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Brett Haber tackles the sign ban



The Redskins have spent plenty of energy attacking The Washington Post over the years. I'd suggest that pretty soon they'll need to widen their scope a bit. This two-and-a-half-minute Brett Haber commentary ran on WUSA-9's 6 o'clock broadcast Wednesday night. It loses a little something without the visuals, but I think you can pretty much get the point. Haber's words:

Now, a thought tonight on what we used to think was a partnership between the Redskins and you -- their fans. Lately, it seems less like a partnership and more like a dictatorship, where you pay the taxes in the form of tickets and parking and merchandise and food, but then you have your rights stripped away by the king.

We saw it this Monday at FedEx Field, as any fans who brought signs and posters even remotely critical of the owner, saw those signs confiscated. Even some chants and cheers were silenced by team security, with several fans ejected from the stadium -- not because the chants were obscene or offensive, but because they dared to question the authority of the owner.

Then last night, more of your rights curtailed, as the team declared that fans could no longer speak their minds to television cameras while on FedEx Field property, including the parking lots. The team claimed this rule has been in effect forever, which of course we know and you know is patently untrue. Because, as you can see here, we and every other TV station, including their own TV partners, have interviewed tailgaters at every game since the dawn of time.

[Here the station showed several clips of fan interviews on FedEx Field property - ed.]

We spoke with the NFL tonight and they confirm that no such rules exist on a league-wide basis -- if a team wants to allow signs and interviews with fans, they can.


It is an affront to those who support this team. Dan Snyder will take your money, but he doesn't want to hear your complaints. Ganted, it's his team and his stadium, he can do what he wants, but just in case you're wondering, here's FedEX Field.

[Here the station showed a map of the facility, with the sidewalks tinted yellow - ed.]

Free speech is not allowed anywhere in this picture, but then the Redskins called us and said fans can speak to the media on all the sidewalks we've colored in here. And then we found out those sidewalks are owned by the County, and the Redskins can't control what happens there.

This has becomes a national story; ESPN devoted time to it just this morning. Not that the Redskins have a bad football team -- that's not a crime -- but that their relationship with their fans is deteriorating.

But we think the fan's voice needs to be heard; that's why we're creating a forum for you to say all the things the Redskins won't let you say and all the signs they won't let you display, and we'll put them on TV. Just go to our Web site, WUSA9.com, and click on "Skins Sound-off." Once there, upload photos of your signs, and videos of your chants and songs and cheers and messages, and we'll show them. Because we believe in free speech, and we believe the fans should have a voice, and we believe that one man -- no matter how consumed he might be about controlling his and his team's message -- doesn't really have that power. Owning the team does not mean owning the thoughts of an entire city.

[Also, it doesn't seem like security was particularly effective in confiscating all the signs, huh? - ed.]


By Dan Steinberg  |  October 29, 2009; 9:21 AM ET
Categories:  Media , Redskins  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Around The Horn tackles the sign ban
Next: Flawed execution: The video

Comments

So it seems TV cameras need to set up shop on those county-owned sidewalks and just let fans vent and vent... Great television.

Posted by: BSM1202 | October 29, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Carrying forward for a purpose:

If you check the FEC reports (which you can, just go to their website) Dan Snyder's history of campaign giving is available:

Steve Forbes 1999 $1,000
RNC 1998-2000 $15,000
Frank Wolfe 2004 $4,000
George Allen 2005 $4,200
VA GOP 2005 $5,000
Gridiron-PAC 2008 $5,000
Steny Hoyer 2009 $1,500

Of course, after looking all that up, I found out there's a website that does this too:
http://www.newsmeat.com/sports_political_donations/Daniel_Snyder.php

-----

And that is noting that when you look at the election results for the candidates and parties Snyder threw huge sums of money into, you realize that he's also behind the recent fall of the Republican Party!!!

I am working on a chart to examine the effects of Daniel Snyder on Climate Change, as we speak.

Posted by: Section506 | October 29, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Brett Haber, dean of Washington Sports newscasts (shudder).

Posted by: Section117 | October 29, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

how the puck did the danny get the money for this team anyway... he doesnt seem that business savvy.. its not like he built the skins fan base more like the opposite ..he must have had a ponzi scheme going ...boycott all things Snyder...

