Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: dcsportsbog and PostSports  |  Facebook  |  E-mail alerts: Redskins and Sports  |  RSS

Afternoon Bog: Skins Point Out Print Is Dying

No morning bog this morning, on account of the first week of preschool. Then I've spent all day reading other people writing about The Post and the Redskins. Some sort of big story broke, apparently. Anyhow, a few late afternoon notes and links, with help from Max Wasserman.

* Redskins general counsel Dave Donovan was on ESPN 980's The Sports Reporters Wednesday afternoon, talking about that story. In the course of debunking Thursday's upcoming Post report, he noted this: "They need to sell newspapers, and God love 'em, circulation is down."

Yeah. God love 'em.

* Credit to the Redskins for not stopping the FanHouse ticker running across their Web site. That's good times. (Twitpic)

* Nice to get an update on the wait list number. In the story, Donovan said it was 150,000-160,000, via computer printouts in boxes. On the radio, he said it was more than 160,000. As the great Dave McKenna has previously noted, the number has gone all the way above 200,000 in the past. I'd love to be the intern who has to sit there and count names in those boxes.

* Obviously you already know this, but Ovechkin's back tattoo apparently means "one family" and "life." You'll note that's an anagram for "Lame Fey If Lion," which is what I'm going with. (Hanzi Smatter)

* This is a bit dated, but in the preliminary round of the 2009 FIBA Americas Championship, former GW player Danilo (nee J.R.) Pinnock and Panama topped Greivis Vasquez and Venezuela, 80-71. Both local players had 17 points in the game, which proved to be decisive as Panama advanced to the Quarterfinals and Venezuela was eliminated. (FIBA Americas)

* The Wizards have two of the 10 worst NBA jerseys of the last decade. The Wizards should get new jerseys. (Ball Don't Lie, Mister Irrelevant)

* Someone made a very large Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Trophy. (Behind the Badge)

* ESPN's panel of 53 (!) experts--seriously, there's no way they have that many experts--sees the Wizards finishing with under 40 wins, slightly behind the Eddie Jordan-coached Sixers. (Truth About It)

* Water taxi service to Nats Park from Alexandria will start next week. I guess this is good if you live in Virginia. (WTOP)

By Dan Steinberg  |  September 2, 2009; 5:44 PM ET
Categories:  Atlantic 11 , Caps , Media , Nats , Redskins , Wizards  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Vinny Cerrato Helps 53-Man Roster Guessers
Next: A Heartwarming Redskins Story

Comments

Steinz as always you know I love you, but on a day like today, you gotta feel ashamed to work for this paper. Truly ashamed. The Washington Post is, without even a smidgen of doubt, the slimiest major media outlet in this country.

Nearly everyone who read today's hit piece calling in on talk radio had the same impression from the story: that Dan Snyder was behind the sales to brokers and did this to make a buck, while screwing over the fans. Yes, it was buried way deep in the story that Snyder had nothing to do with this, that this was the work of employees who broke team policy, etc, etc...but the Post's attack piece clearly gave the the impression that Snyder was behind this--and that's what readers took from it. Which, of course, was their goal...generate controversy at the expense of Dan Snyder.

The Post failed to mention that they had their season tickets revoked because they were selling them to brokers/ secondary markets as well years ago. That little tidbit of full disclosure would have made the Post's story look extremely hypocritical.

It was just another in a never ending series of totally slanted, agenda-driven, hate-filled propaganda from the fish wrap Post. I truly feel sorry for the many Post employees, reporters, columnists and friends who I know and admire, that have to work for such a classless news organization that is run by such despicable human beings.

Posted by: Barno1 | September 2, 2009 6:53 PM | Report abuse

To anyone out there who has any opinion of Daniel Snyder, one way or the other, this is a must read:

http://www.washingtonian.com/articles/sports/1679.html

Posted by: Barno1 | September 2, 2009 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for checking in Barno1. Hope the Redskins internship is going nicely.

If you don't realize that Dan Snyder is an absolute megalomaniacal cretin, then you probably are one too. The man has killed a franchise that was once a community treasure. It is now a soulless dungheap. He is an awful, awful human being.

Posted by: thediesel | September 2, 2009 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Blind homerism: see Barno1

When the message doesn't suit the receiver of the message, destroy the messenger at all costs. Straight out of the Snyder handbook.

Barno, instead of trashing the messenger, why not try to debunk the story? Trashing the messenger is not debunking the story.

Posted by: Randy_Hawkins | September 2, 2009 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Barno, instead of trashing the messenger, why not try to debunk the story? Trashing the messenger is not debunking the story.

Posted by: Randy_Hawkins | September 2, 2009 7:40 PM | Report abuse

IF you actually read the entire story, which I doubt you and many other did since it's 7 trillion words long, you'll see that the story debunks itself. Dan Snyder had nothing to do with this abuse of team policy by a few employees in the ticket office. Yet all we have heard and read about all day is what an "awful, awful human being" Snyder is. It's baseless crap caused by a major media outlet's spin against a man they have had a vendetta against for years.

It's sad so few people buy into the hate against Snyder. He is a good man, plain and simple. Read the article above that I posted.

Posted by: Barno1 | September 2, 2009 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for checking in Barno1. Hope the Redskins internship is going nicely.

If you don't realize that Dan Snyder is an absolute megalomaniacal cretin, then you probably are one too. The man has killed a franchise that was once a community treasure. It is now a soulless dungheap. He is an awful, awful human being.

Posted by: thediesel | September 2, 2009 7:33 PM | Report abuse

If he killed the franchise, why is every game still a sellout? Why do people buy more Redskins merchandise than ever before? Why is the franchise more valuable than any other NFL team?

