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Lawsuit is the wrong way to alter Snyder’s image

Bills Redskins Football AP

Last May, Tony Wyllie became the new head of P.R. with the Washington Redskins.  Given owner Daniel Snyder’s image and reputation in D.C. during a decade-plus of running the team, the challenge is arguably the industry’s equivalent of climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Naked.

After a full season on the job, Wyllie’s strategy seems to include making Snyder more available to the media.  Based on our visit with Snyder on February 4 for a special bonus edition of PFT Live, Snyder was friendly and cordial and nothing like the way that he often has been portrayed, deservedly or otherwise, by the D.C. media.

But if the goal is to demonstrate that Snyder is something other than ruthless, short-sighted, vindictive, and/or mean, the better approach may have been to not file a lawsuit against the Washington City Paper, since doing so allows his critics to paint him as ruthless, short-sighted, vindictive, and/or mean.

Indeed, the November 24, 2010 letter from Redskins general counsel Dave Donovan to the company that owns the City Paper arguably reads like the kind of letter that would be commissioned by someone who is ruthless, short-sighted, vindictive, and/or mean.  The attack begins almost immediately, with the second sentence of the letter alleging that the scribbling of horns and a mustache/goatee on a photo of Snyder constitutes anti-Semitism, even though the application of horns and facial hair doesn’t seem to be obviously anti-Semitic.  And the final paragraph of Donovan’s letter to the company that owns the Washington City Paper hints that the goal of litigation may not be to vindicate Snyder but to financially cripple the publication.

The real goal could be to put other publications on notice that Snyder will no longer remain silent when he is criticized with untrue facts serving as the ammo.

If Snyder, via Wyllie, hopes to change the manner in which the owner is perceived, Snyder, via Wyllie, should say and do things that contradict Snyder’s current image.  Showing up at Radio Row and giving interesting content to the media in a loose, friendly was helps change the way people may think of Snyder.  Pushing ahead with a defamation suit, as viable as it may be, probably will not change the way people may think of Snyder.

Filing a defamation suit has another potential consequence, as Roger Clemens learned the hard way.  The plaintiff opens his or her life to extensive scrutiny, because the defendant will be entitled to reveal the impact of any untrue statements on the plaintiff’s reputation by determining the content of the plaintiff’s reputation before the untrue statements were made.

That said, Snyder has articulated a compelling reason for taking a stand.  “Because what’s right is right, and what’s wrong is wrong,” he said February 4 in a visit with PFT Live.  “Look, I take the criticism all the time, as you know.  And it’s not a problem, it comes with the territory.  I understand it, I respect it.  My father was a journalist. . . .  And I understand what heat I take.  But you can’t call me a criminal, and you can’t particularly what bothers more than anything make fun of my wife’s breast cancer cause where she’s the national spokesperson for breast cancer for the National Football League and you make it into a mockery, all of her efforts.  She is a survivor . . . and that’s full time what she does.  All [they] had to do was apologize and run a correction and apology, and they wouldn’t do that.”

Though Snyder has every right to fight, if the City Paper indeed published untrue facts about him (the November 19, 2010 article that spawned the lawsuit says nothing about his wife’s efforts to fight breast cancer), the best way to change his reputation in the eyes of many Redskins fans would be, in our view, to say and do things that contradict that reputation.  Filing a lawsuit for defamation doesn’t, in our opinion, accomplish that.

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46 Responses to “Lawsuit is the wrong way to alter Snyder’s image”
  1. duanethomas says: Feb 12, 2011 5:24 PM

    1st Ladies! Dan Snyder doesn’t care about anything except his bottomline. The Redskins will not win until they get rid of the little man running the team.

  2. Jeremy W says: Feb 12, 2011 5:27 PM

    As a Lions fan, let me just say that it feels great to no longer be the laughing stock of the NFL. Haha Redskins!

  3. heyooooh says: Feb 12, 2011 5:30 PM

    I had always heard Snyder was an odd guy based on stories here and there in various news outlets. The only one that struck me as negative was when he started charging fans to watch training camp practices.

    However; after reading that article in the Washington City Paper, it’s obvious this guy is a real creep (assuming all the points noted are true).

  4. smacklayer says: Feb 12, 2011 5:31 PM

    As pointed out before, no one would have even known about the article in question is the law suit wasn’t filed. How many people read it before? a few thousand? I read that news paper has only like 75k circulation – that is NOTHING for a newspaper. Now how many people have read it? several million?

    And as you have correctly pointed out, by him suing, his life now becomes an open book. It’s the same reason why celebrities rarely sue papers liek teh national equirer. By doing so, you have to now make public all sorts of details about your personal life that may be worse than whatever was said about you.

