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Hail on the Redskins!

Our Readers Who Comment are not cheering the Redskins this morning as they ponder the story of real estate agent Pat Hall, a fan whose income tanked in the recent unpleasantness and who thus could not meet her $5,300 contractual commitment for seats at Fed-Ex Field and who was sued successfully by the Skins for $66,364.

As James V. Grimaldi writes, "Hill is one of 125 season ticket holders who asked to be released from multiyear contracts and were sued by the Redskins in the past five years."

Many readers wonder why the Skins didn't just resell the tickets. A few, forgetting the there-but-for-the-grace-of-God issue, say people like Pat Hill shouldn't buy stuff they can't afford. But the overwhelming majority take shots at Dan Snyder, the Redskins owner. It's not clear from some of the comments whether they are angrier about the lawsuits or the fact the Skins haven't exactly been stellar under Snyder.

We'll start with KidTJ, who pretty well summed up in a few words the major points made by our readers in writing, "Awesome reporting, great great stomach turning story. How can we keep rooting for this team? Don't know."

g-lo said, "There are literally thousands of others who would readily purchase these season tickets. How can this be seen as anything other than Snyder scalping the fans just because he can? It is ironic that Dan Snyder and the Redskins are scalping their own family to make a buck."

fleeciewool asked, "If there's a waiting list for tickets, how is it economical to sue people who don't pay? For "planning purposes" the team can assume the seats will be filled by someone."

allknowingguy was one of a few who righteously blamed the victim, writing, "I see a lot of people buying something they can't afford, signing contracts they don't even try to understand, then crying for help when it all comes crashing down. Same as the mortgage mess. Live within your means, people!"

nwachai added, "No sympathy for these folks at all. I can't imagine folking out $5300 for this kind of luxury!"

karlanne1 wrote, "Is Dan Snyder really so financially stressed that he has to ruin people's lives? Shame on him. Time for a new owner who has some respect for his community."

matrox said, "Wow..what a way to treat hard core fans who are down on there luck. The real test is will these fans be stupid enough to continue to be fans?"

Ombudsman1 wrote, "People, consider this:
Danny is a rich man. Rich beyond our wildest dreams. And he owns an NFL football team, something most of us would love to own...The team has stunk ever since this person owned it. So stop giving this person money. Every dollar you give him goes to an evil purpose. I invite the post to stop covering him or his team. He's really despicable."

Stejay1 said, "This situation reinforces a long-held personal belief: Redskins fans are chumps! They get sued by the team. They have to pay for parking because the team illegally (and underhandedly) closes crosswalks. They lose festivity due to new restrictions on tailgating. AND the management of the team they profess to love has put out a mediocre product for more than 10-years..."

kkkk1 wrote, "while the post is going a bit overboard in its slant (you found the grandma bankrupted by the skins, and the mentally handicapped guy--couldn't you find a single mom as well?) the horrid short term revenue chasing by the skins is quite distasteful. as a follow up, the post shoudl track down what became of the 200 seats that it had to give up when the skins cancelled them. are these now premium seats?"

PostToastie wrote, "...The Skins used to be about Hogs, now they're about a pig... I've moved on, still treasuring the exciting memories of the Skins of yestrday but realizing this is a new era in which the Skins are run by an uninformed tyrant who hasn't won anything on the field and isn't likely to do so."

jimarush said, "If I were a Washington Redskin fan which thank God I am not I would boycott Redskins games until the management located a heart...They sell so many tickets to opposing teams at the expense of their fans that they lose home field advantage. They sue "as a last resort" their loyal fans...The Native Americans should sue the Redskins for slander and defamation of character."

InexperienceKills suggested that "Obama should order a Redskins stimulus bill requiring the richest fans to pay for the illegal welfare granny's tickets! Redskins tickets are a RIGHT!!!"

We'll close with loved1, who saw both sides in writing, "These people were adults who knowingly signed long-term contracts for unnecessary expensive luxury items. That was a huge gamble on their parts . . . . HOWEVER, Just when I didn't think the Redskins franchise could sink any lower and show any more contempt for their fans. Wow!..."