And as for him being an "awful, awful human being" it's just sad how clueless and nonsensical you and so many other Skins fans are about this man. Again, read the article.

http://www.washingtonian.com/articles/sports/1679.html

Posted by: Barno1 | September 2, 2009 8:33 PM | Report abuse

and yet barno continues to read this fish wrap. "buried" in the story that dan snyder didnt know anything about it? that fact shows up on the first page of the web story.

the post ticket issue happened four years ago. and the sellers of the tickets were employees (delivery people etc) not the post itself. i guess that tidbit of information should be in your nonsensical rants. besides, the story is about the TEAM selling tickets to brokers directly, not about fans or other season ticket holders doing the same. surely even you could recognize that.

the fact that you are using the moronic callers into talk radio as a basis for what people took away from the article really shows just how flimsy your argument is

so if the post is so horrible, why do you read it? simple question.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | September 2, 2009 8:37 PM | Report abuse

ps. barno, the cowboys are now the most valuable team, but the skins still lead in revenue. the team is so valuable because unlike a lot of other teams, they own their stadium...of course, based upon real equity, i'm guessing the skins are near the bottom.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | September 2, 2009 8:39 PM | Report abuse

the post ticket issue happened four years ago. and the sellers of the tickets were employees (delivery people etc) not the post itself. i guess that tidbit of information should be in your nonsensical rants. besides, the story is about the TEAM selling tickets to brokers directly, not about fans or other season ticket holders doing the same. surely even you could recognize that.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | September 2, 2009 8:37 PM | Report abuse

What is the difference between employees of the POst doing something they shouldn't have with the tickets and getting caught, and employees of the Redskins doing something shouldn't have with the tickets and getting caught? The Post did not catch the Redskins employees doing this, the Redskins organization caught them and dealt with them.

You have to be beyond naive to think the higher ups at the Washington Post do not hold a grudge against the Redskins.

As for your absolutely ridiculous comment that I shouldn't read the Post if I don't agree with it--basically you've just outed yourself as a complete and utter simpleton. Unlike you, I don't solely read things that I agree with. I'm a conservative, but I watch MSNBC and CNN as much if not more than I watch Fox News. I read the Post as much, if not more, than I read the Washington Times.

Posted by: Barno1 | September 2, 2009 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Who is this Barno1 character and why does he have his head so far up Dannyboy's azz? Face it, since Danny has purchased the Skins, the organization has sucked and has become the laughing stock of the NFL. You don't believe that Barno1? Then asked anyone (NFL fans, NFL insiders, etc...)outside of the DC area what they think of Dannyboy and this team since he became owner. Regardless, even with all the complaints from many longtime Skins fans (such as myself), season ticket holders, and wanna be season ticket holders who can't purchase season tickets because the front office sold tickets to broker agencies, you will still defend Dannyboy, won' you? You need to remove your head, open your eyes and smell what Danny is really cooking. I don't need to read any articles you posted to see what kind of owner he is. I followed this team closely since 1971, and it's ashamed what has happened to this organization in the last 10 years.

Posted by: akjproductions | September 2, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

akjproduction, no offense newbie but you don't know what you're talking about. The Redskins franchise that Dan Snyder took over in 1999 was in complete disarray. The team was coming off a dreadful season in which is started 0-7, the general manager and the head coach were feuding, and the team hadn't been to the playoffs in 7 years. Hardly a model of winning which he inherited. Yet in his first year, he turned around the franchise with a division title, an 11 win season including a couple of playoff games.

And yes, in his early years as an owner he made some big mistakes. But he clearly has learned from them and look at the team we have now.

If it weren't for Dan Snyder, we would never have had the Joe Gibbs part II era, we wouldn't have a D coordinator by the name of Greg Blatche, or an o-line coach named Joe Bugel. We wouldn't have guys like Clinton Portis, Jason Campbell, Santana Moss, Chris Cooley, Mike Sellers, Laron Landry, London Fletcher, Cornelius Griffin, Andre Carter, Fred Smoot, Carlos Rogers, etc without Dan Snyder.

Snyder has turned around this franchise, along with Gibbs and Cerrato. And I like the team we have assembled. No, I take that back...I LOVE the team we have assembled, and I am grateful for an owner that cares so much about his team that he is willing to do whatever it takes to win.

I don't buy into the garbage propaganda about Snyder like the thousands of sheep in this town who will buy whatever the media is selling.

Posted by: Barno1 | September 2, 2009 10:26 PM | Report abuse

I don't need to read any articles you posted to see what kind of owner he is.

Posted by: akjproductions | September 2, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Another simpleton who will only read the stuff he agrees with. Pitiful.

Posted by: Barno1 | September 2, 2009 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Not sure what Barno is talking about--as said earlier in the comments, Dan Snyder's denial that he knew anything about it is before the jump in the print edition, as is the info about it allegedly being ticket office employees acting improperly.

What struck me about the story was the arrogance with which Snyder and the Redskins treated this revelation. Snyder couldn't even deign to actually be interviewed for the story--you'd think a good businessman would want to restore confidence in his operation even if he himself had nothing to do with it. Instead, he sends out his lawyer to say stuff like "oh, you do realize this was an insignificant amount of tickets." Yeah, if I was on that waiting list, at say 5,000, I'd be pretty annoyed that hundreds of season tickets a year weren't going to people ahead of me on the waiting list but to ticket brokers--and I wouldn't appreciate the Redskins trying to tell me that, oh, it really isn't that many.

If anything I thought the article went a little easy on the Redskins. It still didn't get the Redskins to explain why thousands upon thousands of people are getting offers to buy Redskins tickets who aren't even on the waiting list.

Posted by: TheFingerman | September 2, 2009 10:28 PM | Report abuse

The Dan Snyder You Don't Know
Print

By Harry Jaffe

To disgruntled fans, the Redskins owner Is a spoiled rich kid who treats the team like a toy—and a money machine. People close to him say it ain’t so.

National editor Harry Jaffe, born and raised in Philadelphia, is an Eagles fan who has rooted against the Redskins all his life. Editorial intern Caleb Hannan helped with research for this article.

Joe Gibbs first met Dan Snyder at a group home for teenagers in early 1999. Gibbs, the legendary Redskins coach, was out of football and into racing cars on the NASCAR circuit; he was in Washington to raise funds for Youth for Tomorrow, a residential facility in Manassas for at-risk teens that he had founded in 1986.

