Redskins Owner Sues Local Paper Over Satirical Listing Of Grievances… Making Sure More People Read It

from the hello-ms.-streisand dept

We’ve talked about the ridiculous management of the Washington Redskins a few times before. This is the football team that took the extraordinary step of suing a bunch of fans who, due to the economic crisis, were unable to pay for season tickets they had ordered. While most other teams simply take back the tickets and find other buyers, the Redskins sued over 100 such fans (probably ex-fans now). The team has also been extremely aggressive in terms of what it requires of reporters, including trying to claim that posting photos of disgruntled fans was prohibited and creating “media guidelines” that seriously stifle what reporters can talk about, if they want to continue to be given any access to the team.

The latest situation is even more extreme. The team’s owner, Dan Snyder, appears to be the subject of much displeasure among Redskins fans. There are lots of fans of lots of sports teams who dislike the ownership. However, I don’t think I’ve ever heard the level of dislike towards an owner like the publicly expressed feelings many fans have towards Dan Snyder. The local Washington City Paper has, of course, played up on this general dislike of Snyder, and back in November published an amusing Cranky Redskins Fan’s Guide to Dan Snyder, which includes an A to Z listing of “offenses.” You see this kind of column all the time about various sports owners. And most ignore it.

But not Dan Snyder.

He had his lawyers send a threat letter not to Washington City Paper, but to Atalaya Capital Management, the investment firm that owns Creative Loafing, which is the company that publishes Washington City Paper. Got that? Atalaya pointed out that they have nothing to do with the management of the paper — and especially have nothing to do with the content of the paper, but even so, sent back a wonderful letter explaining the basics of the First Amendment to Snyder, especially with regards to public figures. The full letter is embedded below (and worth the read), but a few choice snippets:

The purpose of this letter is not to correct each of your misstatements and mischaracterizations but rather to assert the media’s First Amendment right to comment on public figures (which your client undeniably is) and matters of public interest (into which your client voluntarily injected himself through his prominent ownership of the Washington Redskins).

The Column plainly is a tongue-in-cheek opinion piece expressing fans’ frustration with your client’s ownership of the Redskins. This is quintessential First Amendment-protected speech. Indeed, the U.S. Supreme Court has made clear that “one of the prerogatives of American citizenship is the right to criticize public men and measures. Such criticism, inevitably, will not always be reasoned or moderate; public figures as well as public officials will be subject to vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks.”

The letter also highlights that Atalaya had been informed by the paper that it was more than happy to allow Mr. Snyder the ability to respond in the pages of its publication.

Snyder, apparently, decided not to pay much heed to this letter, as he proceeded with the lawsuit (full suit embedded below), in which he makes a number of claims. Now, there certainly were some statements that were made in the original article that, if untrue, could be defamatory. However, some of the claims were just downright crazy. The most ridiculous, of course, is his decision to claim that the illustration that accompanied the original article (shown below) was somehow anti-semitic.

Yeah, that’s a photo of Dan Snyder with a scribbling of devil horns and facial hair. I’m not sure how a childish scribbling to make someone look like the devil is anti-semitic. And that’s because it’s not. At all. And Snyder is being widely mocked for thinking otherwise.

Of course, the even bigger issue is that in bringing this lawsuit, you can bet that a hell of a lot more people have now seen the original article totally trashing Dan Snyder. If his goal was to suppress this content, then he’s failed badly (yet again). On top of that, a lot more folks now think that Snyder has an incredibly thin skin. I would also imagine that Snyder will not enjoy any actual legal fight, in which the various assertions about him in that original column are dragged into court and examined for accuracy. Even if there are libelous statements in there, is Snyder really interested in going through a courtroom analysis of each of the claims in the column?

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Comments on “Redskins Owner Sues Local Paper Over Satirical Listing Of Grievances… Making Sure More People Read It”

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48 Comments
Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Sigh...

“The most ridiculous, of course, is his decision to claim that the illustration that accompanied the original article (shown below) was somehow anti-semitic.”

Ah, I see. Dan Snyder objects to the to squigly lines drawing devil horns and a goatee (by cracky) on his image because they’re anti-Semetic. Dan Snyder, you see, is against images and depictions of racist and culturally insensitive nature.

Hey, fuckhead. You own an NFL football team based in the nation’s capital called the REDSKINS! Are you kidding me? It’s an insensitive term with a stereotypical logo of an American Indian, the gall of which is only supplanted by the fact that the team is located in the home city of the governing body that raped and pillaged their people? Who the hell are you crappin’?

How about some Irish immigrant owning a football team called the New York Porchmonkeys (I’m just bringing it back)? Or that Saratoga Slants? Maybe the Talahassee Towelheads? Portland Pollocks? Ooooh, the Memphis Micks (that one is close to my heart)?

Way to be a hypocritical polesmoker there, D-bag….