All comments on this article are here.

By Doug Feaver  |  September 3, 2009; 6:54 AM ET
 | Tags: Redskins, Snyder  
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Comments

It is with great sadness and relief that after more than 40 years my family has decided not to renew our Redskins season tickets. It is with sadness because I have always been a loyal fan and will remain loyal to the Redskin tradition. It is with relief that I will no longer withdraw money from my savings account in February for a fall football schedule that is still unannounced and pay for preseason seats that I cannot give away. It is with relief that I will not be left with unused Redskins tickets that I cannot sell at Stub Hub or elsewhere. It is with satisfaction that I will no longer support ill-advised, overpaid draft picks and trades and help to pay the salaries of multi-millionaires. It is with solace that hours stuck in traffic getting to and from Landover, Maryland can be better spent with my family. Ownership has made it very apparent over the years that fans are only appreciated for their revenue stream. My contribution had to stop. I’ll watch the games this season from home.

Posted by: ktjbetty | September 7, 2009 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Welcome to the new normal, the new and improved American way. Wall Street brokers, bankers, corporate execs and law makers collecting big dollar salaries and bonuses for what is at best described as less than spectacular performances that lead to the current economic mess and continue on without penalty - so why buck the trend. According to recent news reports contracting companies are being investigated for paying money for protection to the Talhiban. Essentially funding the enemy to avoid their personnel being harmed or their projects being bombed - nevermind they are also funding the same enemy that is killing US military personnel. This is the paradiagm the new business world works on - by whatever means necessary make as much money as possible all the time every time regardless as to the impact it has on people. People would rather continue to have large segments of the population un or under insured with limited or no access to health care and pay hidden costs for the uninsured to allow the profit making companies to make money at the expense of others. Failing to recognize that illnesses such as H1N1 attack people equally without regard to health insurance status and that that illness can and will be spread - helping those who can't afford health care upfront in the long run protects everyone and lowers the cost. It is easier and cheaper to prevent an outbreak than manage and clean up after an outbreak. Clearly no lessons have been learned from the numerous mistakes of the past - greed and self serving self interest above all others is still the model. The franchise is merely following the current business model.

Posted by: SMH3 | September 4, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

I was a diehard 'Skins fan from kindergarten through college until I graduated in '99. I always found the Cowboys easy to despise, not because of the historical rivalry, but because of Jerry Jones and his antics.

It didn't take me to realize that Snyder is a lot worse than Jones. I cannot support the 'Skins anymore just on sheer principles.

Posted by: Longgoneposter | September 4, 2009 7:56 AM | Report abuse

another sad, pitiful day for the redskins franchise. has another team ever stooped so low as to sue its fans? someone should sue the team for the mediocre product that has been stinking up the d.c. area for years now. i am a PROUD ravens fan and it gives me great glee to see the 'skins sneak up I-95 and get smashed every year...a trend that will happily continue...suing fans is ludicrous; especially given that the owner is filthy rich and the team certainly does not need the money....just raise parking fees, limit bus access even more, raise the price of concessions and deal with it...it is not a good time to be a 'skins fan, what with the losing attitude, lack of leadership, terrible ownership and overpaid, underproducing athletes who spend more time doing eastern motors commercials than they do trying to establish a WINNING team....long ago i said, hail WITH the redskins.....

Posted by: drum7591 | September 3, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

The pertinent state attorney general should investigate the Redskins for civil and/or criminal fraud. Why? Because the Redskins appear to be using bait and switch tactics up-sell premium tickets to some gullible fans.

When a person inquires about availability of tickets, they are told the waiting list is very long, but expensive premium seats are available. When lower and upper bowl season tickets do become available, instead of offering them to fans on the waiting list, the 'Skins sell the seats to ticket brokers at above face value. These tactics appear to be a scam to create an artificial scarcity for purposes of pressuring fans to buy the more expensive product. That makes out a prima facie case of fraud.

