita says. “We honored that request, because at the end of the day, they control access to their facility.”

The Post, which once stood up to Richard Nixon and was the envy of the nation, hasn't had any balls since Katie Graham stepped down. And this spineless exhibition proves it is as anatomically incomplete as a Ken doll. Gutless, shameless, and worthless.
BOYCOTT SHORT MAN! Spread the word! These two games seem the best bets to send Short Man and more importantly the NFL and his investors a message. This will also give time for the momentum to build.

Saints at Jack Kent Cooke Stadium - December 6th - likely to be boring game as New Orleans walks all over those people Short Man has assembled to wear Redskins uniforms.

Dallas at Jack Kent Cooke Stadium on the 27th - s'it on a shingle - Jack Kent Cooke rumored to be planning grave rollover!


Deangold has it right. The only way to deal with Snyder (aka Short Man) quickly and effectively is to loudly call for a complete boycott immediately. The faster it is done the less impact it will have on those whose incomes are dependent on the team.

Short Man is upside down, on the ropes financially , which is what all this desperation around cash is about. Short Man is leveraged to the hilt. His mismanagement and misadventures have finally caught up with him. He was always somewhat a product of his own publicity releases but everything he has touched has turned to dust. The only thing that he has left that is not of negative value is the Redskins and that is arguable.

The value of the Redskins has always been enhanced by and predicated on the loyalty of the fan base. The louder and more effectively the fans protest the more the value of the team declines (which it has already) and the more nervous the other NFL owners and Shortie's investors become. Trust me, he is hanging on by the thinnest of threads now as everyday the value of the franchise declines.

Withholding resources immediately (don't buy so much as a hot dog and make those that do think twice about doing it again) combined with a final symbolic vote of no confidence (vote with your arse, keep it at home on boycott day) will compel his masters to show Short Man the door.

I'd recommend the Saints on the 6th except Tom Benson, the Saints owner is a nice guy, a philanthropist and has responded to and shown respect for his fans, wow who here remembers when that happened. In short everything that Short Man is not (beginning with being actually wealthy and not a shell game). Oh, and Mr. Benson is tall.

So we have a plan!

DON'T SPEND A DIME AT FEDEX FIELD!
ABSOLUTE BOYCOTT DECEMBER 27th!
deangold has the right idea: I'm paying no more money to that organization, and I can get my NFL fix elsewhere. I've become a Ravens fan for the duration of the Snyder regime. And I'm sad about that, because I grew up loving the Redskins. But eventually the relationship soured. The owner treats his team's fans horribly. So he, and his team, no longer deserve fans' loyalty. Or our cash.
I believe Synder wants to win. More importantly, he wants to win and be the one calling the shots. He knows how to make money. He does not know football. This puts us in a very bad situation. What compunds this is the man is a ass. He does not like people, and people don't like him. He walks around like he is a head of state. Why can't he hire a GM and disappear? My friends that is not going to happen. We are going to get more of the same. We had it so good for so long with a good owner. Now we have a bad one.
Dan Snyder and his henchmen are to Redskin fans as a wolf pack is to a flock of sheep.
Why are people paying to go to games to protest?! Spending their money on tshirts, posters, etc for them to only be thrown away?! The only thing millionaires understand is MONEY! Dont spend your money going to the games or buying the paraphernalia! Period!

Both Snyder and Fenty need to be run out of town! Two inexperienced people in positions of power! Scary!
the anti-dan movement needs a theme song...may i suggest beausoleil's "The Problem," from the album "Alligator Purse".

while it was written post-katrina with dubya in mind, i think the chorus says it all:

"the man in charge has got to go"
WE CAN ALL CHANT "DAN MUST GO!" OR "WE MISS JACK!" AT KICKOFF FOR THE FIRST 10 MINUTES OF THE GAME TONIGHT...NATIONAL COVERAGE...I WON'T BE ABLE TO RESIST...
Can we PLEASE stop using the phrase 'Dan Snyder wants to win'. I hear it from the 'talking heads' on both tv and radio and nothing could be further from the truth. The Danny doesn't want to win, he wants to win HIS WAY, with his ass backwards methodology of running the show from behind the curtain with Vinny and Karl and the other cronies doing his bidding instead of hiring a competent FO staff and letting them do their jobs. If that happens, then HE doesn't get the glory to feed his ego.

No one who wants to win goes about it like this...
congrats to u and dan steinberg for exposing snyder as a NAZI.

I was able to smuggle 3 bags past the FEDEX field security when i entered the stadium mon nite

i had one bag confiscated from me (in my seat) at halftime...the 2nd bag was taken from me in the 3rd quarter as i was walking the concourse...and the 3rd bag was ripped from my head by a member of the FEDEX field GOON SQUAD.... as i exited the stadium... as that woeful game ended.

my brown bags had eye holes poker out...and read....FIRE CERRATO....ASHAMED SKINS FAN...etc.
DAN SNYDER IS A DOUCHE! IN EVERY SENSE OF THE WORD. I CAN ONLY HOPE AND PRAY THAT HE GOES BANKRUPT. HE HAS ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA HOW TO RUN A FOOTBALL TEAM. UH, THAT'S WHY EVERY OTHER OWNER HIRES A GOOD MANAGER! STAY WAY AWAY FROM SIX FLAGS IN PG COUNTY (A DUMP! THE RIDES ALWAYS BREAK DOWN!) STAY AWAY FROM JOHNNY ROCKETS (YES, HE OWNS THAT TOO!) BUY MOST OF ALL-STAY AWAY FROM THE REDSKINS. MY ADVICE-SWITCH TO HOCKEY. THE CAPS ARE DOING GREAT THIS YEAR AND THE OWNER IS NOT A DOUCHE.
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