    Bad bad bad move Mr. Snyder. This will indeed come back to to bite you in a very bad way.

  5. commandercornpone says: Feb 12, 2011 5:35 PM

    frankly snyder is invoking the spectre of anti-semitism and his wife’s breast cancer as dual threats to embolden the likes of the ADL and pink ribbon types everywhere.

    those groups may well go after that paper, because, frankly, that’s what pee cee outfits do. snyder is employing red herrings. he is pissed and is just throwing bloody monkeys on the table.

    if he doesnt want to be criticized, maybe he shouldnt leave himself wide open for it. just a thought.

    maybe people poke fun at him because he hasnt done a good job getting out the way of football guys and just let them run the team. ever. just a thought.

    and some people think they are above criticism just because they have the background they have. they are above criticism and shall not be blamed. history repeats endlessly. just a thought.

  6. drgfri says: Feb 12, 2011 5:35 PM

    What a joke. Snyder may not be a devil but he sure is an weenie.

  7. hobartbaker says: Feb 12, 2011 5:36 PM

    The honorary Dr. Snyder blames the flawed and damaged suit on his alter ego Mr Hydeous who breaks out once in awhile.

  8. philsimmsisadouche says: Feb 12, 2011 5:39 PM

    “Pushing ahead with a defamation suit, as viable as it may be, probably will not change the way people may think of Snyder.”

    As viable as it may be? Are you serious? You honestly think this POS lawsuit has merit? I’ve read what the article in question and found nothing anti-Semitic, and certainly nothing derogatory about Mrs. Snyder in it.

    You’re soft selling this idea to Snyder so that you don’t piss off an NFL owner.

    This is nothing more than a bully throwing his weight (or in this case his wallet) around because an organization won’t acquiesce to his wishes. They made reference to several instances in which Snyder has been portrayed in the news as less than reputable and even greedy. But they didn’t manufacture anything or even report on anything that hasn’t already made the news.

    This lawsuit is complete BS. He has no hope of winning it and simply wants to show them that if they come up against him there will be a price to pay.

  9. hooterdawg says: Feb 12, 2011 5:39 PM

    Unfortunately, Snyder cannot censor negative comments about himself like this forum frequently does. Many of us would love to own a forum and have the power to just delete any contrarian opinions. That way, what is left appears to be high support. Dan Snyder should try that tactic so that it appears his support is growing.

  10. kindbass says: Feb 12, 2011 5:40 PM

    The original article, since PFT didn’t even bother to link to it:

    http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/articles/40063/the-cranky-redskins-fans-guide-to-dan-snyder/

    I don’t see anything in there that’s defamation. Seems like just a list of all the scumbag things Dan Snyder has done.

  11. kindbass says: Feb 12, 2011 5:41 PM

    Nevermind, there is a link up there after all.

  12. jc1958cool says: Feb 12, 2011 5:43 PM

    snyder is a dope!! jerry jones wannabe!
    i think the best part of this chat is everybody name! they’re good

  13. igottz5onit says: Feb 12, 2011 5:47 PM

    Snyder’s just a rich moron.

  14. toiletking says: Feb 12, 2011 5:55 PM

    Not only is there absolutely nothing about Snyder’s wife’s cancer, but there is not a single false word in the City Paper article. You shouldn’t imply that there is.

  15. stixzidinia says: Feb 12, 2011 6:03 PM

    Snyder is lying. He said the same on a radio row visit with Jim Rome about how “all I wanted was a retraction and an apology”. What he called for in addition to that was the firing of the guy who wrote the story. And I read the story, it didn’t “make fun of his wife’s breast cancer”. Dan Snyder…..same as he ever was. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. Always fun watching his squads amount to human punching bags.

  16. getweird4u says: Feb 12, 2011 6:10 PM

    Tough to stick up for this guy he has crippled one of the proudest franchises in the league with bad move after bad move!

  17. tecmobowl34 says: Feb 12, 2011 6:39 PM

    The irony of Dan Snyder crying racism for something as trivial as a scribbled-on photo…when he owns a team called the Washington @&#%ing REDSKINS is almost too much for me to bear.

    As a person with Native American blood in my veins, it hurts to laugh at his stupidity and near-sightedness.

  18. rtandler says: Feb 12, 2011 6:40 PM

    Gee, I was hoping that yet another internet hack would take yet another whack at this pinata.

    Great points, only they have been made several thousand times.

  19. liquidalfa says: Feb 12, 2011 6:50 PM

    Try as they might they’re still putting lipstick on a pig.