To make it even worse, the Redskins appear to be preying on fans who have a limited understanding of their legal rights. When they cannot afford to pay, they become easy pickings for the Redskins to collect lucrative default judgments. I believe the story has only begun to unravel and even if a fraud investigation doesn't pan out, the PR scandal is immense. This is a huge story. Kudos to the Post.

Posted by: Anonymoose | September 3, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Boycott now!

Posted by: bs2004 | September 3, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

No, ged0386, you're wrong - they can win, but I won't be watching. In the glory years of Joe Gibbs' first era I admired the way the team was run, coached, and played on the field - a clean-playing, hard-fighting team (during Joe Gibbs II I admired the coach and rooted for the team in spite of the owner). Can you imagine Jack Kent Cooke suing fans? He would just have sold the tickets to another customer and moved on.

But we know your theory won't be tested. They won't win, because Snyder's immature, impulsive, crass management style will never allow him to build a successful team. They will miss the playoffs this year, Snyder will fire Zorn, Jason Campbell will sign with another team, Snyder will flail about trying to get a big-name coach and QB, and 2 years from now things will be the same.

Posted by: justnowaformerskinsfan | September 3, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Must be selective editing because all I see listed is negative comments. No issue is ever one sided and the slant of this newspaper is totally against the Redskins.

Its kind of pathetic. Every business holds you accountable when you sign a contract, but since its the Redskins somehow they are considered different???

If I ordered the Post for a year and didn't pay my bill would the Post come after me or just find another buyer????

Posted by: punchdaclock | September 3, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

It is time (or will be this Christmas) for the Ghost of Jack Kent Cooke to pay a late night visit to mister Snyder. After his "I wear the chain I forged in life" speech Mr. Cooke will anounce that Snyder will be visited by 3 spirits, the Ghosts of Redskins Past, Present, and Yet to Come. The Past Ghost, a Riggo-esque looking spirit will take Danny on a tour of the 40's Baugh era, the thrilling Jurgy 60's, the George Allen 70's, and finally the Gibbs glory.

"Present" a spectral Zorn, will then take Danny through last seasons lowlights.

Finally, the grim reaper-esque "Future" clad in Burgundy and Gold robes will show him a half empty stadium, the Skins down 27 - 7 to the Eagles at halftime, the Post sports page ("1 - 8 Skins Blacked Out Again") and finally, his balance sheet for a 200 M payroll, the highest in the league.

Then, Danny will wake up, drop his lawsuits and send turkeys and apology notes to everyone he is suing, then call Bob Cratchet, actually no, Vinnie Cerrato into is office. "Merry Christmas Vinnie...your fired!!!!" Thus happily ends our Redskins Christmas Carol

Posted by: jack_mo_99 | September 3, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Once more Danny Boy defacates on loyal Reskins fans and still there are some who sit there and open their mouths wider and say "Please Sir, More!"

I'm beginning to think it's past time to start looking for another team to support. And to those who say that's it's just because they're a loosing team I say no. It has to do with class and respect, two qualities that Dan Snyder doesn't have. But he will keep doing this same kind of thing over and over as long as fans continue shoveling money as fast as they can at him.

And to those criticizing people who lost their jobs and can't afford to pay for these tickets, I so glad that you have an iron-clad gaurantee that you will never loose your jobs that you can be so judgemental.

Posted by: dre7861 | September 3, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

I think every Redskins season ticket holder should show up with paper bags on their heads imprinted with Snyder Sucks on their foreheads. I won't easily forget the image of poor Pat Hall in tears after Dan Snyder mugged her for her last dime.