Mitch (profile) says:

This has been all over the DC area

Dan Snyder is a complete jerk. He has sued fans he has done all sorts of things that have destroyed the redskins organization. This is just another item in a VERY long list of BS things he has done. He is one of the most hated figures in sports (at least in the Washington DC metro area) Mike CwF+RtB is the exact opposite of what this man has done and continues to do.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Sigh...

“Damn. That’s such a good point, I’m really disappointed in myself for not thinking of it.”

Heh, the point probably would have been more effective if I wasn’t sporting an avatar w/a stylized Blackhawks jersey….

That said, I’m not the one speaking out hypocritically about offensive mascot images, so I’m considering myself in the clear….

Beefcake (profile) says:

Al Davis Proves the Point

“However, I don’t think I’ve ever heard the level of dislike towards an owner like the publicly expressed feelings many fans have towards Dan Snyder.”

I think the hatred of Al Davis by Raiders fans (of which I am not) is worse, but he isn’t suing them (just the league and former coaching staff). Kinda gives credence to the Streisand Effect point you made.

PRMan (profile) says:

Al Davis Proves the Point

“However, I don’t think I’ve ever heard the level of dislike towards an owner like the publicly expressed feelings many fans have towards Dan Snyder.”

When the Chicago Blackhawks announced that owner Bill Wirtz was dead, the crowd cheered. Ask Dark Helmet. I think that’s a higher level of dislike than Dan Snyder has received so far.

The Devil's Coachman (profile) says:

Dan Snyder is the biggest douche bag in the universe

He needs to be pimp-slapped into a quivering, whimpering, panties-pissing heap on the ground, and then have his teeth kicked out on the curb. And that’s before this latest outburst of idiocy came to light! What a whining bunghole he always was and will be. He is a pimple on a hemorrhoid of the anus of the universe, and should be popped. Anyone who has the opportunity to kick him in the balls and fails to take advantage of it should be sent to Gitmo for life. What a punk-ass beeyotch he is! BTW, I am a lifelong NY Giants fan, in case nobody guessed. Other than that, I have no quarrel with the man.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Al Davis Proves the Point

“When the Chicago Blackhawks announced that owner Bill Wirtz was dead, the crowd cheered. Ask Dark Helmet. I think that’s a higher level of dislike than Dan Snyder has received so far.”

It’s true. More dislike for the man. Problem is there’s a ton of Redskins fans and when Dollar Bill Wirtz died there were about 75 people in the city that could tell you two players on their top line….

The Devil's Coachman (profile) says:

My God! He's an even more gigantic douche than I ever thought possible.

My last post about that miserable, sub-human sack of monkey dung named Dan Snyder was so off the mark that I am completely embarrassed to have submitted it. It was simply based on his suit and nothing more. How little I knew then! I then read the column linked in this article, and by the time I got to the letter F, I could hardly stand to read any more. But I persevered, and it gave me an insight into douche baggery that I could never have imagined possible, all of it stemming from one galactic scale douche whose equal may never be found – Dan Snyder! Holy frigging shite!

One creature, the source of such epic douche baggery that residents of neighboring galaxies must be laughing in contempt and derision at the entire Milky Way. The shame! This can never be explained or rationalized, but simply borne by the rest of us for eternity. It makes me ashamed to be a carbon based life form, knowing that we collectively allowed this to happen, and did nothing to prevent or stop it.

Dan Snyder is the Devil says:

Completely lost in all of this is that he basically threatened to litigate the Washington City Paper into the stone age if they didn’t fire the story’s author. THAT is his most egregious sin (amongst the multitude). He threatened to use his money to bully his way into subverting the 1st Amendment of the Constitution. It was only when the paper refused to capitulate that he filed his spurious lawsuit. Fortunately the paper’s lawyers seem to be willing to slap Snyder with a SLAPP suit, which I fully look forward to them winning. Once THAT happens, look for NFL Commissioner Goodell to take action against Snyder.

John Duncan Yoyo says:

Re:

Yep live in the DC area and never heard of the article until yesterday. I sure hope the judge bounces his case quickly. Perhaps we should all forward the link back to Snyder with a thanks for the recommendation.

This could be a late play for a second win of the Tank McNamara Sports Jerk of the year contest for Snyder.
http://www.gocomics.com/tankmcnamara/2011/02/05/

ken says:

bullying journalism

My gripe is bullying. Our kids are being taught to bully by the news media and especially the sports media! The lack of constructive reporting has turned the media into hate terrorists where all they now do is attempt to increase divisiveness and notch up hate. Who knows where the truth lies anymore! Are they also truth terrorists? I’d love to send some these journalists to Gitmo and get my favorite agents to find out what is going on in the media that is causing so much hate in America. There used to be a word called “sportsmanship”. The sports page is now “KILL ‘EM”

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