City Desk

Cheap Seats Daily: Somebody Once Wrote a Nice Dan Snyder Story? Does It Hold Up? No?

spl-SpongeTech5Today's the last day to enter Dan Snyder's Cheerleader Pride Giveaway Contest! Tomorrow, folks at Snyder's sportstalker, WTEM, will hold the drawing to find out the five 25-to-54-year-old males who've won the right to have Redskins cheerleaders — armed with sponges and buckets and zero self-esteem — come over and scrub down their cars.

Come on, pervs: Get your name in before it's too late!

('Course, this also means time is running out on Cheap Seats Daily's ability to run everybody's fave photo.)

(AFTER THE JUMP: Does Dan Snyder's vacation choice mean he's met his Waterloo? Elba is nice this time of year? Somebody wrote something nice about Dan Snyder? Really? Was it accurate? Not really? Where'd David Donovan learn to fib? Dan Snyder's poster confiscating binge was all a prank? Will anybody get a "Goofus and Gallant" reference?)

I read in the Washington Times yesterday that Dan Snyder is in France. How Freudian a vacation choice, considering the sort of slurs thrown his way these days. (Writer David Covucci got me chuckling with a piece posted at the hit-or-miss site Bleacher Report, saying Snyder' failings have been so epic that "scholars now refer to Napoleon as having 'Snyder Complex.”')

If Snyder stops at Elba, would he be allowed to leave?

***

Nothing nice has been written about Dan Snyder for years. Three years, to be pretty exact. That's when "The Dan Snyder You Don't Know," Harry Jaffe's profile of Snyder, showed up in Washingtonian magazine. Jaffe's story has over the years been regularly posted on Snyder's message board, ExtremeSkins.com, when the Skins owner's getting the crap beat out of him. It was posted again there yesterday.

Snyder was talking only slightly less to the press then than he does now, so Jaffe must have worked incredibly hard to get a sit-down. But the story, which came out in the September 2006 edition was an Instant Classic — for all the wrong reasons. Reading it now, you wonder what date-rape drug Snyder snuck into Jaffe's tea before he started typing.

Jaffe's Dan Snyder was a Dan Snyder we didn't know, all right. His Dan Snyder is "not even close" to being a "spoiled, greedy, power-hungry rich" guy like other NFL owners.  He's "playful, and shockingly normal," a guy who goes to "Ben’s Chili Bowl in DC at 1 am with his buddies."

And, ethical? Read on!

No one has questioned Snyder’s corporate dealings. He likes to say he has never been in court.

“I am a goody two-shoes,” he says. “Business ethics are important to me.”

Jaffe had somehow missed or forgotten about the FCC's reports about Snyder's pre-Redskins business, Snyder Communications, and all the million-dollar shenanigans it pulled through "slamming," or switching consumers' phone companies without their consent. In one of the investigations into his company's shenanigans, investigators for the State of Florida found that Snyder "forged the signatures of hundreds of customers on letters of authorizations purporting to authorize a change of customer's resubscribed interxchange carrier." (The Washington Post's investigation into the Redskins relationship with scalpers, remember, included charges that Snyder's employees were forging folks signatures on season ticket contracts.)

The hits just keep coming from Jaffe. Snyder, we learn, was actually patient with Norv Turner after buying the team in the summer of 1999.

"Snyder stuck with Norv Turner through the 1999 season, which was lackluster," Jaffe wrote.

"Lackluster"?

Well, actually, 1999 was the best season that the Skins have had under Snyder. That team won the NFC East and hosted the only playoff game ever played at FedExField. Yet Snyder somehow stuck by Turner throughout the year! Bravo!

Snyder, were also told in Jaffe's piece, began charging admission to training camp "in 2003."

Well, actually Snyder charged $10 admission and $10 parking fees in 2000 — the very first training camp he hosted. The date change is important, because it shows that as soon as Snyder could gouge the fan base, he did gouge the fan base.

To be fair, there are some enlightening parts of Jaffe's tale. As Jaffe relates an anecdote that's meant to show how much fun Snyder is, we learn where David Donovan, now the Redskins Chief Operating Officer and Fibber-in-Chief learned that honesty ain't a policy with Skins management.

Take the time Redskins general counsel Dave Donovan went to his first away game at the St. Louis Rams’ domed stadium. Snyder and [minority Skins owner Dwight] Schar saw him calling his wife and family on his cell phone to say how cool it was to be in the stadium before the game. They called the head of security and asked him to send two cops and “arrest” Donovan, saying it was illegal to use a cell phone in the stadium.

Donovan was escorted across the field. It wasn’t until he got to the other sideline that they told him it was a joke.

“We were laughing so hard we almost peed in our pants,” says Snyder.

Well, we can only hope Snyder was wearing Depends when Donovan went on WJFK earlier this week to say that there weren't many Philly fans at FedEx for the Eagles game, that the Redskins don't sue their fans, that only a few posters were confiscated by security at FedEx on Monday, etc. Though, come to think of it, Donovan says he's in charge of game-day operations now, so maybe when the Redskins had their security guards escort all those people out for wearing anti-Snyder t-shirts or anti-Snyder bags or carrying anti-Snyder posters, it was all a practical joke! Donovan was just funnin' with everybody! You got Punk'd, Skins fans!

And, Jaffe quotes Snyder associate named Mark Jennings describing Snyder as somebody who won't do anything "to get the next great article written about himself.”

Ain't that the truth.

I wonder if Jaffe would write anything differently if he could.

***

By now, all that's left is for Highlights to crush Snyder, and then every magazine on the rack, and every magazine off the rack, will have crushed him. Everybody who never wrote about the Skins owner has pounded him these last couple weeks.

After the New Yorker, you'd figure most publications would figure: Why bother?

But this morning, the Huffington Post still bothered. The online pub gives Bob Franken digital column inches to come at Snyder like he took Franken's money — which, in a disclosure contained in the piece, Franken says Snyder did (as a ticketholder).

Franken goes mega macro, comparing Snyder and the Redskins to Wall Street and the U.S. economy. At least that's what I think Franken did.

You be the judge:

So consider Dan Snyder and his Redskins a metaphor...a metaphor for heartlessness and incompetence that has brought things to ruin with little hope that next season will be much better since the same people will still be running things. No wonder so many are angry. A few have played the game terribly, but it's everyone else who has lost.

So I'm not the only one screaming that this is bigger than football to the point of foolishness? Cool!

Actually, I'd like to hear Highlights take on Snyder. He's providing teachable moments for all the children. And if Art Rooney was put forth as Gallant, you-know-who would make a great Goofus.

***

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

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