Washington Redskins Won't Let Washington Post Blogger Show Photos Of Upset Fans; WaPo Caves

from the journalistic-integrity dept

We’ve already discussed how ridiculous it is that any mainstream publication agrees to the NFL’s policies that effectively set rules for how they can report on sporting events. How can a publication claim to have journalistic integrity after agreeing to specific rules on what they will and won’t report on concerning a news event? On top of that, we’ve pointed out how ridiculous one particular football team, the Washington Redskins, has become in dealing with fans. Despite having the longest record of continuous sellouts in professional sports, the Redskins have been suing over 100 fans who were unable to pay for their season tickets. The Redskins could have easily just resold the tickets (and, in fact, they are reselling the tickets). But also suing some of the team’s biggest fans after they’ve been hit by the financial crisis? That’s just obnoxious.

Lots of fans are pissed off at the Redskins this season, and a local radio station came up with a plan to get fans to wear paper bags over their heads during a recent game — even going out and handing out a bunch of bags outside the stadium for just that purpose. Of course, gametime came and security confiscated most of the bags, saying that such bags are not allowed in the stadium. Still, Dan Steinberg, who writes the DC Sports Blog for the Washington Post, went around looking for such disgruntled fans. And while he didn’t find many with paper bags, he did find other disgruntled fans displaying their… disgruntlement. These included t-shirts that were anti-Dan Snyder (owner of the team) along with some other things. Steinberg took photos of these protesters and posted them to his blog.

But not for long.

The photos soon disappeared, and the photo editor for the Washington Post admitted that the Redskins had called them claiming that taking photos of disgruntled fans was a violation of policy:

“The Redskins said he was in violation of his credentials for taking the photographs. We honored that request, because at the end of the day, they control access to their facility.”

First off all, how ridiculous is it that the Redskins are so insanely controlling that it thinks that banning photos of disgruntled fans will suddenly make people not realize that fans are disgruntled?

But, more importantly, what a shame that the Washington Post would simply fold like that. Yes, the Redskins control access to the facilities, but the Washington Post is effectively providing free advertising for the Redskins pretty much every day, by writing articles about them. The Redskins don’t want to lose coverage from the Post. If the Washington Post had any journalistic integrity, why wouldn’t it stand up to the Redskins and say “hey, disgruntled fans are news, and we’re here to report the news.” And people wonder why folks don’t trust the coverage in their local newspapers any more. Apparently, those newspapers — even the big “respected” names — have no problem caving in to ridiculous requests from those they cover.

Meanwhile, The Big Lead (which gets a few of the details of the story mixed up) wonders what would happen if other people took such photos and sent them to the Washington Post to put on its blog, since the Redskins’ main complaint is that Steinberg violated his credentials by taking the photos. If others took the photos though…

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Comments on “Washington Redskins Won't Let Washington Post Blogger Show Photos Of Upset Fans; WaPo Caves”

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ChurchHatesTucker (profile) says:

Re: Funny and stupid at the same time

“It is stupid that the Redskins are pulling such tactics. It is funny though, that they did it to a newspaper. Try to do something with newspaper content and they would come after you just as hard.”

Hate to be the one to break the news to you, but the WaPo is notorious for caving on stories in order to preserve ‘access.’ They’ve been resting on Woodward’s and Bernstein’s laurels for way too long.

zaven (profile) says:

Not Surprising

Has anyone met our owner, Dan Snyder? If so, this should not come as a surprise. I know someone who had season tickets for a whole year and his seat was missing the bottom. They never fixed it so he was forced to stand at every game. Heck, he even makes his interns pay for tickets to games (They barely pay these people in the first place).

ChurchHatesTucker (profile) says:

Re: sports is the only money maker in news

“In other words, WP bowed to the skins so they could keep covering the game, but they did it in a way that sites like your could still publisize the story and their paper.”

You would think that a media-savvy organization could milk the hell out of a public feud.

But then, that would require the WaPo to be a media-savvy organization.

yourrealname (profile) says:

The thing is, if they, the Washington Post, did keep the photos up, Dan Snyder would just buy the Washington Post. That’s what he did to every sports radio station in DC. He bought them all (except for the new 106.7, but I’m sure he’ll buy them soon enough) to silence local criticism. When you have that much money you can control the media like he does.

Dan says:

Fan stike?

It seems like the Redskins and pro sports in general are just begging for a fan strike. If you can’t control the news with AstroTurf then EULAs or lawsuits are used. Let them take their ball and go home. What a bunch of spoiled brat losers. Between the self important owners, drugged up criminal players and oppressive policies, pro sports are not fun or entertaining any more. Its just another business, after all we won’t buy tickets to sit in bleachers to cheer for every Chevrolet off the assembly line.

OldGreyTroll (profile) says:

Re: Re: Fan stike?

Funny you should mention hockey…. One of the factors that makes Dan Snyder look so bad is comparison to the class act that the Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis is putting on. I’ve heard die-hard ‘Skins fans talk about wearing Caps jerseys to ‘Skins games with signs that say ‘Don’t you wish Ted was the owner here, too?”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Fan stike?

Why don’t people start some random sport and cover it on youtube or something. MAKE it a “Free and Open source” sport, in other words, anyone who publicly covers anyone playing the sport must not restrict anyone from releasing or redistributing whatever they want within any game. Or perhaps we can use an established sport, like basketball (assuming the sport isn’t somehow under some ridiculous intellectual property protection against freely available games. Given the ridiculously stupid nature of intellectual property these days it wouldn’t surprise me), and random people can start playing at the park and others can cover the events and everyone can watch. uhm… not sure if one would need some sort of permit from the city or whatnot though, stupid laws might make this more difficult than necessary. Or perhaps someone can sponsor it on their private property. Just some people playing basketball in their backyard or something and someone with a camera covering the events and putting them on youtube.

Marcel de Jong (profile) says:

Two things

One: Next up: EULAs on ticket sales forbidding taking photographs before/during/after the game inside the facility or the direct surroundings.

Two: The newspapers are wondering why they are losing the battle… Well, Washington Post, THIS is why you are losing the battle. By caving in to the Redskins, by not reporting the news, but wanting to pander to the big league businesses/sports-groups. They are not your boss, your READERS are your bosses. Start pandering to them, and give them a reason to buy your newspaper. You have an obligation to your readers not your subjects.

Anonymous Coward says:

If you don’t want bad publicity, try beating Detroit.

Best comment in this thread. All the other idiots have no clue what they are talking about. Yeah, I know, you are not going to any more Redskin games. You think the NFL cares if you tech weenie basement dwelling homo’s write about sports? We all know you hate it anyway.

For every season ticket holder that drops their ticket, there are 10 that would gladly pay for the right to buy those seats.

j. wyatt (profile) says:

blog the pictures

Maybe someone should start a ‘fan’ site for the disgruntled fans to post their own pictures. Of course they couldn’t use the Redskins name, because someone might confuse it for an official Redskins site, since it seems likely that the Redskins would post a bunch of picture of people that are pissed at the team onwer! If I gave a cr@p about the ‘Skins I’d start the site myself, but I’m sure SOMEBODY in the DC area knows how to sign up for a blogger account.

BTW, wasn’t it a Redskins’ TE that posted a picture of the playbook he was studying on his personal blog last year. A picture taken of the book in his lap — where he wasn’t wearing any pants . . . and posted it just before going to the game. The post was up for the entire game. He claimed he didn’t realize his privates were in the picture.

Seems like the ‘Skins could use a lesson in tech-savvy.

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