Snyder was making a run at buying the Washington Redskins that winter. He was relatively unknown in the business community. He was 34, owned a marketing company, was worth about a half a billion dollars, and worshipped the Redskins.

At a fundraising meeting, someone suggested that Gibbs hit Snyder up for a donation to the home. Gibbs said he didn’t know him.

“I’ll handle it,” Dwight Schar said.

Schar, owner of NVR, a residential builder, had met Snyder several times. He got through to him and made the pitch.

“For $10,000 you can be one of the boys,” Schar told Snyder. “For $25,000 you can be one of the big boys.”

Snyder wrote a check for $25,000. He then met with Gibbs and became a regular contributor. After buying the Redskinsin April 1999, he became closer with Schar and Gibbs through their charity work.

“There was no reason for Dan Snyder to come and do that,” Gibbs told me. “There was no thought I was ever coming back to football. I was not trying to get anything from him, and he wasn’t trying to get anything from me.”

Posted by: Barno1 | September 2, 2009 10:30 PM | Report abuse

The episode in 1999 presaged the relationship among three men now at the helm of the Redskins: Snyder is starting his seventh year as owner; Gibbs is going into his third year as coach; Schar has become part-owner and one of Snyder’s closest friends and advisers.

It also reveals a side of Snyder that has been overlooked by many disgruntled fans and most members of the media, who like to pillory him as a spoiled rich kid who treats the Redskins like his latest toy.

Washington Post columnist Sally Jenkins wrote in 2003 that Snyder “runs the franchise with such lunatic impatience and excess. Self-restraint is apparently not an option.”

Another Post story that year said the media saw Snyder as “an arrogant, interfering amateur.” ➝

The “Tank McNamara” comic strip named him Sports Jerk of the Year.

But friends, business partners, and employees describe Snyder as “a great listener,” a man who is loyal and generous.

Joe Mendes, who worked in player development with the Redskins before and during Snyder’s regime, said Snyder “went the extra mile” to help him when his father was ill and his wife’s father died. Mendes had an office across from Snyder’s at Redskins Park. They saw or spoke to each other several times a day during the season. He lost a power struggle with Vinny Cerrato, vice president of football operations, in 2003 and now runs Cornerstone, a sports consulting company.

“I genuinely like Dan Snyder,” says Mendes. “He is a good person.” Mendes had lunch one day at Snyder’s mansion and saw his kids crawl all over him. He says, “It validated my sense that he’s a warm and caring individual.”

Warm and caring. Arrogant and interfering. Which is it?

Posted by: Barno1 | September 2, 2009 10:31 PM | Report abuse

I set out to square these opposing perspectives and to see if Snyder had changed since he bought the team for $800 million in 1999. We know that he has used his business acumen to turn the Redskins into a brand that mints money. That he has used aggressive marketing to make the Redskins franchise the most valuable in professional sports. That he’s expanding his empire into radio stations that will air Redskins games and sports talk. That he’s sinking millions into the amusement-park business. That he is at war with the Washington Post.

Is he still the billionaire brat he was made out to be? Was he ever?

Snyder’s cell phone rings with the jingle that introduces Monday Night Football. He picks it up.

“Hey, Lynn,” he says.

As in Lynn Swann, the former star receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers who’s running for governor of Pennsylvania.

“Sorry I couldn’t be there with you all,” Snyder says. “Good luck.”

Schar, a major Republican contributor, was holding a fundraiser for Swann. Snyder had written a check.

I ask Snyder if he’s a Republican.

“Yes,” he says. He says he voted for George Bush. “But I am very angry with Bush. I don’t like what he’s doing in foreign affairs, and I think he’s messing up the economy.”

Posted by: Barno1 | September 2, 2009 10:32 PM | Report abuse

We are in a booth in the back corner of Olives restaurant in Aspen’s St. Regis Hotel. Snyder has arrayed himself feet-up on a banquette. He’s wearing a short-sleeve T-shirt with a small Redskins insignia, loose workout pants, sandals. His face is unlined. If not for flecks of gray in his hair, he looks like he’s in his twenties.

Snyder’s entourage consists of Karl Swanson, his key press guy. Swanson is big enough to pass for a retired linebacker. Actually, he’s a reporter turned PR man. He’s been with Snyder since 1997.

Aspen, the playground of the super-rich, is Snyder’s summertime base. Saudi prince Bandar bin Sultan just put his place there up for sale for $135 million. Snyder bought a Tuscan-style mansion on Buttermilk Mountain four years ago. His mother and sister spend summers there. He can visit other NFL owners, such as Jerry Jones (Cowboys), Zygi Wilf (Vikings), Lamar Hunt (Chiefs), and Steve Tisch (Giants), in the Rocky Mountain air.

“Most of them rent,” he says.

Snyder doesn’t stay put for long. Redskins One, his 14-passenger jet, is parked at the Aspen airport. He’s just back from a meeting of NFL owners in Detroit. Before that he took his wife and three young children for a private cruise in the Mediterranean with Dwight Schar’s family. Was it a big ship?

“Kogo," he says. “Two hundred and thirty-five feet long.”

In Aspen he mixes work and play. Joe Gibbs brought some friends out for a few days. Mark Shapiro, whom Snyder plucked from ESPN to become CEO of his Six Flags venture, is there with his wife and children. And he’s meeting a reporter—a major rarity.

Snyder quit giving substantive interviews in 2002. First he stopped talking to reporters during the season. Then, with very few exceptions, he went mute to the media. Says Snyder, “I was tired of getting beat up.”

Posted by: Barno1 | September 2, 2009 10:32 PM | Report abuse

My request for an interview at first got a maybe. Midway through the long process, Swanson wrote, “It still isn’t a NO.” To get to a yes I started interviewing his friends and business partners. Each session was part interview, part audition. Then we negotiated: If I would agree to not use unidentified sources and promise to give Snyder a chance to react to critics, he would sit for an interview. I agreed and flew to Colorado.

I have covered plenty of spoiled, greedy, power-hungry rich guys in my 30 years as a reporter. Snyder is not even close. I found him competitive, playful, and shockingly normal.

