City Desk

Cheap Seats Daily: Dan Snyder Lifts Sign Ban Just In Time for Sign Contest He’s Sponsoring?

Just before game time yesterday, Dan Snyder, following Cheap Seats Daily's pro bono crisis PR counsel, dropped the FedExField sign ban. Snyder had just as quietly and cowardly put the ban in place before the Tampa Bay game a few weeks ago to keep fans from showing how much they hate him.

“We have no intention of trying to control our fans’ varied ways of expressing their views on the Redskins organization and the team’s performance,” former newspaperboy turned Redskins COO  David "Yeah, That's the Ticket!" Donovan said in the very brief ban-lifting statement.

“We’ve disappointed our fans so far this season, and I’m as disappointed as they are,” added Dan Snyder. “I understand that some fans want to express their feelings with signs and they should do so, as long as they stay within the boundaries of good taste and don’t block the view of other fans.”

This gives the "He's learning as an owner" crowd something to throw out as they perpetuate that myth.

The "He's a D-bag!" set, meanwhile, gets plenty to work with here, too.

The timing of Snyder's lifting of the sign ban was grotesque, since it was announced too late for anybody going to the Denver game to even get word. Much worse: The announcement also surely has something to do with the fact that Snyder's sponsoring a fan sign contest this Friday with his sportstalker, WTEM, at Dave & Busters at White Flint Mall as part of a Redskins pep rally.

Snyder's station sponsored the same sign contest at the same venue before last year's home game against Dallas.

(AFTER THE JUMP: Sign policies show Dan Snyder's a hypocrite? Dan Snyder ran the same sign promotion at Dave & Busters last year? Dan Snyder likes signs? You can call Albert Haynesworth lazy, but not cowardly? Tank McNamara's neither fair nor funny? Dunbar's season ends atypically? Spingarn's season ends typically? Will somebody tell Mike Miller to stop dressing funny until his damn team wins?)

From a preview of the 2008 sign sweepstakes: "A pair of tickets to the game will be awarded to the winner of the best 'Beat Dallas' sign." The same prizes are used to draw fans to Snyder's event this year.

Bottom line: Dan Snyder used to encourage fans to make those dangerous, eye-poking thingamajigs. Like the Geico sign giveaway promotion Snyder put on during the Monday Night Massacre revealed, if signs put money in Snyder's pocket, he likes 'em.

What a champ.

***

Who's not a coward? Albert Haynesworth.

Outta shape? Sure seems like it. Malingerer? Sure seems like it.

But not a coward. Haynesworth went down in a big heap in the 4th quarter and stayed there.  It's a routine he goes through pretty much every game. The replays didn't show where his injury could have occurred, but he acted like he was in a lot of pain. But, as the cameras showed him being helped off the field yet again, you could see that he was wearing no protective pads in his pants.

"Albert doesn't even appear to be wearing knee pads," Dan Dierdorf, the CBS commentator, commentated.

The pads weigh nothing. Not wearing them seems almost masochistic, or maybe it's intended to send a message of invincibility to opponents. A lot of players these days are sending the same message. But why take up this no-gain, more-pain habit? Especially if you just got paid 42 million large, like Big Al?

***

By gametime yesterday, the Redskins had earned "object of pity" status from some quarters of the Washington Post. The paper's comic books blog, Comic Riffs, had a poll asking readers if Tank McNamara had "crossed the line" of fairness to Dan Snyder in its Friday panels.

The strip in question featured a mythical contract negotiation between Steve Largent, representing Jim Zorn, and Snyder's management team. The debated line-crossing segment had Largent saying all time spent on the Redskins is "garbage time." Forget fairness. I'm more concerned that the strip didn't cross the line from unfunny to funny, yet clearly did cross into "what-the-hell-are-you-talking-about?" territory.

In any case, the recent Tank material is nowhere near as brutal to the Skins owner as when the strip named Snyder its "Sports Jerk of the Year" in 2001.

***

Big news from Saturday's DCIAA semifinals doubleheader, held at Cardozo's beautiful stadium: Dunbar WON'T be in the Turkey Bowl. The dynastic Crimson Tide got walloped by Woodson, knocking Craig Jefferies' squad out of the Thanksgiving Day championship for the first time in a dozen years.

At the "Unsurprising" end of the spectrum: Spingarn, which provides fodder for my Washington City Paper Education Issue column every year, ended the season as the worst team in the city.

In other words, Spingarn's football program enjoyed a typical year: Still another new coach was hired, not enough kids to field a team show up when practice starts in the summer, the Green Wave goes on to lose every game, mostly by blowouts, etc.

Spingarn cemented itself as the bottom of the bottom with last week's 55-0 loss to Woodson. That left Spingarn at 0-8, having been outscored by opponents 378-24.

Wait 'til next year.

***

With Saturday's latest fourth-quarter disappearance against previously nosediving Detroit, the Wizards stuck to the script of their version of "Sleepless in Seattle" — "Winless in November." The line between fatalist and realist was obliterated years ago among Bullets/Wizards fans. This franchise still wears lousiness just like destiny. Given the past and present, Mike Miller's game-day costume — from his hair on down, it's an outfit loaded with look-at-me accessorizing –  exudes nothing but silliness. My inner geezer is sure his get-up should go.

***

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

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