Posted by: heathdog1119 | October 29, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

"Bingo Night Football"

Heh. That's pretty good.

Posted by: VTDuffman | October 29, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Brett Haber needs to first and foremost stop showing every freakin' Ravens game like anyone cares but I digress. However, I do appreciate that he is taking part in the revolution and starting to beat his drum. Steinz, you are a bad bad man! Keep up the good work.

Posted by: mjwies11 | October 29, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

If word got out that fans were organizing a walkout for the Saints game, when the team will very likely be 2-9 and even more likely a game they will get smoked like a pack of Newports, would Danny instruct security to not let people leave?

Posted by: cao091402 | October 29, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

This can't be right, Dan.

I mean, I thought it was the Washington Post engaged in this "yellow journalism." You mean WUSA9 is in on the act too? If it weren't for all this "negative" media attention, people would realize that the Redskins are still the top-notch organization they always have been (just... minus winning records, positive stadium experiences, effective leadership, non-complaining players, and regular playoff berths).

Posted by: dek0620 | October 29, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

So glad this issue is getting the attention it deserves. Now Dan Snyder has pissed of the Media in addition to the fans. What a S~!t storm he has invited upon himself.

Posted by: REXskins | October 29, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Kudos to Channel 9, but Joe Krebs isn't that easily impressed.

Posted by: StetSportsBlog | October 29, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Hit Daniel Snyder the only way he understands- money.

BOYCOTT FEDEX! BOYCOTT FEDEX! BOYCOTT FEDEX!

I think it's time we start calling in radio shows, emailing newspapers, and generating publicity that mistreated Redskins fans will make every effort to avoid giving business to Redskins sponsors.

Posted by: wd324 | October 29, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Fine we get it...Snyder [stinks], the Redskins are evil. I think I have now reached my limit and this is now officially piling on after the play is over.

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | October 29, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Dan,

This is great stuff, thanks so much for doing this. I know some of your other regular readers don't like this Redskins content, but I think this stuff is great.

I am a longtime fan that used to think the criticism of Snyder was overdone. I used to say, "it's just a sport, who cares, I'll enjoy just watching no matter what else happens." Now that I see this season playing out the way it is, first with the mishandling of Zorn, then the whole sign ban and other suppression of expression at Fedex field, I am just in shock and awe with this franchise.

Is this what Saddam Hussein felt like in 2003?

Anyway, I am addicted to the trainwreck this organization has become...but I feel apathy at the end of that tunnel in the future. I am already locking up my sweet memories of the Gibbs era I Redskins, and slowly turning my back on the Dan Snyder era.

(sigh)

Posted by: hithere1 | October 29, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Why not send petitions to the NFL's office?

National Football League
280 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10017

Posted by: alex35332 | October 29, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Dan, keep it coming man! Good stuff.

Posted by: FloresFan | October 29, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Talk about repercussions...If snyder had just allowed the signs, bags, & T shirts he wouldn't be getting the attention & onslaught by the NATIONAL media. More importantly he WOULDN'T BE LOSING HIS FANS. Instead we'd just be another bad team.

I remember the walkout @ Camden Yards a few years back, i'd love to do something similar @ Fedex. I have tickets that i can't get rid of either. Is there really a walkout being planned?

Posted by: WheresMyCoffeee | October 29, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

You can call the NFL offices at raise your concerns like I did at-

212-450-2000

Or/and email them at-

your.comments.com

I strongley encourage it as they seem to have no idea there was a problem in DC Monday night.

Dan Steinberg For President

Posted by: Riddler1 | October 29, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

I never thought in my 32 years it would come to this. Redskins fans are some of the most devoted fans, endearing subpar football for the past 17 years, a move to an awful hard to get in/out expensive stadium in MARYLAND, increased ticket, parking and concession prices, and for what?

I stopped watching Skins games 2 weeks ago. I'm done. I will no longer offer any support to this miserable franchise as long as the current management exists.

I divorced the Orioles in 1995 and it felt great, I never looked back. 2009 is my year for the Skins.

GO CAPS!