His cell phone went off one more time during our extended lunch. It was his wife, Tanya, trying to arrange a birthday dinner for his sister, Michele. Snyder doesn’t do BlackBerries or Palms or iPods. He doesn’t even use e-mail.

“I go to meetings, and everyone is bent over their BlackBerries,” he says. “I have a friend who’s so addicted he answers it when it beeps at 2 am.”

If Snyder has a regular routine in Washington, it is working at home in the morning, then going to Redskins Park, stogie in hand, where he eats takeout at a conference table and conducts business. He might fly to New York for a meeting and return to read to the kids. It helps having your own jet.

Snyder and Swanson order tomato bisque with lobster. I start with tuna tartare.

As a kid, did Dan Snyder dream of owning the Washington Redskins?

Posted by: Barno1 | September 2, 2009 10:33 PM | Report abuse

“Never,” he says.

Among the Dan Snyder myths is that he grew up privileged in a wealthy area of Montgomery County.

“We didn’t have any money,” Snyder says. Or a television. “There were times when my father and I walked down the street to the TV store to watch Redskin games.”

His father, Gerald Snyder, was a freelance writer. Having been one, I know the financially uncertain lifestyle. Jerry Snyder worked a while for National Geographic, authored books, and wrote for anyone who would pay.

Through grade school, Snyder lived in the Oak Hill Apartments on New Hampshire Avenue with his parents and older sister, Michele. The high rise is on the working-class side of Silver Spring, across from a Sears department store. He went to Hillandale Elementary School.

When his son was 12, Gerald Snyder took a book assignment in England, and the family moved to Henley-on-Thames, a small town near London. Dan enrolled in a private school.

“I wore a blazer and tie every day,” he says. “They were very strict. I didn’t turn in my homework one day, and the teacher caned me on the knuckles. I never forgot to do my homework after that. It made a big impression on me.”

After two years abroad, the Snyders moved back to the States and lived with Jerry’s mother in Queens, in part because Jerry’s brother Charles had died at 33. Charlie was Dan’s godfather.

Says Dan: “You want to talk about tough? Queens made Oak Hill look like a country club. My treat was walking with my father across Queens Boulevard to get ice cream.”

And getting back safely.

A year later the family moved back to Montgomery County and lived in the Pavillion Apartments, on Montrose Road behind Congressional Plaza. Dan went to Woodward High School, which has since closed.

From most accounts, Snyder was not a standout student or a jock. He had buddies like Don Batson, who now works for Snyder’s investment company, and Tony Roberts, now a Bethesda eye doctor.

Says Batson: “Dan and I were new to the school. We were branded as newcomers. The cliques were set. He had been in England; they called him the English kid.”

They hung out in Georgetown on some weekends, Batson recalls. They threw the football around and played basketball. They were Redskins fans.

Posted by: Barno1 | September 2, 2009 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Here’s what Snyder remembers:

“I was embarrassed to tell my friends that I couldn’t hang out with them on weekends because I had to work. I liked working. I still do.”

His first job was at the B. Dalton bookstore in White Flint Mall—“so I could read.” He read novels and books about business.

After high school Snyder tried college, first at Montgomery College and then at the University of Maryland. It didn’t engage him. What did engage him were ideas about starting a business.

“It surprised me at first,” Batson says. “He completely changed the first year of college. He exploded. It was like a ball of energy waiting to come out.”

Snyder says it came out of nowhere, but when I press him, he gives credit to Uncle Charlie, who had worked as a controller for Loews Hotels. “He was the only real businessman in the family,” says Snyder, “and I thought highly of what he said.”

Snyder’s first venture, when he was 20, was a travel business aimed at college students. Working out of a bedroom in his parents’ apartment, he sold trip packages and leased jets to fly kids to beaches for spring break. Then he told his father he wanted to start a magazine for the college crowd— Campus USA.

One of Jerry Snyder’s gifts to his son was not forcing him to follow a path through college to grad school. Instead, the father joined the magazine project as editor, columnist, and writer under an assumed name. As publisher, the son sold ads and ran the business—which grew fast and needed capital.

Looking around for money in the mid-1980s, Dan Snyder set his sights on Mort Zuckerman, real-estate magnate and publisher of U.S. News & World Report. The kid needed $3 million. Why not hit up a publisher who was worth hundredsof millions?

With chutzpah and unrelenting persistence, Snyder called and pitched and called and pitched and finally got through to Zuckerman. Snyder told Zuckerman he was 25; he was 23. Zuckerman and a partner, Fred Drasner, loaned Snyder $3 million. In two years he lost it all because he couldn’t get enough ads to support the magazine. He broke the news to Zuckerman over lunch at the Waldorf-Astoria.

“Zuckerman hated me,” he says.

Posted by: Barno1 | September 2, 2009 10:34 PM | Report abuse

But his family still loved him. So in 1989, when Snyder started a marketing company with no cash, his family chipped in. The idea was to develop wallboard advertising and distribute product samples—such as soaps and packages of medicine—to colleges and doctors’ offices. His sister used seven credit cards to raise $35,000; his father took a second mortgage on his property in England.

The business—Snyder Communications—took off.

“By 1990 it was hot,” Snyder says. “It was doubling and doubling and doubling. We started to acquire companies that were doing product sampling in different areas.” When new mothers were sent home from the maternity ward, they were given goodie bags of creams and diapers—through Dan Snyder’s company.

“I bought everybody,” says Snyder.

We are halfway through our first course when Snyder gets into a debate with the restaurant manager.

“This isn’t the first Olives in Aspen,” he says. “There used to be one in the village.”

No, she says. Yes, he says. She goes to the kitchen to consult; he gets on the cell phone to check his sources.

Snyder can talk for days about restaurants; he loves to eat out—Ben’s Chili Bowl in DC at 1 am with his buddies; or Matsuhisa, the sushi joint in Aspen where he and Shapiro and Swanson dined last evening past midnight; or the Palm in Tysons Galleria, where he consumes steaks with Dwight Schar.

Maybe it’s because the biggest treat growing up was an ice-cream cone at the corner parlor.

