Dan Snyder vs Washington City Paper

So, remember that Washington City Paper article from Dave McKenna two and half months ago that listed the A-Z of Dan Snyder's bad practices? Well...Snyder has decided enough is enough:

In a letter sent to City Paper's owners after the article's publication, Redskins chief operating officer David Donovan alleged that Snyder had been defamed by the publication and that legal action was an option. To date, however, no lawsuit has been filed...Snyder has objected to the article that detailed some of his controversial actions as team owner and other reports about him in the weekly publication, and has threatened legal action against the newspaper. He also is seeking the dismissal of the article's author, staff writer Dave McKenna.  [WaPost]

So, what to make of this? I really wonder what the Redskins are thinking some times. This City Paper article was forgotten about. A funny joke for two weeks then everyone moved on. The only effect this heat from the Redskins brings is national attention to the article. What was a small column that a few thousand Redskins fans read will now be water cooler talk across the United States. Florio and Matt Mosley are going to love this news. At the same time, there are several items in that list that have no concrete backing (despite being quite comical). In addition, McKenna repeatedly pumps out articles of this nature. Something had to be done, right?

Ken and I have had the pleasure of meeting David Donovan, and I can tell you he is a true, ethical guy. How many suits do you know that spend the entire gameday experience working the parking lots and upper deck? It's making me think twice.

I wrote a piece two weeks ago highlighting McKenna's findings from Snyder's "malpractice" of the handling of the Golden Globes. There's a lot to digest here. It's worth repeating that in the 3+ years I've been reading McKenna's columns, every single one is a full on assault of Dan Snyder. He clearly goes out of his way to bash the Redskins owner, but at the same time, it's incredibly detailed and intricate information on Snyder's business practices (stuff too detailed to make up). The part of the WaPost article that struck me the most was when Dan Steinberg's name got dragged into the mix:

According to several people with direct knowledge of the situation, Snyder's attorneys contacted The Post last week and asked the newspaper to preserve e-mails between Post sports blogger Dan Steinberg and McKenna...The attorneys said they intend to explore whether there was any agreement between McKenna and Steinberg to cross-promote McKenna's pieces on Snyder.

Now, Steinberg has an interesting history with the Redskins as well. Writers of the Washington Post have had their credentials threatened at times over certain articles during the Cerrato era. Freedom of speech? Well, who knows. No one likes bad publicity, but at the same time the Redskins just last year prevented season ticket holders from bringing in signs criticizing the team. Is this a similar attempt at squashing the First Amendment?

I re-read the article in question and there certainly are some parts that are rumors at best, but you know what cures everything? Winning. Criticism whether it's on the playground, office, Hogs Haven comments thread, or media should be handled the same - HUMOR. Make fun of yourself. Snyder going after an extremely articulate journalist for a small market paper does nothing but rub people the wrong the way. Bill Simmons has made a career blasting the Clippers, but you don't hear about them threatening to sue. The fact that no lawsuit has been filed makes it seem more like the Redskins are just bullying them into shutting up.

However, the Redskins certainly have the Tom Brady of lawyers (aka, the same lawyer who defended Conan O'Brien): 

Snyder has never sued a media organization for something aired or printed, according to Patty Glaser, one of his lawyers. But Glaser said Tuesday that a lawsuit is being prepared. Defending such a suit can be an expensive proposition for a media organization.

"We have been pushed in this direction, in our view," said Glaser, a well-known litigator based in Los Angeles who represented Conan O'Brien in his negotiations to leave NBC last year. "It's something we tried to avoid. We feel they have published untruths" about Snyder. She declined to describe Snyder's objections or to detail factual errors allegedly published by City Paper.

The name of the company that holds the rigts to the City Paper is named...."Creative Loafing." That sounds more like a poor-quality shoe company or some company Cosmo Kramer worked for. In other words, the Redskins will win this battle. But will they really? Best cure is winning, Mr. Snyder. Let the rest blow smoke.

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