  20. PCa Survivor says: Feb 12, 2011 6:50 PM

    heyooooh says:
    Feb 12, 2011 5:30 PM

    However; after reading that article in the Washington City Paper, it’s obvious this guy is a real creep (assuming all the points noted are true).
    _________________________________________
    Nice try, Andyman.. Make enough posts on here how your view of Danny Boy has changed since reading the article and he wins his defamation suit.

  21. sabeybaby says: Feb 12, 2011 6:51 PM

    Another little boy with a Napoleon complex.

  22. schmedley69 says: Feb 12, 2011 7:31 PM

    Money can buy a lot of things, but it can’t by height. Snyder throws his money around and treats people like crap because it makes him feel bigger, but in reality, it makes him look smaller that he already is.

  23. hobartbaker says: Feb 12, 2011 7:33 PM

    In a belated public relations gesture Snyder has offered to donate all of the assets of the principals who operate Washington City Paper, along with any assets their offspring may accrue during their lifetimes, to charity.

  24. hobartbaker says: Feb 12, 2011 7:38 PM

    Dan really puts the snide in Snyder.

  25. MosesZD says: Feb 12, 2011 7:57 PM

    lol. Didn’t even know he was jewish… I wonder if anyone at the City Paper knew he was jewish?

  26. stixzidinia says: Feb 12, 2011 7:59 PM

    Everyone should read the response by Washington City Paper’s legal counsel to the letter sent by Snyder’s legal team. It’s priceless. Snyder is going to get his ass handed to him in court in humiliating fashion.

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/48061516/Letter-from-Atalaya-Capital-Management-Lawyer-Curtis-Krasik-to-Washington-Redskins-General-Counsel-David-Donovan

    Also check out the original story in question and read the comments posted by readers. It’s 99.9% anti-Snyder. Hilarious.

  27. hobartbaker says: Feb 12, 2011 8:17 PM

    I was going to share a little Jewish joke with you, but what Dan is doing here is not funny at all.

  28. iluv2play76 says: Feb 12, 2011 8:23 PM

    The irony comes in what the city paper attorneys found that just 10 years ago Dan Snyder was the defendant in a similar suit against him.
    http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/articles/40399/dan-snyder-free-speech-champion/

    Thanks to the First Amendment, Snyder’s legal team argued a decade ago, you can’t win a court case against someone for telling the truth. “The Constitution provides a sanctuary for truth,” Snyder’s lawyers wrote, quoting a court ruling. Snyder’s side also said it’s entirely fair to use hyperbole or exaggerated language to criticize someone.

    Good luck in court Danny Boy!!!

  29. heyooooh says: Feb 12, 2011 8:25 PM

    PCa Survivor says:
    Feb 12, 2011 6:50 PM
    heyooooh says:
    Feb 12, 2011 5:30 PM

    However; after reading that article in the Washington City Paper, it’s obvious this guy is a real creep (assuming all the points noted are true).
    _________________________________________
    Nice try, Andyman.. Make enough posts on here how your view of Danny Boy has changed since reading the article and he wins his defamation suit.
    —————————————————-

    LOL! I’m actually saying Snyder is a creep. I am just not a fan of the ‘Skins & I don’t live in that area, so reading thy article was eye opening. I don’t doubt one point that writer made. I just thought I would put the disclaimer in, since I am not “all knowing” about all things Snyder.

    Andyman must have been the dude that went on an initial run-through of the posts, putting “thumbs down”.

  30. steelergold says: Feb 12, 2011 8:27 PM

    It’s sad to watch this franchise being run into the ground.

  31. palinforpresidentofnorthkorea says: Feb 12, 2011 8:51 PM

    “… the best way to change his reputation in the eyes of many Redskins fans would be, in our view, to say and do things that contradict that reputation. …”

    Who knew the fans would want Mr. Synder to focus on winning games instead of suing grandmothers and newspapers? ;-)

  32. Darth Goodell says: Feb 12, 2011 8:52 PM

    If this case goes to trial it’ll be fun to watch Snyder try to prove any of the accusations wrong. Even more of his slimebag business dealings will become public. There’s no saving his reputation now.

  33. ninjapleazee says: Feb 12, 2011 9:05 PM

    is he trying to get some money back after blowing 100 million on Fat Albert?

  34. mulehead70 says: Feb 12, 2011 9:35 PM

    Dan Snyder kinda looks like Michael Scott in that picture.

    Michael Scott would be a better owner, though…

  35. hobartbaker says: Feb 12, 2011 9:36 PM

    The press asked Wyllie to give them a Jewish joke. Tony said, “O.K., but it’ll have to be a short one.”.

