City Desk

Cheap Seats Daily: Where’s Dan Snyder? Where’s Dan Snyder’s Crisis PR?

Dan Snyder was in the news a lot while I was on vacation. He's keeping whatever thoughts he has about the Washington Post's series on selling tickets to scalpers and litigation against down-on-their-luck grandmothers to himself.

While some team lawyer nobody ever heard of named David Donovan did radio and print interviews attempting to counter James Grimaldi's well-told tales of ticketing malfeasance, Snyder stayed quiet in some undisclosed secure location.

Snyder's refusal to personally rebut the awful press reminded me of a conversation I had a few months ago with crisis PR guru Eric Dezenhall. I asked Dezenhall what, if Snyder were a client, he'd do to improve the Skins owner's public image among the locals.

But Dezenhall, who worked on image rehab for Enron's Jeff Skilling and alleged-molester-era Michael Jackson, guessed that Snyder might not want any such help from him or anybody else.

“Some people may like to be liked by the community," Dezenhall told me, "some people just like to be liked by fellow billionaires."

Sure seems the latter's the case here.

***

Will all the talk about the Redskins waiting list please stop?

In the instant-classic Washington Post series, there were frequent references from the team that the list was "160,000" strong.

Yet earlier this year, the Redskins put out a press release with Mitch Gershman, the team's chief operating officer, offering a much bigger number.

(AFTER THE JUMP: Lying about demand for tickets isn't consumer fraud? Lindsay Czarniak doesn't have to take off her Redskins logo any more? The Skins PR staff knows what goes on at Redskins Park? That deadbeat grandmother's got the real Dream Seat? Did fan love save Colt and chase Chase? The Redskins still have a white guy on defense? Williamses and Hoyas take a beating on Cutdown Day? DeMatha has how many guys in the NFL? The Nats lose when I leave town?)

“We work hard to hold the line on price increases," Gershman said in the release, "and are obviously sensitive to the economic realities faced by our fans. We have fantastic fan support as evidenced by the more than 200,000 people on our waiting list for season tickets."

The 160,000 figure is just as phony as Gershman's "more than 200,000."

There is no waiting list the Redskins follow when selling tickets.

The Redskins were sending junk mail during the offseason offering anybody who wants tickets — general admission seats, not club seats — the chance to buy them. And, anybody who thinks ANY Redskins games sell out: Just go to the damn box office at FedExField on game day, see all the tickets for sale, and get back to me.

From the Post stories, it's clear the only ticket waiting list the Redskins have is a list of fans the team is waiting to serve with subpoenas for not keeping up with the payment schedule in premium seat contracts.

On a related note: How can the Redskins get away with using these fictional waiting list figures while marketing the club seats? Doesn't that distort the demand for their product?

If that ain't fraud, what is?

***

I have a hard time feeling sorry for Pat Hill, the deadbeat grandma that got the legal ground-and-pound from Dan Snyder.

I mean, have you seen the photo of Hill's living room that ran alongside her story on the front page of the Washington Post?

Why would Hill or anybody else pay money to leave that couch?

Forget club seats at FedExField. I want to sign a long-term, high-dollar contract for a spot on Hill's couch, just to watch Skins games on television.

That's my dream seat!

***

Other than ticket scams, the Skins' roster cuts were the big news. A non-cut, of Colt Brennan, might be the biggest of these stories. Tough to think that the lovefest between the backup-QB wannabe and the fans didn't factor into the team's decision not to release Brennan.

Brennan had a quarterback rating of 49.5 during the preseason games. That's awful. But "The Cult of Colt," a thread in his honor on Dan Snyder's message board, extremeskins.com, has received 398,119 hits and had 11,282 comments appended, making it the most popular live thread on the board by about tenfold.

So Brennan sticks around on injured reserve while rival Chase Daniel gets cut.

Daniel, remember, registered a QB rating of 115. But his personal extremeskins.com thread, "The Church of Chase," had only about 20,000 hits as of this morning.

The moral: If you're going to ride Snyder's bench, you gotta sell jerseys.

***

Reed Doughty shrugged off back injuries from last season that threatened his career last year and made the team.

So...the white safety streak lives on!

Plainly, for years and years paleskins just haven't played defense for the Redskins — except at safety. You can look it up. The only white defenders to crack the lineup in this century have been safeties.

Doughty is the latest in a string of white boys — Curtis Jordan, Brad Edwards, Pat Eilers, Matt Stevens, Matt Bowen and, ahem, Adam Archuleta before him — to white man the Skins last line of defense.

I'm intrigued!

***

An actual bulletin on the front page of Redskins.com over the weekend: "Larry Weisman has learned the team plans to put Colt Brennan on injured reserve."

Larry Weisman is a Dan Snyder staffer who does PR for the team. So, the bulletin could just have easily read: "The team has learned the team plans to put Colt Brennan on injured reserve."

Which, now that I think about it, could be newsworthy this week, at least to those folks who think Dan Snyder didn't know his team was selling thousands and thousands and thousands of tickets to a couple scalpers, and didn't know that his team was suing grandmothers and other fans into bankruptcy.

***

Speaking of Dan Snyder's news operations...

WRC has dropped the phoniness: Redskins' worker-bee/WRC sportscaster Lindsay Czarniak delivered her sports report during last Thursday's 11 p.m. newscast wearing the same licensed Redskins shirt she wears when she moonlights for Dan Snyder's Redskins Broadcasting Network.

In previous post-game newscasts this preseason, Czarniak had changed into something without a colorful Redskins logo, better to camouflage her relationship with the team, and to hide the sort of conflict of interest that news organizations used to regard as poisonous.

But, based on the logoed attire she sported after the Skins/Jacksonsville game, WRC management no longer minds if the world knows its news department is in bed with Dan Snyder.

Tom Sherwood? Jim Vance? You guys OK with that?

***

Eddie Williams got released, bringing the number of Guys Named Williams cut this preseason to a team record three, or two less than the team record (five) for number of Guys Named Williams signed this preseason. The survivors on the main roster: offensive linemen Edwin Williams from Maryland and Mike "Biggest Loser" Williams.

Mike Williams hung on by the skin of his waist, which is actually substantial, as he's dropped 100 and some pounds by dieting and exercising. Speaking of lost LBs: Biggest Loser couldn't pick up rushing linebackers or anybody else in pass protection this preseason.

If he didn't have such a great backstory, he'd have been dropped.

***

Real life imitates Madden Football: The human Alex Buzbee got cut over the weekend, a couple weeks after Madden '10 dropped the digital Alex Buzbee from its video game roster.

This means Georgetown's half-century-long streak of not having any players in the NFL will continue.

Big Jim Ricca, who signed with the Redskins in 1951, was the last Hoya footballer.

***

From our Hyattsville bureau: At least six DeMatha alums stuck around in the NFL as of cut day — Brian Westbrook, of course, stays with the Philadelphia Eagles; little brother Byron Westbrook and Edwin Williams make the Redskins active roster; Seattle keeps John Owens and Josh Wilson; and the Atlanta Falcons have Quinn Qjianaka.

Think about it: Six guys from one high school football program — DeMatha's — are in the NFL this season; yet no player from one college football program — Georgetown's — has been in the NFL in MORE THAN FIFTY SEASONS.

That's amazing.

***

Nats’ record with Tom Boswell on vacation: 14-6

Nats record with me on vacation: 2-9.

We now return you to football season...

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Story tips? Wanna Play the Feud? Tube amps for sale? Send to: cheapseats@washingtoncitypaper.com

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