I ask when he first felt rich.

“In 1991,” he says, “when I bought my first jet. That was a pretty rich feeling.”

He was 26.

He had an even better feeling in 1993 when his friends set him up with a blind date. Tanya Ivey was a former fashion model from Atlanta who was selling lines of designer clothes. “We became instant pals,” says Snyder. They married in April 1994.

Mark Jennings was a business partner and friend to Dan Snyder in those days. Jennings was in private equity; Snyder Communications was hungry for capital. Jennings helped the kid get financing and took a seat on Snyder’s board.

“Dan went a mile a minute,” Jennings says in a phone interview. “He was the classic entrepreneur.”

Jennings, now a managing partner in Generation Partners, an investment-banking firm in Greenwich and San Francisco, is still part of Snyder’s inner circle. Their families vacation together; Jennings has served on several of Snyder’s boards.

“Dan started a company that didn’t work, then changed it again and again,” Jennings says. “He grew Snyder Communications organically and then by acquisitions.”

Posted by: Barno1 | September 2, 2009 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Jennings chaired its audit committee. He saw the guts of the growth and the deals. He had fiduciary duty to make sure the books were clean and the profits were real.

No one has questioned Snyder’s corporate dealings. He likes to say he has never been in court.

“I am a goody two-shoes,” he says. “Business ethics are important to me.”

The key to Snyder’s success, Jennings says, is that “he really listens to people. He makes assumptions, asks questions, absorbs information. He has that ability not to get wedded to his opinions. He knows that he doesn’t know everything. He has hundreds of ideas. No idea gets left on the table. If it’s good, he follows up.”

Snyder’s success is not a great advertisement for MBA programs. The only degree on his résumé is an honorary one from Post University, when Snyder gave a commencement address.

“Dan could run the creative side of an ad agency,” says Jennings. “He could also run an investment bank.”

In 1992 Snyder expanded his company into telemarketing, aiming at the untapped immigrant market. His revenues rose from $2.7 million in 1991 to $4.1 million in 1992 and $9 million a year later.

“Boring but booming” was the way Washington Post business columnist Jerry Knight described Snyder Communications.

In 1996 the company went public. Through the sale of stock, Snyder’s top investors turned a huge profit. Among them were Hollywood mogul Barry Diller, New York investor Dan Lufkin, and lawyer and Democratic Party icon Robert Strauss.

To repay Zuck­erman and Drasner’s $3-million investment in the failed magazine project, Snyder gave them a piece of his company; their share is now worth about $500 million. His parents cashed out for $60 million; Jerry and Arlette bought their first detached house with a yard, in Potomac.

At 31, Dan Snyder became the youngest CEO of a company on the New York Stock Exchange.

He continued to buy marketing and advertising companies. His most high-profile acquision was Arnold Communications in 1997. By 1998 he sat atop a corporation with 12,000 employees, 77 offices in 16 countries, and nearly $1 billion in annual revenues. No question, he was a winner.

Posted by: Barno1 | September 2, 2009 10:35 PM | Report abuse

But he lost the restaurant argument with the staff at Olives. Turns out the eatery in the back of the St. Regis was the first and only one in Aspen.

Snyder does not like to lose at anything. He put on a sheepish grin and said, “I guess I was wrong.”

In the fall of 1998 Dan Snyder called Thomas McCormick, his lawyer and adviser. “Have you read the paper?” he asked. “The Redskins are up for sale.” Longtime owner Jack Kent Cooke had died in April 1997, and his estate was selling the hometown team.

“You want to buy it?” McCormick asked. “That’s crazy. It will be expensive.”

“Can you get me the book?” Snyder asked, referring to the sales document. The team’s price tag was $800 million.

Four groups had formed to compete for the team. One included Joe Gibbs; another brought together a Texas banker and Washington real-estate man Ted Lerner.

New York real-estate moguls Howard and Edward Milstein emerged as the front-runners. Snyder asked Mort Zuckerman to set up a meeting. He and the Milsteins hit it off. Snyder put up $100 million and joined their ownership group as a junior partner.

“I was so excited,” he says. “My father loved it.”

But the NFL owners didn’t love the Milsteins or their offer and declined their bid. Snyder thought, “Hell, I’ll go do it myself.”

The process, he says, was brutal. He pulled together cash from his bedrock investment team—about $120 million from his accounts; $90 million from his family; $90 million from Zuckerman and Drasner—and borrowed the rest. The financing was solid. What remained was romancing the NFL owners.

Posted by: Barno1 | September 2, 2009 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Snyder flew around the country and tried to meet every owner. He shook hands with many of them, from Bob Kraft of the New England Patriots to Al Davis of the Oakland Raiders.

He produced and distributed a binder about himself and his company. He asked CEOs he had worked with over the years to write reference letters, including Wizards owner Abe Pollin.

“They liked it. They accepted it,” he says. “That was it.”

On May 25, 1999, the NFL owners met in Atlanta and approved the sale 31–0. Snyder walked out of the conference to phone Jerry Snyder.

“Dad,” he said, “we got it.”

In rushing to call, Snyder breezed right by the row of TV cameras and reporters who had been camped out all day to record the first words of the new owner.

Snyder recalls the moment. “I didn’t know what to do,” he says.

Posted by: Barno1 | September 2, 2009 10:37 PM | Report abuse

George Michael, the king of sportscasting in DC, watched him walk by and, like most of the journalists, took it as an affront. The reporters turned to one another and traded epithets about the young man’s arrogance.

Says Michael: “It started that first damn day in Atlanta.”

“It” being Dan Snyder’s image as dismissive of the press. “He had no idea what he was headed for,” Michael says.

From age 20, Dan Snyder was a master at selling himself in small rooms to other businessmen. He became a taskmaster to his staff. He had never faced a camera to speak to the press.

“I just wanted to disappear,” he says.

George Michael has seen a few owners in his 26 years as sportscaster for NBC affiliate WRC-TV. He and the rest of the DC press were used to Jack Kent Cooke, who became majority owner in 1969. Besides being 50 years older than Snyder, Cooke was a cosmopolitan character who had owned newspapers and knew how to handle the media, even though some called him, in private, the “billionaire bully.”

