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Dan Snyder remembers growing up a Bullets fan

Daniel M. Snyder stood in a FedEx Field concourse Tuesday afternoon, wearing casual slacks, a Redskins parka and football gloves, and helping distribute around 3,500 turkeys to Prince George's County residents.

It's the sort of event that can help humanize an owner, and I suppose it did, to some extent. One man called out Snyder's name so effusively the owner blushed. Another older woman reached in for the sort of awkward hug we've all been a part of while leaving Great Aunt Bertha's. But as noted below, his post-turkey interaction with the media was sort of uncomfortable and brief and unenlightening, like interviewing a press release in a parka.

About two hours later, after news had broken of Abe Pollin's death, Snyder called into his own radio station - ESPN 980 - and did more to humanize himself than thousands of turkey giveaways could ever accomplish.

"When I was a little kid, we moved to New York for a while," Snyder remembered. "We had an uncle that passed. We lived with my grandmother. And we moved in, and my father was working a little bit in New York, and we would go across the street and get the newspapers that came out in the middle of the night when [the Bullets] were playing Seattle. [ellip] It goes way back. I mean, if you're a Washingtonian, you have to have loved Abe Pollin."

It's the sentiment of the day, and Snyder expressed it well. But it's harder to remember that there was a time - a time that continued until about five minutes before his death - when at least some fans had less kind words for Pollin. They complained about his salary scale. They complained about him changing the team's name and colors. They complained about personnel decisions. They complained about the championship drought.

"Unfair criticism," Snyder said at one point in the interview.

"I think number 1, being in sports now, I have such appreciation for his desire to win," Snyder also said. "The guy was the number 1 fan, and someone that DESPERATELY wanted to bring another championship to Washington, and you have to admire that. He was passionate. He was one of the first people to write me a letter when I first got the team and welcomed me. [ellip] It was very warm. I mean, he understood so well sports, and what it means to the fans."

Host Andy Pollin asked Snyder whether he and Abe Pollin ever discussed being the target of criticism, and while Snyder said they didn't, he said that he knew of the Wizards' owner's famous optimism.

"From my perspective, I think everyone knows how bad I feel for the fans of the Redskins right now," Snyder said. "Obviously we've disappointed everyone. We're REALLY sorry. It is what it is. We've just not performed, but I think from our perspective we'll get this thing going. But right now is a time of grief."

Snyder talked about how Washingtonians would "always, ALWAYS" remember Pollin's role in rebuilding Chinatown despite the "unbelievable risk" involved. He talked about growing up rooting for "The Big E" and "Wes. Basically, he sounded like a lot of other normal D.C. sports fans.

"I've always thought so highly of Abe, even before I owned the Redskins," Snyder said. "He's just been a great part of the community for so long, and a big leader, and someone I've admired. I think it's a real loss for Washington."

By Dan Steinberg  |  November 24, 2009; 6:14 PM ET
Categories:  Redskins , Wizards  
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Next: Agent Zero on Abe Pollin's death

Comments

Damn it Snyder. You win this round.
I don't hate you as much as I did yesterday...

Posted by: CrabHands | November 24, 2009 8:11 PM | Report abuse

RIP Abe but I pray that Dan Snyder is not in your will to buy the Wizards!

Posted by: pongva27 | November 24, 2009 8:19 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to get crucified for this, but I listened to the interview live and was very turned off. Did he sound sincere with his mumbling words? Yes, he actually did. But I also found it to be a very ironic time for Danny Boy to call into 980. I mean, when is the last time he went on air with Andy and Czabe about anything? Um, never. So why call in now? So before I say this remember that I did say that he sounded sincere with his words, but I also think he used this as an opportunity to go on air to come across as a good guy with kind words. He used this as an opportunity to do damage control and I think that is in poor taste. I also found it very interesting that he couldn't really go into details about their "close" relationship. He couldn't even give Andy an example of a time they spent together and instead talked about growing up as a Bullets fan. If Danny Boy had some compelling personal story about him and Abe I'd be marching to a different drum, but he didn't. Therefore, and even though I still think he feels bad, I think he also went on air to try to sway his own public opinion poll... and that rubbed me the wrong way. Just my 2 cents. Have at me.

Posted by: RickyBobby | November 24, 2009 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Some of you are evil!

Snyder will NEVER do anything right by you. The man was merely expressing his feelings for Abe Pollin and what he meant to him. I heard the whole interview and thought he was sincere.

Snyder is a poor owner with no record of winning but he's attacked in times when there should be a truce!

Posted by: rickyroge | November 24, 2009 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Times like this are why I had an issue with the dark heart assessment. In some of the saddest times for Washington sports fans, Dan has been nothing but class. It's little things that remind us that he is one of us, with some of the same experiences.

Posted by: DocHolliday1906 | November 24, 2009 8:44 PM | Report abuse

RickyBobby, I agree. He NEVER speaks to the media, so what makes him think that anyone cares what he thought of Abe?

