Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Conservationist's Guide to Hating Redskins Owner Daniel Snyder

Don't watch football? Maybe you don't even follow sports? It's OK - if you care at all about the environment, sustainability or conservation, you can still hate Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder.

When The Green Miles moved to the DC area nine years ago, I put myself on the Redskins season ticket waiting list, figuring that by the time my name came up, I'd be following the home team. But when my spot came up several years back, I realized that while I consider myself a Nationals fan and follow both the Wizards & Capitals ... I kinda hate the Redskins.

It's nothing against their players, coaches or fans. It's that they have one of the worst owners in professional sports (bad owners must thank their lucky stars every day for the continued existence of Donald Sterling, far & away the worst owner).

Daniel Snyder possesses an amazing ability to make Redskins fans hate themselves for caring about his team. Making the same mistakes in building a team, over & over. Getting caught squeezing every last cent out of his customers, over & over. And within Washington City Paper writer Dave McKenna's indispensable (and now infamous) The Cranky Redskins Fan's Guide to Daniel Snyder, we find plenty of reasons for conservationists to hate The Danny, too.

Daniel Snyder vs. Pedestrians

"Whaddya mean you couldn't walk into the stadium??" People are always dumbfounded when they hear Daniel Snyder once had pedestrians banned. It's like a perfect storm of nonsense & evil:
Safety: Bogus excuse used to get a ban on pedestrian traffic into FedExField on game days in 2000. After a class action lawsuit alleged that the ban was really intended to increase parking revenues at the stadium, the ban was overturned. In 2007, Snyder again cited safety to get offsite parking banned by the town council in Agawam, Mass., home of Six Flags New England. Parking rates at the theme park tripled after his 2005 takeover of Six Flags. When the Agawam council learned about the earlier pedestrian-safety controversy at FedEx, it undid the ban.
Yes, Daniel Snyder thinks pedestrians are bad for business. All that free, zero-carbon travel keeps Snyder from charging up to $35 for parking! (On top of their generic stadium being inconveniently located, the Redskins Fan Cost Index is 9th-highest in the league.)

What about Metro? When a federal rules change meant WMATA couldn't provide service, the Redskins refused to provide bus service. Granted, it's only a 20 minute walk, and with game-day traffic, the Metro bus didn't make it there any faster, so taking a pass on the shuttle wasn't unreasonable.

What WAS ridiculous was the reason the Redskins gave: The shuttle would've been too expensive. That's right - the team with an annual operating income of $104 million couldn't spare a few bucks to give fans a ride to Metro. That'd mean one less ivory back scratcher for Daniel Snyder!

Daniel Snyder vs. Trees

What good is having a mansion overlooking the Potomac River if there are hundreds of vertical structures blocking your view down the hill?
Unobstructed View: What Snyder wanted of the Potomac River from the back of his Montgomery County home. To accomplish this, he cut down trees protected by the National Park Service. The episode marked one of the rare times Snyder got crisis PR help. He retained Mike Sitrick, who helped with damage control for the Michael Jackson family after the pop star’s death and Paris Hilton after one of her arrests.
Snyder paid a $37,000 settlement & re-planted new trees, but with no old growth trees to hold the soil in place, erosion has killed many of the new trees. As of 2010 - six years after Snyder's original tree-cutting - the hill was still in disrepair.

Daniel Snyder vs. The Air We Breathe

The Redskins conservation program seems to consist entirely of some recycling & using products made of recycled or environmentally-friendly material. Which would be awesome, if this was 1979.

Meanwhile, the Redskins' division rival Philadelphia Eagles are blowing the Redskins' meager efforts away - using 100% clean energy, planting trees, and recycling more than three times as much annual waste as the Redskins do.

We're in an era when even Fenway Park has solar panels. Yet according to the Redskins' website, the team is  doing nothing on clean energy or local environmental outreach.

Worse yet, Daniel Snyder & the Redskins are major contributors to Republicans who deny we need to do anything about global warming, from George W. Bush to Bob McDonnell to Frank Wolf.

Daniel Snyder vs. The First Amendment

To punish the Washington City Paper & Dave McKenna, Daniel Snyder is threatening to sue City Paper & is demanding McKenna be fired. As has pointed out, with the lawsuit's shaky factual basis, the McKenna demand may be a tell - Snyder may be looking for retribution against a journalist whose reporting has cost Snyder money.

If you don't think billionaires should be able to bully news organizations whose accurate reporting casts them in an unflattering light, consider making a donation ($10? $25? $50?) to the Washington City Paper's Legal Defense Fund.

And for all the latest on the lawsuit, follow Deadspin's We Are All Dave McKenna series.

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