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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Washington Redskins and the hypocrisy of Daniel Snyder

Anyone who follows me on social media knows I am not a fan of the Washington Redskins. It's safe to say, I hate the Redskins. Yes. I'm a Dallas Cowboys fan.

I've also started a one-woman boycott of the NFL due to the lame punishment Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens received after his domestic abuse of his then-fiancee, now wife. But I digress.

I've tried to ignore the swirling controversy surrounding the name of the team in DC. Then I saw this story on Time.com

Washington Redskins Defend Name With Help From Native Americans
I didn't read it. I'm not going to read it. But I want to tell you a story about Washington owner Daniel Snyder.

For seven months in 2011, Danny Boy was in a legal battle with the Washington City Paper because of a tongue-in-cheek article written about him. It was called, The Cranky Redskins' Fan Guide to Dan Snyder.

Here are some highlights:

So before we welcome the New Dan Snyder, let’s look back at the one we know. That’s the Dan Snyder who left his mark, or stain, on more than just a football team. That’s the Dan Snyder who got caught forging names as a telemarketer with Snyder Communications, made a great view of the Potomac River for himself by going all Agent Orange on federally protected lands, and lost over $121 million of Bill Gates’ money while selling an “official mattress” while in charge of Six Flags. That’s the Dan Snyder I’ve found to be the most fascinating and consistent man on the planet, responsible for the hilarious and/or heinous deeds outlined in the following pages.
 “A Long Time”: Thirteen weeks, in Snyder-speak. During training camp in 2000, ESPN asked Snyder how long Norv Turner, who had just coached the Redskins to an NFC East title, would be in his employ. “A long time,” Snyder said. He fired Turner with three games left in the season, despite the Redskins’ winning record.
Andyman: Fake name widely believed to be used by top Redskins officials to post anti-media rants on fan message boards. In 2005, Washington City Paper reported that Karl Swanson, Snyder’s longtime PR chief, had registered on sportsjournalists.com, a website where Andyman often sniped at The Washington Post. Andyman, which could be Pig Latin for Danny M (Snyder’s first name, middle initial) all but disappeared after the report. 

The article was accompanied by this illustration:


 Instead of laughing. Dan sued. Sued a paper that was struggling financially. Sued a paper that makes fun of everybody.
Accused the paper of being anti-Semitic.
I'm going to pause.
He. Accused. The. Paper. Of. Being. Anti-Semitic.

The name of the team that you own is a racial slur and you actually had the nerve to sue a paper and say it was being anti-Jewish. *Kanye shrug.*
The suit was dropped, but the City Paper was left holding a big bill. Full disclosure, during this time, I worked for Creative Loafing Charlotte, which was owned by the City Paper's parent company at the time.
City Paper is a small news organization with limited resources, and defending ourselves against this lawsuit has cost massive amounts of time and money, well beyond the $34,308.91 that readers have contributed to our legal defense fund. Despite those costs, we are proud that we never wavered or allowed ourselves to be bullied, ultimately leading Snyder to dismiss his case. Though the District’s anti-SLAPP law says courts “may” have awarded us some of our litigation costs had we pursued them, we concluded that it wasn’t worth spending substantially more money, energy, and attention for what would have only been a chance of recovering a portion of what we've spent.
Today, we got what we wanted all along: dismissal of a case expressly designed to pressure us, and filed by a man who now apparently says he never even read the story in the first place. Now we're eager to get back to our business of covering the city's politics and culture—including its sports culture—without this distraction. And we hope the end of this case means Snyder can get back to focusing his energy on making our shared home team as good as it can be.
Now, back to the issue at hand. Black folks are constantly called out for using the "race card." But we're just going to give Dan a pass?
What does Redskin really mean? Writer Baxter Holmes breaks it down in an Esquire blog.

"A 'REDSKIN' IS THE SCALPED HEAD OF A NATIVE AMERICAN, SOLD, LIKE A PELT, FOR CASH"

That's not racist at all for a team in the National Football League to keep this name. And it's not at all hypocritical for Snyder to use the Jew Card because someone drew on his picture, while saying in another breath that "A Redskin is a football player," while ignoring the pain of what that word means to a race of people. 

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