Cooke would often begin a press conference with “My dear boys” and charm the reporters. He also had won three Super Bowls, which helped inoculate him from criticism.

Michael would become close to Snyder; both had cancer at the same time: Snyder’s was thyroid, Michael’s was melanoma. “When word got out that I was sick,” Michael says, “the first call came from Dan.”

Michael also had a business relationship with the Redskins: He and WRC-TV broadcast Redskins preseason games for five seasons. Through friendship and business, he watched Snyder and the camera.

“He’s different once the camera comes on,” Michael says. “It’s as if he’s on the witness stand with you as the prosecutor.”

Posted by: Barno1 | September 2, 2009 10:38 PM | Report abuse

After the Atlanta debacle in May 1999, Snyder sought out George Michael and Sonny Jurgensen at the Kemper Open golf tournament. He apologized.

Is it possible, I ask, that Snyder is shy?

“That’s true,” he says. “I’m shy until you get to know me. Then I’m fun. I’m the daddy-o at home.”

Snyder is also an educator—through his foundation work.

Take Dave Kiehn, an academic coach at DC’s Dunbar High whose position is funded by the Redskins’ foundation.

Kiehn graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and joined Teach for America. At Dunbar, he tutors members of the football team. “The only reason I’m here is because of the Redskins,” he says.

Snyder won approval to own the team in May 1999 but didn’t take the reins until July. He used the interim to create the Redskins’ charitable apparatus.

“He had been a fan a long time,” says Karl Swanson, “but he couldn’t tell what the Redskins did for the community.”

Snyder asked researchers at his communications company to find out what other NFL teams did on the charitable end. The employees reported that most teams gave money to other charities, such as United Way, or donated team jerseys or hats and tickets. “I think I know what to do to raise money,” Snyder told Swanson.

Posted by: Barno1 | September 2, 2009 10:38 PM | Report abuse

His idea was to set up a leadership council of business leaders. It would be a club. Membership cost at least $10,000 a year. Twenty executives quickly signed up. The number is now 28, including developer Adam Bernstein, FedEx chair Fred Smith, and TV talker Larry King, and rates go to $60,000. The council raises more than $250,000 a year. Snyder matches their contributions.

In exchange, the members get to spend a day at Redskins training camp and lunch with Snyder and the coaches. Just before the NFL draft, Snyder hosts a dinner at FedEx Field, where coaches discuss prospects.

“Pretty soon we’d raised over $1 million,” Swanson says. It’s now close to $2 million.

The foundation has renovated football fields and erected scoreboards throughout the region, including at DC’s Spingarn, Anacostia, and Ballou high schools. The Fourth and Life program brings senior high-school players to talk to pro players about life after football. The Rookie Reading Program sends first-year pros into local schools.

Dave Kiehn at Dunbar High says the Redskins foundation funds bus trips to college fairs. “It’s the first time many of our kids spent a night in a hotel,” he says. Dunbar also got a grant to build a locker room.

“We didn’t have one,” says Kiehn. “All we had were hooks on a wall and milk crates. The Redskins sent two players to help us put the room together. They brought our kids to FedEx Field.

“I can’t put a dollar figure on that. They taught my kids to reach for success.”

Snyder would rather not talk about his family foundation, which is separate from the Redskins charitable arm, or his personal charitable work. “That’s more of a private matter,” he says.

I knew he had contributed to children’s causes.

Posted by: Barno1 | September 2, 2009 10:39 PM | Report abuse

“My first daughter was born at 27 weeks,” he says. “My wife lived for three months at George Washington hospital while she was in treatment.”

His daughter has thrived. When she came home, Snyder called Ned Zechman, CEO of Children’s National Medical Center. “Come see me,” he said. “I want to do something for kids.”

That something turned out to be $6 million for an emergency wing.

He has helped build a communications center for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in Alexandria.

Snyder stops there, but Swanson says the Snyders wrote checks totaling $1 million to help victims of the September 11 attacks. He contributed close to $600,000 to help victims of Hurricane Katrina. When the tsunami hit Indonesia in December 2004, a community group got together a planeload of food but ran out of money to finance the flight. Word got to Snyder. He called the shipping company and said, “Ship it.”

In his first three years as owner of the Redskins, Dan Snyder was much more successful at establishing a foundation and giving away money than at running the franchise.

“I made some real stupid decisions,” he says. “I made a lot of mistakes. I’m human.”

Posted by: Barno1 | September 2, 2009 10:39 PM | Report abuse

THIS IS TAKING LONGER THAN I THOUGHT, AND I'M NOT EVEN HALF WAY THROUGH. READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE HERE:

http://www.washingtonian.com/print/articles/8/41/1679.html

Posted by: Barno1 | September 2, 2009 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Not sure what Barno is talking about--as said earlier in the comments, Dan Snyder's denial that he knew anything about it is before the jump in the print edition, as is the info about it allegedly being ticket office employees acting improperly.

What struck me about the story was the arrogance with which Snyder and the Redskins treated this revelation. Snyder couldn't even deign to actually be interviewed for the story--you'd think a good businessman would want to restore confidence in his operation even if he himself had nothing to do with it. Instead, he sends out his lawyer to say stuff like "oh, you do realize this was an insignificant amount of tickets." Yeah, if I was on that waiting list, at say 5,000, I'd be pretty annoyed that hundreds of season tickets a year weren't going to people ahead of me on the waiting list but to ticket brokers--and I wouldn't appreciate the Redskins trying to tell me that, oh, it really isn't that many.

If anything I thought the article went a little easy on the Redskins. It still didn't get the Redskins to explain why thousands upon thousands of people are getting offers to buy Redskins tickets who aren't even on the waiting list.

Posted by: TheFingerman | September 2, 2009 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Barno...barno.... That article is 3 years old. If you want to bring up 3 year old articles about Snyder, allow me to bring one up that claims that fans are turning against him (written by the same author, no less):
http://www.washingtonian.com/blogarticles/Media & Politics/capitalcomment/2812.html

Posted by: Randy_Hawkins | September 2, 2009 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Barno1

And yes, in his early years as an owner he made some big mistakes. But he clearly has learned from them and look at the team we have now.