  36. bucks12965 says: Feb 12, 2011 10:17 PM

    It was a great article, but the scribbled picture is anti-semitic. Ignorance of such a thing isn’t a valid defense.

    That said, the article never mentions his wife’s cancer, & doesn’t call him a criminal.

    Snyder is a moron. & I don’t think it has anything to do with him being short, or Jewish.

  37. hosmachine says: Feb 12, 2011 10:18 PM

    the poll question for the day is Who pisses away more money Al Davis, Jerry Jones or Dan Snyder

  38. palinforpresidentofnorthkorea says: Feb 12, 2011 10:22 PM

    Follow the link to where Mr. Snyder’s crack legal team used the First Amendment as a defense argument. This is hilarious considering the Washington City Paper lawsuit and the ammunition Mr. Snyder gave the City Paper’s lawyers.

    http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/articles/40399/dan-snyder-free-speech-champion/

    Excerpt: “Snyder’s legal team argued a decade ago, you can’t win a court case against someone for telling the truth. “The Constitution provides a sanctuary for truth,” Snyder’s lawyers wrote, quoting a court ruling. Snyder’s side also said it’s entirely fair to use hyperbole or exaggerated language to criticize someone. “While certainly unpleasant to have such views… aired in a national publication, such criticism hardly impugns their integrity or goes beyond those negative performance evaluations which courts have routinely concluded do not constitute defamation, as a matter of law, …..”

    I’d pay to be in the room during Mr. Snyder’s deposition. Some juicy practice session before the real fun starts in Court.

  39. nickster2k says: Feb 12, 2011 10:31 PM

    commandercornpone says:
    Feb 12, 2011 5:35 PM
    he is pissed and is just throwing bloody monkeys on the table.

    =============================

    “Whatever that’s all about– SIGN ME UP.”

    – Mike Vick

  40. bison4me says: Feb 12, 2011 10:39 PM

    Jeremy W says: Feb 12, 2011 5:27 PM

    As a Lions fan, let me just say that it feels great to no longer be the laughing stock of the NFL. Haha Redskins!
    ======================================
    Jeremy even a douche like Snyder can’t erase 54 years of irrelevancy. To put it in perspective, Dick LeBeau played on the last title team the Lions had, and dude is 73 years old.

    If you look at the game film of that championship, there were people on the field playing with no face masks. You ARE still the laughing stock of the NFL nothing has changed. Stop worrying about what’s going on on another team, win a Championship first, no better yet, win a playoff game, no I mean win the division…better yet, try to win 8 games in one season. Let’s lower the benchmark a bit.

    Go Pack Go!

  41. scytherius says: Feb 12, 2011 10:50 PM

    This is actually NOT a very good case. Not only must he prove statements untrue he must prove actual malice. And if he thinks this is going to slow media criticism of him … BS. Doesn’t work. And since truth is an absolute defense he REALLY wants to put all that into evidence? What a fool.

    Said the lawyer.

  42. JimmySmith says: Feb 12, 2011 11:03 PM

    After reading the article, I think Danny-boy gets insulted too easily. Must be a small wienie complex and by the looks of the article, his is smaller than BrINT Favre’s, if that is even humanly possible.

  43. dfosterf says: Feb 12, 2011 11:51 PM

    Please, Redskins fans…

    I know your passion for your team, I lived there many years…

    But for the good of your franchise and the rest of the NFL, you HAVE to try and stay away from Fed Ex field and avoid putting any more money into this man’s pockets.

    He is worse than a “boy wonder” or “boy blunder” as you used to call him…

    This guy is out of control. Stop spending your money on him ! He is gouging you, and he has had nothing to do with why you are a fan in the 1st place… You’ll never get rid of him unless you take away his money.

    Watch ‘em on TV, unless you got anything to do with the Nielson numbers, lol

    Jack Kent Cook has to be rolling over in his grave.

  44. h8dansnyder says: Feb 13, 2011 12:52 AM

    Danny boy’s response makes me want to get a screen name on PFT where I can show the world what I think of this turd. Oh, wait. Nevermind.

  45. MichaelEdits says: Feb 13, 2011 3:34 AM

    I liked that guy you interviewed. I didn’t want to. The lawsuit dude is such a juicebag.

  46. broncsfan says: Feb 15, 2011 11:04 AM

    Streisand Effect – without the lawsuit, I would have never heard of the article and would have continued to view Snyder merely as a somewhat bumbling owner who at least cared about his team and was willing to spend money on it, if sometimes very unwisely. Now I’ve read the piece, and realized the guy is much, much worse than that.

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