City Desk

Meet the Cranky Pigskins Fan Behind @DanSnyderCares

Dan Snyder has a lot to be proud of, including his, ahem, environmental record, his, um, championing of the press, and the fact that he is "definitely not a racist," according to a mock advertisement from a Virginia football fan.

The ad, made by the creator of the anonymous Twitter account @dansnydercares and part of a satirical Change the Owner campaign, comes in response to an ad that a California tribe ran during an NBA finals game this week, urging the Washington football team to change its offensive name. That ad was part of the very real Change the Mascot campaign, and lists all the names that Native Americans are proud to be called. The one name they're not proud to be called: the name of the Washington football team, which, by definition, is a slur.

The mock response ad follows the same format, listing all the things Snyder has to be proud of—like a "job creator" who's axed nine coaches—and ends by saying that while he can call himself many things, he still doesn't have that coveted national championship ring.

City Desk spoke on the phone to the person behind the ad and @dansnydercares, an Alexandria man who works at a tech start-up in D.C. and seems to just want to root for a winning team. He says he has no plans to launch a more organized campaign urging the team to change its name, but he does has some more jokes aimed at Snyder on the way.

What's next? Maybe instead of the Change the Mascot campaign, @dansnydercares will launch a Change the Ascot campaign.

"I could easily see Snyder mishearing the rabble, and I could see him saying, "Oh, change the ascot."

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. 

How long have you been a fan of the team?
I hate the word diehard but that seems to be the phrase du jour. They definitely are my team. I have the gear and I have the tickets to the game—although in recent years not so much. I've traveled for school and work and have always retained a love for the them.

But you think the team name should be changed? 

This recent Mike Freeman article put into words a lot of what I was feeling. Me and my wife, who are currently diehard fans, we both feel the name should be changed, but there is something about it—it is our history, it is our family history—but the point that was in the Freeman piece is that it's kind of  intruding on our football utopia. Sports for me have always been an escape and just to kind of delve into something that is not real—I mean it's real, but it's not work or life or death or anything. But to have this important piece of the cultural landscape in your face, having worn that gear for 30 years....I certainly feel why people have a visceral reaction against changing the name. But we would all be well served for it to happen soon.

Do you think the team name is offensive? 

I do. I feel that it is hypocritical that I am not fighting against it, like actively. I don't think you need to rely on a study or other people telling you it's offensive to them. i believe objectively it is. I hope it does change. I can understand people's reluctance. It didn't stick for a long time for me, until I had my moment and realized "oh, this is offensive."

What do you think about Dan Snyder, the man?

I think that he is a guy who has always wanted to do things his way and he got rich off of that and he has gotten his hand caught in the cookie jar a couple times...and whether i think it is his ambition that has gotten ahead of him, I would certainly hope I don't do things the same way he does but...it's different paths to achieving what you want.

That's a much more diplomatic response than I expected.

He wants what we all want; he wants a winning team and he wants to escape beltway traffic by traveling in a helicopter. That's any D.C. sports-fan fantasy. But he's being a bad actor when it comes to the fan experience...He's being a bad actor when it comes to the fan experience. He's trying to squeeze every because we are an affluent community...I would say the average [Pigskins] fan looks at the sellout streak and kind of rolls their eyes at this point. And the crusades they go on is kind of laughable at this point.

Why did you start the Twitter account in 2011?

I was tweeting a lot about the [Pigskins] from my personal account and I had a lot of feedback from people, from colleagues in San Francisco, telling me to stop inundating their feed. He was kind of just the evil step mother; are Snyder and his PR team really doing this, going after grandmothers? It's one of those situations that is east to poke holes in. When I started tweeting there were other fake Dan Snyder accounts, but I was probably the most stubborn and that's why I probably lasted three years.

What made you decide to create a response video to the ad that ran during the NBA finals?

I have done Snyder videos on the past and what I would consider to be hack photo ads.This particularly resonated with me because of what I thought was a pretty powerful story. Snyder and his folks love to tell stories with numbers; x number percent support the name, y percent of Americans don't care about the name. Ultimately what makes us fans of the team is not the numbers—we can stomach losses, it's because of the stories from the '80s and '90s...so the ad like that last night was a storytelling ad and it laid it out really well. It' fun to lampoon him because of his actions. But at the same time it's a way to sarcastically express the frustration with the team itself.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery.

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