Posted by: KJD1138 | September 3, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Snyder is the Bernie Madoff of the NFL. What happenned to our once proud franchise? Sad days. Snyder is a greedy, evil man

Posted by: chamidi | September 3, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

humbleandfree

If the skins go 8-0 you will be at the game with a brand new Orakpo jersey on buying a 10 dollar beer singing hail to the redskins. Give me a break. You dont like them because they are not winning, thats it. The only thing less consistent that DC sports teams are the fans. I am a skins fan but I have to say Pittsburgh fans are better because they stick with their team even when they dont win. Skins fans could learn something from them. When the steelers came here last year they were no lock for the playoffs or superbowl but their fans supported them. They had about the same record as the skins at that time.

Posted by: ged0386 | September 3, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Been a lifelong Skins fan, but the way Snider treats fan...and his greed...make me think seriously about adopting the Ravens. The Napoleonic idiot is so far removed from Jack Kent Cooke.

Posted by: jamajams | September 3, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

All of you are big phonys. If the skins finished last year 13-3 made the playoffs or went to the superbowl you would be telling those people who were sued though sh**!! The main reason there is so much discontent with snyder and the organization is based on them not being consistent winners. Do you think fans would be saying sell the team if the skins were playing the steelers in last years superbowl?

Posted by: ged0386 | September 3, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Hell to the Redskins! In the last 18 years
the team is 29 games under 500 including 10 years of dan snyder. The ONLY constant over these 10 years is dan snyder...THAT SAYS IT ALL about why this organization is a huge failure on and off of the field!

Posted by: rrlyon131 | September 3, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Snyder, when you manage a business that requires a large fan base, it might behoove you to treat those fans with appreciation. And remember, these are the same fans that eagerly promote, tweet, and bring energy to a team that would have otherwise gone unnoticed.

Posted by: jules82va | September 3, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Dan $nyder is almost as heart warming as a school bus on fire. Almost.

Posted by: cjzimm | September 3, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

What do you expect from a team that clings to the most racist name in any sports league and fans who tolerate that smear?

Posted by: steveconn1 | September 3, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Are the ticketing policies of an NFL team really front-page newsworthy? This story has been the lead on the website for more than 24 hours already. Anyway, who among us is shocked at the revelation that the Redskins do not have a 20 year waiting list for season tickets?

Posted by: member8 | September 3, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

I bled burgundy and gold for over 30 years & was pround to be a Skins fan--they were a class organization who treated fans well and didn't hire thugs to play for them.

Well, thanks to Snyder and Co. changing all of that, first with the hiring of Haynesworth and now suing ticket-holders hit by the recession (when they could just as easily sell them to the multitudes on the waiting list), I'm done with this organization--at least as long as this regime runs it.

Thanks, Danny!!!!!

Posted by: bushbad1 | September 3, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

I grew up as a Redskins fan, but I have had it with Snyder squeezing every single last dollar out of the fan base. This is the last straw for me. I know it's only half a of a percent, but come on, Snyder, you're running a profitable billion-dollar business! And suing corporations is one thing, but individual fans is another. Hmm...what's this thought emanating from the back of my mind? The hope that these Redskins lose every **** game...yes, even to the Cowboys. Anyone who roots for this team anymore is a mug.

Posted by: justnowaformerskinsfan | September 3, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

This is just asinine! If the Redskins really DO have a waiting list of 160,000 adoring fans waiting to buy up these coveted tickets, why don't they just sell them to those morons instead of going after old ladies who have fallen on hard times??!! Sure, she signed a legal contract and is legally obligated, but c'mon! Cut these people a break and just resell the damn tickets to someone who wants them.
I took my family to ONE Redskins game several years ago and vowed after that debacle to never go to another one. The stadium is filled with drunken, foul-mouthed jerks who spill beer all over you, and their husbands are even worse.
No thanks, I'll take my family to the Nat's games or drive up to Baltimore for the Ravens or Orioles where the entire atmosphere and crowd is much cleaner, never to another Redskins game.

Posted by: djohnson5 | September 3, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I always laugh when I see that giant ring of empty, bright yellow club seats on TV during game day. Maybe it's time for the Redskins to admit that the club seats are a failure and lower the prices or get rid of them altogether.