-------------------------------------------
What in the hell are you talking about Barno1? Dannyboy has ruined this team. True, there was some subpar year under Jack Kent Cooke in the mid to late 90's. But hell, How can one knock an owner who's team made 4 Super Bowl appearances. And let's take a look at Dannyboys accomplishments, or lack of. There isn't one free agent he signed that has made the pro bowl. He let talented players walk, (Ryan Clarke & Antonio Pierce, Lavar Arrington, B-Mitch just to name a few) just to sign overrated players to ridiculous contracts who never materialized to anything. With the overspending on high priced players, the team doesn't have money left to secure any kind of team depth. The team has traded many of it's draft picks away so you can't build a team like the likes of the Giants, Steelers and Patriots. Gibbs II don't even compare to his first tenure here under JKC. And excuse me, how many playoff victories has Blatche led this defense to? Add to that, the stadium food is nasty, overpriced warm beer, unruley fans, crazy overpriced tickets for obstructed views, outrageous parking prices, And don't get me started on the Ole Ball Coach fiasco, and the Gameday experience is a big joke. I should know, I've seen live NFL games at Giant Stadium, Ravens Stadium, The Superdome, Soilders Field and Lambeau Field, and the Fed Ex Field experience is the WORST. As I mentioned in my earlier post, this organization is the laughing stock throughout the NFL. Yet you want to defend Dannyboy as if he's another Robert Kraft. What is it? Every Skins fan who criticizes the owner is wrong, and you're the only one who's right? Pleeeeze! I have every right to complain. I spent many dollars on this team for me & my family to attend games & purchase Skins gear and I feel I'm getting nothing in return, but aggravation. And now the Post just released two articles on how pathetic the front office is treating fans. Yeh he does what it takes to win. Too bad he just doesn't know how to win and as long as he owns the team, the Skins will never sniff another Super Bowl. Other than that, he's not that bad of an owner. So Baron1, you can keep posting all that crap about how great he is, but two wild card playoff appearances in ten years is nothing to brag about.

Posted by: akjproductions | September 2, 2009 11:46 PM | Report abuse

And let's take a look at Dannyboys accomplishments, or lack of. There isn't one free agent he signed that has made the pro bowl.

Posted by: akjproductions | September 2, 2009 11:46 PM | Report abuse

Once again akjproductions, you don't have the slightest clue what you are talking about and are simply embarrassing yourself on here with your lack of basic Redskins konwledge. No free agent that Snyder has signed has made the pro bowl? You're kidding me right?

Santana Moss, Clinton Portis, Mike Sellers, Marcus Washington, Brad Johnson...etc. Stop embarrassing yourself.

"He let talented players walk, Lavar Arrington"

You're kidding right? That was a joke? You can't possibly be this stupid. LaVar Arrington, in case you have been living in a cave the last 3 years, has been out of football since the year after he left the Redskins. It was his choice to leave the team. He had a contract and negotiated his way out of it.

Please do us all a favor and keep the asinine comments to yourself. If you don't know what you're talking about, don't feel compelled to post something.

Posted by: Barno1 | September 3, 2009 3:05 AM | Report abuse

And please, for the love of God, go root for some other team if you're so unhappy with this one. Seriously.

Posted by: Barno1 | September 3, 2009 3:07 AM | Report abuse

Almost everyone you listed wasn't really a free agent signing. "Stop embarrassing yourself"

(to be fair, no one the other guy listed was a real loss except Lavar, which was more Gregg Williams' fault)

But seriously? We probably should have won the NFC East by now. If Dan could orchestrate that, he wouldn't need some know-nothing doing his PR on a blog comment board. Win the NFC East. Win it. Win the NFC East. Beat the teams I hate most. Beat them twice a season. WIN THE NFC EAST!

Posted by: JohnnyBlades | September 3, 2009 7:08 AM | Report abuse

Look I hate Dan Snyder as much as the next guy but I don't understand all the outrage. You sign a contract you pay. I'm supposed to feel sorry for a guy in jail for embezzeling?

Shame on the Nats for giving a guy free tickets who stole from a company and it's employees. How about you give them to inner city kids?

Personal responsibility is a lost idea.

Posted by: SeanTizzy2DaHizzy | September 3, 2009 7:39 AM | Report abuse

What is the difference between employees of the POst doing something they shouldn't have with the tickets and getting caught, and employees of the Redskins doing something shouldn't have with the tickets and getting caught? The Post did not catch the Redskins employees doing this, the Redskins organization caught them and dealt with them.

You have to be beyond naive to think the higher ups at the Washington Post do not hold a grudge against the Redskins.

As for your absolutely ridiculous comment that I shouldn't read the Post if I don't agree with it--basically you've just outed yourself as a complete and utter simpleton. Unlike you, I don't solely read things that I agree with. I'm a conservative, but I watch MSNBC and CNN as much if not more than I watch Fox News. I read the Post as much, if not more, than I read the Washington Times.


Posted by: Barno1 | September 2, 2009 9:06 PM | Report abuse

well, to your first point, the post doesnt own the team and have the power to issue tickets. they dont dupe their customers by saying there is a waiting list for tickets and then circumvent that list and enable those same tickets to be sold at above the cost that those same people on the waiting list could have paid if the list worked as it was supposed to work.

to your second point. do you think the post has been laying in wait for four years just to spring this on the redskins? do you think newspapers operate that way. do you think the editors told the reporters to go extract vengence? besides, if you havent notice, pretty much all the top people in the post werent around four years ago.

the post is all about selling papers. this story sells papers. doesnt mean the story is wrong or slanted. the redskins are a victim of their own success.

and to your last point. good for you for sitting in front of your tv to get your info. good for you for having your opinions formed by various news sources. as for me, if i felt that a newspaper was full of "totally slanted, agenda-driven, hate-filled propaganda" and was "classless", i wouldn't waste my time with it.

as for your reprint of the washingtonian article. believe what you want to believe. you think any reporter is going to get real access to dan snyder or do you think he's going to make sure he's seen in the best light. talk about propaganda. i dont think he's a monster and i'm sure he does good things for others. i'm focusing on his ownership of this team, which by all measures other than revenue, is a disaster.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | September 3, 2009 8:54 AM | Report abuse

No free agent that Snyder has signed has made the pro bowl? You're kidding me right?