But I won't crucify you or Danny the Boy Blunder for it.

Posted by: Leeguru | November 24, 2009 8:49 PM | Report abuse

The only thing I want to hear from Snyder at this point is:

"I have made the decision to relieve Vinny Cerrato from his duties and hire ________ as the General Manager. I realize now that I need to step away from the day to day football operations in order for this team to be successful and will now only fulfill a support role for ________ and his coach _________. Hail to the Redskins."

Let me know when he calls into 980 with that. Otherwise, who cares what he has to say?

Posted by: keino83 | November 24, 2009 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Ok, here's where I would BLAST Andy and Czabe if they didn't address some of the issues with him (even if he didn't answer).

They may have been told that's off limits but then they should have passed interview over to Frank Hanrahan or something.

Posted by: nojunk4me | November 24, 2009 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Who he is and what he is don't matter in this instance. This doesn't need to be about him or thought of as sinister. This is about remembering a man who changed DC sports and helped make DC what is is now.

Posted by: sitruc | November 25, 2009 12:03 AM | Report abuse

Abe Pollin's passing leaves big shoes to fill, and Snyder is nowhere close to filling them. Pollin wasn't wins and losses, but so much more.

I'll criticize Snyder for bunches of things, but not this. Snyder is one of very few people in the DC area that knows what it is like to own a DC sports franchise -- and I'm glad he gave his perspective because its one that no one else in the area could have given.

Posted by: zcezcest1 | November 25, 2009 12:42 AM | Report abuse

I listened to him speak and thought that this was not about Abe... it was about Danny Boy! The comments about trying so hard to win title, caring so much and undo criticism. He was talking about the person he cares the most about.. HIMSELF.

Alligator tears!

Abe rest in peace.

Posted by: mb15 | November 25, 2009 8:26 AM | Report abuse

RIP Abe but I pray that Dan Snyder is not in your will to buy the Wizards!

Posted by: pongva27 | November 24, 2009 8:19 PM

*****************************************

I believe Ted Leonsis has a first option to buy the Wizards; it was included as part of their deal for the Capitals a decade ago.

Posted by: greggwiggins | November 25, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

I love the headline: "Dan Snyder remembers growing up a Bullets fan" Too bad he grew up a Redskins fan, too, otherwise maybe he would have bought a different team to ruin.

Posted by: MrMerkin | November 25, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Frankly, Snyder and Pollin share the bond of both being absolutely horrible owners. Snyder has run a premium franchise right into the ground. Pollin has a record of futility that few can match if you combine all the years he owned the Bullets/Wiz and the Caps. Pollin can be commended for his philanthropy and civic vision. But he was a terrible owner.

Posted by: poguesmahone | November 25, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse


The only thing I want to hear from Snyder at this point is:

"I have made the decision to relieve Vinny Cerrato from his duties and hire ________ as the General Manager. I realize now that I need to step away from the day to day football operations in order for this team to be successful and will now only fulfill a support role for ________ and his coach _________. Hail to the Redskins."

Let me know when he calls into 980 with that. Otherwise, who cares what he has to say?

Posted by: keino83 | November 24, 2009 10:30 PM |
-----------------------

Yes, either this or "I'm selling the team." Frankly a sale would be vastly preferable.

Posted by: Pepper5 | November 25, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Unless he says this:

"I have made the decision to relieve Vinny Cerrato from his duties and hire _Joe Theismann_______ as the General Manager. I realize now that I need to step away from the day to day football operations in order for this team to be successful and will now only fulfill a support role for __Joe______ and his coach _Jim Zorn________. Hail to the Redskins."

Posted by: buster_c | November 25, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

The only thing I want to hear from Snyder
"I have made the decision to relieve Vinny Cerrato from his duties and hire _Chris Polian_ as the General Manager. I realize now that I need to step away from the day to day football operations in order for this team to be successful and will now only fulfill a support role for _Chris Polian_ and his coach _?????__. Hail to the Redskins."

Posted by: Sal_Tynuts | November 25, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

RickyBobby +1. Hit the nail on the head. That 980 continues to run excerpts of DarkHeart's comments as segment bumps only reinforces this theory.

poguesmahone -1.
Ring Count: Pollin 1 DarkHeart 0
Also changing the team name to something less offensive: P-1, D-0.

Posted by: rdpinva | November 25, 2009 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Sorry RDPINVA: Pollin was a bad owner. His record is atrocious and particularly since the late 1970's. If charitable giving and building arenas in slums floats your boat, fine. But it doesn't make a great sports team owner. Wins and championships do. And old Abe failed miserably on that score given that he had 75 seasons to try between the Wiz/Bullets and Caps. As for changing the name, that was lame brained and not one of Abe's better moments. Thankfully, Snyder has bigger stones.

Posted by: poguesmahone | November 26, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

check out the latest news

http://www.csnwashington.com/pages/landing_wizards/?blockID=94704&feedID=2994

Posted by: nattylite88 | November 27, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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