As for the lawsuits, that's just a terrible idea for a business that relies so much on PR and community goodwill. It's not a quesion of whether they have the legal right to sue (they clearly do), but whether it's a good idea for them to do it. You'd think their PR people would have told them that this would make the paper eventually. Heck, doesn't Dan Snyder have a communications background? You'd think he would know this stuff already.

Posted by: acoberst1 | September 3, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

I see the rationale of protecting the sanctity of a contract on behalf of the 'Skins, but I don't think it's a very PR-savvy way of doing business. It was only a matter of time before this was publicized. As others have said, if they can sell the seats off extremely easily, then why not just save the PR nightmare that this has created and cancel the contract? If someone unrealistically signed up for a 10 year contract and the 'Skins try to collect on all 10 years, do they reasonably expect that to happen? Greed is the name of the game - nobody should be shocked.

As for the "victims", I think it's crazy on any level to sign up for paying that kind of money for 6-10 years. Unless you're in the small population of people who are secured for life financially, are you willing to risk your future for the sake of your favorite football team?

Frankly, I've never seen the appeal in spending the money to go to these games regularly. I've been a huge football fan all my life, and I enjoy routine weekends with buddies grilling on my deck and watching on a large HDTV. For the a FRACTION of the price of a single season ticket (in the cheap seats, no less), I can purchase one of the largest HDTVs out there (every year, if I so choose), drink cheap beer, watch the game from a climate controlled house, have my own personal bathroom, avoid being puked on (with rare drunken-buddy exceptions), prop my feet up on my couch, sleep till 5 minutes before the game starts....the list is endless.

What a sad day when the richest franchise in sports feels like it has to do this to its fans.

Posted by: SkinsFan282 | September 3, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Wow, what a love fest. Skins and their fans are like the married couple you always avoid; you just want to throw up your hands and say, they deserve each other. Bur clearly there's at least one exception:

Pretty disturbing the one fan who claims he signed up for one season, only to have a ticket rep unilaterally extend his contract to six seasons. The motive for this is obvious: the agent that peddled/processed the plan gets a huge commission for doing nothing. The name for this is also obvious: fraud. And a corp. which employs agents like that has no business suing anybody.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | September 3, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Isn't it telling that Danny Boy sends his mouthpiece Donovan out to take the heat, but doesn't have the guts to step up and take responsibility or explain the team's philosophy or policies on tickets.

Posted by: flwood2341 | September 3, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

While the Redskins are suing people for breach of contract, why not take a look at those who are allegedly playing for the team? For example, while they've been paying Jason Campbell millions of dollars each season to allegedly run the offense --which is more than many fans make in an entire lifetime -- he still can't seem to be bothered to learn how to make his reads, complete a pass longer than 10 yards, or move the offensive unit down the field to score. And while that's all perfectly acceptable to team officials, they'll sick their lawyers to go after some poor little old lady who has fallen on hard times... Disgraceful!

Posted by: Vic1 | September 3, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

you're cheering for a team that uses a racial slur as it's name and you're shocked by the behavior of the owner.

wow. the fans are dumber then the owner.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | September 3, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

I was on the season ticket list for 10 years and finally my number came up in 2006. I was elated and immediately signed up and paid my fee for general admission seats. Little did I know that this did not include parking and there was a separate wait for parking passes. I was then forced to ride in the cattle cars to and from the staduium which completely deflated the experience. I thoroughly enjoyed waiting in the cattle chute for 45 minutes with a thousand fans usually after a loss and then sitting on a bus for an additional half hour, all the while smelling diesel fumes and vomit from the drunkards in the back of the bus. Needless to say I enjoyed the games but hated rest of the experience. I love the Redskins and always will. No owner can take that away from me. I have to say that Redskins losses have taken on a new double meaning for me. I wish they'd win but when they frequently lose I can tak e a small measure of pleasure knowing that Mr. Snyder might be hurting. Thanks for illuminating the "money first" approach of our owner and giving just me a little more solace when the Skins go down as they usually will.