Santana Moss - acquired via trade
Clinton Portis - acquired via trade
Brad Johnson - acquired via trade (also made the pro bowl after the skins dropped him in favor of jeff george...won a super bowl too)

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | September 3, 2009 9:05 AM | Report abuse

dcsportsfan1,
I just want to point out that the guy said FREE AGENT and everyone you listed was ACQUIRED VIA TRADE.

There is a difference.

Posted by: alex35332 | September 3, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

alex, exactly. barno is the one who used those guys as examples of FA's that the skins have signed under snyder who have made the pro bowl. i was pointing out that 3 of the 5 were acquired by trade. barno seems confused sometimes so i thought i'd point that out.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | September 3, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Look I hate Dan Snyder as much as the next guy but I don't understand all the outrage. You sign a contract you pay. Personal responsibility is a lost idea.

Posted by: SeanTizzy2DaHizzy | September 3, 2009 7:39 AM


You are correct that the Redskins were within their rights to sue these people, though I question whether a smart business would do that or do it the way the Redskins did it. What bothers me the most, however, are the cases where the Redskins sue ticketholders for years of future tickets, the ticketholders pay, and then the Redskins don't give those tickets to the ticketholders, instead selling them to someone else, effectively double-dipping. That is not only wrong and immoral, it is also unlawful.

It reinforces the prevailing view around town about the Redskins -- anything for a buck.

Posted by: disgruntledfan | September 3, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

dsigruntled, i think it also shows that this team has no clue about how to handle PR. in fact, their PR team should be fired immediately. this also might be evidence that people in higher up postions are just yes men for the ownership and are afraid to voice their opinion when it is contrary to the views of ownership. surely someone over there is smart enough to realize that while suing people who default on agreements is within their rights, it might not be the best idea in the long run given that all of these suits are public info.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | September 3, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Right that 3 of those guys were acquired via trade, but what is the difference from your overall point that we haven't acquired pro bowlers under Snyder? We clearly have in a couple cases, and in others, such as Shawn Springs or Cornelius Griffin or London Fletcher, we signed guys who were pro bowl alternates or who played at pro bowl levels for several years with the team. Clearly, we've acquired a lot of talent under Snyder. For every Archuletta, there's 6 or 7 terrific signings.

If you aren't happy with the team we have currently assembled, then GO ROOT FOR ANOTHER TEAM.

simple as that.

Posted by: Barno1 | September 3, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

I'm sure a lot of fans have gone to root for other teams, Barno. You just don't hear a lot from them. Look at the stadium sometime and you'll see either empty seats or opposing fans.

Posted by: Randy_Hawkins | September 3, 2009 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Santana Moss, Clinton Portis, Mike Sellers, Marcus Washington, Brad Johnson...etc. Stop embarrassing yourself.
Posted by: Barno1

Every player you named was aquired by trade. No, you need to get your facts straight. Everyone knows how long Lavar has been gone, and every common sense thinking Skins fan know that Lavar walked away because Danny screwed him like he's screwing us fans right now. In case you don't know, I love the Skins and I supported them for decades and I will continue to support them, plus I invested a lot of money in this team and in RFK and Fed EX. So, don't I have a right to complain when I feel this organization has been under acheiving bigtime? Tell me, am I suppose to keep eating the crap you and Dannyboy keep trying to feed us fans and say that it taste really good? Well I'm sorry, I not going to do that. This team has been mostly subpar since Dannyboy has taken over. If you're think I'm just hating. Take a look at the teams overall regular season record since then. It's a miserable 76 wins & 84 losses. And by the way, he inherited the talent for that 99 NFC East division winning team that finished 10 & 6. And what did he do after that season? He fired Charley Casserly and haven't won a division title ever since.

Posted by: akjproductions | September 3, 2009 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Clearly, we've acquired a lot of talent under Snyder. For every Archuletta, there's 6 or 7 terrific signings
Posted by: Barno1

-------------------------------------------
All I'm asking is for you to name those terrific players you've been bragging about that have made the pro-bowl SINCE THEY PUT ON THE SKINS UNIFORM, not players who were pro bowlers on other teams. And I'm only talking about players aquired through free agency.

Posted by: akjproductions | September 3, 2009 11:46 PM | Report abuse

As a somewhat neutral observer (ie not a Redskins fan) I find this talk about Dan Snyder ruining the Redskins somewhat mystifying. The Skins have gone 157-163 and made the playoffs three times since Snyder took over. In other words they've been almost exactly average (in perhaps the toughest division in football over that time) - hardly the laughingstock of the league.

The Redskins may not be as well run as the Steelers, Colts, Eagles or Patriots but they have that in common with 27 other teams. And who knows - if the Redskins had stumbled into Tom Brady in the sixth round maybe they would have been one of the elite teams of the last decade.

The assertion that for every Archuletta there has been 6 or 7 terrific singings is ridiculous. But for those who are curious (akjproductions), here is the list of Redskins who have made the pro bowl and been acquired since the beginning of the Snyder era.

Acquired via Free Agency (Pro Bowl(s) Made):
Laveranues Coles (2003)
Marcus Washington (2004)
Ethan Albright (2007)

Aquired via Trade:
Santana Moss (2005)
Clinton Portis (2008)

Acquired via Draft:
LaVar Arrington (2001, 2002, 2003)
Chris Samuels (2001, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008)
Sean Taylor (2006, 2007)
Chris Cooley (2007, 2008)


Marco Coleman (1999), Brad Johnson (1999) and Champ Bailey (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003) were all acquired in the Spring of 1999, right before Mr. Snyder became owner.

Posted by: ZachMorris | September 5, 2009 3:19 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company