Posted by: page7 | October 29, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

I never thought in my 32 years it would come to this. Redskins fans are some of the most devoted fans, endearing subpar football for the past 17 years, a move to an awful hard to get in/out expensive stadium in MARYLAND, increased ticket, parking and concession prices, and for what?

I stopped watching Skins games 2 weeks ago. I'm done. I will no longer offer any support to this miserable franchise as long as the current management exists.

I divorced the Orioles in 1995 and it felt great, I never looked back. 2009 is my year for the Skins.

GO CAPS!

Posted by: page7 | October 29, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Promise? Three years from now if the team is in playoff contention you won't be back? I'll believe it when I see it. Considering the Caps have been pretty miserable for their entire existence (in playoff terms) the fact you are still a Caps fan leads me to believe you'll be back when they are winning.

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | October 29, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

If someone went to the game wearing nothing but a giant paper bag that completely covered them so there was nothing indecent about it what so ever, would they still make them take the paper bag off?

Posted by: cjzimm | October 29, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

People should purposely bring poignant signs to the gate of Shred Ex Field. Imagine getting images or video of Shred Ex security confiscating and ripping apart a sign with a US Flag on it. Or sign that says Support Our Troops, Chris Cooley has nice hair. I would even make one that says "Dan Snyder is awesome" just to see security rip it up. I'm going to put a big 6 Flags logo on it too. Just so I can then see it lying in the trash can ripped up.

Posted by: cjzimm | October 29, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

freakinandpeakin, it's not piling on. Until ownership does something to reverse this policy what the Bog is doing is just keeping up the pressure. That's what leads to action. If you don't want to read about it, then don't. I know that I do.

Posted by: rawk | October 29, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

freakinandpeakin = Vinny Cerrato

Posted by: DaleHunter | October 29, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Promise? Three years from now if the team is in playoff contention you won't be back? I'll believe it when I see it. Considering the Caps have been pretty miserable for their entire existence (in playoff terms) the fact you are still a Caps fan leads me to believe you'll be back when they are winning.

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | October 29, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

you miss the point entirely. it's not so much that the team is losing, it's the way they are run. it gives a fan no hope that there would be any playoffs in three years.

the caps have been failures in the playoffs in years past but they have NEVER EVER treated their fans with such disdain and arrogance. even in the dark days during the breakup and lockout, this ownership remained engaged w/ their fans and make sure they were treated like they should be treated...as customers, not adversaries.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | October 29, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Brett Haber for doing this! I live in Richmond but it is great that the local tv media in D.C. is getting on this. I hope Channel 4, Channel 5 and Channel 7 follow suit! Thank you Steinberg for chronicling this, keep the pressure on!

Posted by: templetontherat1978 | October 29, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Huh? Ted Leonsis treated the fans with disdain and arrogance as recently as last summer when he showed everyone on the message boards how little he thought of us. At least Dan Snyder never attacked a fan.

Posted by: FlyersSuck | October 29, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

I find it interesting that all of these attempts to shut down critical expressions towards the team by all manner of media (posters, shirts, etc...) is eerily similar to how the Church of Scientology attacks those who question it's validity , i.e. the press and former members. It is a very similar strong-arm tactic that Scientology uses.

And guess who one of Snyder's bestest friends is? Tom Cruise, the great Scientology crusader for the church. Coincidence? I think not.

Posted by: FusilliJerry1 | October 29, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Some points that may or may not be relevant:

1) The spectacular finances of the team and the vaunted waiting list are obviously bogus at this point. Even Danny isn't stupid enough to sue season ticket holders for no reason. If he really had a waiting list he could not only re-sell those tickets, but also not go through the costly process of litigation. In short, he doesn't have takers for the tix so he is willing to take the bad will and the legal expense to sue fans. Let's assume this is a sign that he is not in the financial shape he or everyone else seems to say he is. Further to this point he got personally crushed on his six flags investment. Complete wipe-out of his equity which was not insubstantial. Consequently, I question his peronsal resources.