Posted by: williams7718 | September 3, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Dan Snyder in my opinion was, is, and will always be about nothing but the money. If he ever awakens from his money induced coma he will feel great shame for his actions.

Posted by: laramy1 | September 3, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

I was on the waiting list for the season tickets for 14 years before the opportunity presented itself to purchase them in 2001. I had them for 5 years and after many frustrating seasons, I did not see the value and gave them up 2 years ago. Every time I called to try to improve my seats while I had them, they tried to sell me the club seats. After reading the article in the post and the claim of the Redskins that they have about 160K fans on their waiting list, it made me think about the letter I received from them about 3 months ago offering me the EXACT 4 TICKETS THAT I GAVE UP 2 YEARS AGO with parking pass. Wait a minute if there is such a demand for these tickets, then why 2 years later you offer me the exact tickets. I think Snyder is running the team like a cold call marketers you get a call from at dinner time trying to sell you something. It is the culture of business that comes from the top. Whether he personally knows about it or not is irrelevant. Plus I am a lot more comfortable watching them on my HDTV at home and be able to change the channel when they stink up the joint (which is very often) instead of being stuck in the stadium and having to deal with the traffic of getting out of the stadium.

Posted by: ali10 | September 3, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

I've been a Skins fan since 1972 when I was nine years old living in Kentucky at the time as an Army Brat. I've been to more than 100 games at RFK and Fedex Field. While I have great memories at RFK because there were incredible teams to play in that stadium, let's be realistic, RFK was old and outdated, stunk like a filthy bathroom, and was the smallest in the league. I was reminded of the smell when I went to a Nats game in their first year in town.

Fedex Field on the other hand is modern, clean, and has a lot of amenities that RFK could only dream of offering.

The big difference I find between to two stadiums is based on this fact. The Skins have stunk up the joint on the playing field for almost the entire time they've been playing at Fedex. Therefore, the atmosphere is not the same. It's not a bad stadium, it's a bad team playing there. Simple as that.

As for these past two articles in the Post, I can relate in s small way.

I was on the Redskins season ticket waiting list for more than 10 years and this year I received a letter that my number was up.

Naturally I was excited.

So, I called to buy tickets and asked the lady who answered the phone which seats are available. I was told that I don't get to pick the seats. I was told that the Redskins assign them through a lottery.

I thought I was hearing things. I get to spend thousands of dollars on tickets, parking, food & drink and I don't get to picket where I sit.

Are you you crazy I asked. I told them thanks but no thanks as I didn't want to buy seats that I might not like.

On the other hand, I could have purchased Club Seats years ago, and I can afford them, even in today's economy. Yes, I feel fortunate. I cannot see; however, paying $1000 or more per ticket, unlike those who are in the situations mentioned in the article.

They made bad economic choices, even when the cash was flowing for them.

On the flip side, the Redskins are practicing business death. I would never, ever treat my customers as they apparently are doing, even if they have the right by saying "I have a signed contract".

That is BS.

When I read that Mr. Donovan says he is not aware of a persons case, he is either lying his butt off, or showing how poorly his business and leadership skills are by being uninformed of the goings on in his own department.

Shame on Mr Donovan and Mr. Snyder for allowing this practice of suing fans to take place and shame on those fans who were not wise to refrain from spending that kind of money on tickets.

I can tell you this, the view of the games from home and as seen on my HDTV is better than the traffic, any $500, or $1000 seat, not to mention the $8 hot dogs and $8 beers at Fedex or RFK if the Skins stilled played there.

Posted by: mjbrooks1963 | September 3, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

I've attended many a Skins game over the years. Of course, those at RFK were MUCH more fun. FEDEX sucks as a place to go ... and the Skins have been mediocre at best (though Darryl Green's last game, a victory over Dallas, was sweet). I'm not going to anymore games at FEDEX, not buying anymore Skins merchandise, and not holding my calendar hostage to Skins playing times. I've had it with Dan Snyder and the money first, fans last approach!

Posted by: humbleandfree | September 3, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

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