2) The key to the censorship is not the league office, the Skins office, it's Federal Express who pay millions for naming rights to a stadium that has a certain Francisco Franco feel to it these days. You want a high profile rebuke, have FedEx break their naming rights contract claiming bad-faith and misreps on the part of the Skins and Danny personally. A boycott of FedEx and dragging them into this mess is a very effective change agent scenario.

3) It is often stated that Danny will only understand a boycott and loss of revenue. This is true but deeper and swifter than anyone realizes. The Skins are highly leveraged and have a lot of limited partners last I knew. Danny is not just cratering the team but the business of the team. And while it is swell when everyone comments on the teams value, that is not a liquid value in todays economy -- it can't easily be borrowed against or refinanced. Consequently, it's not Danny losing money that will get him gone, or at least get him to shut-up, hire a Bill Polian type and do the right thing, but his Board of Directors, Limited Partners and potentially his lenders.

Posted by: charlievox | October 29, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Since Schred Ex Field won't allow signs, I'm bringing my "Sell the Skins to Ted" sign to the Caps game tomorrow night.

Posted by: cjzimm | October 29, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

After immigrating to US and NOVA 34 years ago, I have followed the Redskins unconditionally. As fans may get abusive and outright rude when talking about the Redskins. However, we do live in a country where freedom of speech is a right. With the ban of banners and interviews from FedEx field, I feel like I am in the communist country, in which my family left behind.

Posted by: mdynasty1 | October 29, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

I'll be dressed as Duffman at the Caps game on Friday. And I'm making a sign that reads "Our owner allows signs. We <3 Ted!!!" or something along those lines. Fine tuning the line then making it tonight.

Posted by: TheRealDuffman | October 29, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

@DaleHunter, tell me one thing that I said that was pro Redskins management. All I said was that I feel that the coverage was necessary, but at some point it becomes piling on and for me it has passed that threshold. If you don't feel that way, fine but I do.

@dcsportsfan1: I presume your DC sports fandom has lasted around a decade or less. The poor management of the Caps is historic. Abe Pollin treated the organization like junk. From having the worst hockey team in the history of the NHL in the expansion season, to actually having to have a "Save the Caps" campaign in the early 80s (the Caps were the Phoenix Coyotes of the early 80s), to letting the greatest player to ever play for the organization (up to that point in time), Scott Stevens, walk for some draft picks. So perhaps if you want to start your history in 2004 you are right. Otherwise go sell it to someone else.

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | October 29, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

@FlyerSuck,

You can't tell these people about the negatives of Ted Leonsis, because they don't want to hear it and the Washington Post won't report it.

Steinberg, would you cover the Washington Redskins censoring their message boards? Would you forget the owner assaulted a fan at the arena? Would you let the organization get away with calling fans on unlisted phone numbers to speak with them about things they posted on the message board? I'm sure you would get some great run with that on your bog. To bad you ignore Leonsis doing these things.

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | October 29, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Again and again, Snyder is a despicable scum, a laughing stock but too dumb to know it or accept it. His hubris will never allow him to do the right thing. Since no one is allowed to speak to him first he will never find out how dumb he is.
The only reason he had success in business is that he was handed things as a privileged little boy.

Posted by: redskinfan4life1 | October 29, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

This is the person who will forward on your thoughts to the vp of fedex marketing.
tasha.spight@fedex.com
flood them they have no idea what is going on. revolt revolt revolt.

Posted by: caps67 | October 29, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Go Brett-
This is all a diversion so DC fans won't be upset when he moves the team to Los Angeles. Please all you beloved fans. Pick a game (particularly one nationally broadcast) and leave not at halftime but at the end of the first quarter. Someone at the NFL will get the message.

Posted by: kermiepop | October 29, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Dan Snyder has failed to learn more about football that most people have forgotten.

Even if he fires Vinny and Zorn he's ultimately the guy who will be hiring their replacements. He's already played the Gibbs card,who else can he hire to make everything forgiven?

Posted by: mack1 | October 29, 2009 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Snyder can't ban this sign:
http://fire-snyder-sign.blogspot.com/

Posted by: A1232 | October 29, 2009 6:47 PM | Report abuse

looks like the skins had stuff removed again. what a joke! I am actually starting to hate the skins.

Posted by: capsfansince74 | October 30, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

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