Back when news of the Dan Snyder lawsuit against City Paper first broke, the topic was never raised on Tony Kornheiser’s ESPN 980 radio show. That seemed odd, seeing as how Tony Kornheiser’s ESPN 980 radio show is largely devoted to the topics of D.C. sports and D.C. media.
Well, the story is back in the news this week thanks to Dan Snyder’s op-ed announcing a re-filed lawsuit, and this time, Kornheiser decided to dip his toe in the water. This comes from the second half of Tuesday morning’s show.
“I’m going to be dismissive of this, but I’m not gonna force anyone else to be as dismissive as I am,” Kornheiser began. “I have not talked about this before, and I’m gonna talk about it now, briefly. I’m gonna preface it by saying that there are two companies that provide me with the economic opportunity that I’ve had in recent years, which has been very beneficial to me. And in the words of my colleague Bomani Jones, I’m not gonna mess around with where the money comes from ok?
“One of the places the money comes from is Red Zebra, which is owned by Dan Snyder, this radio station, ok? And the other is ESPN. And I’ve been told in no uncertain terms by a variety of people, do not say stuff about the places where you work, so you need to understand that, that I am reluctant to be enormously expansive on certain things that jeopardize my well being. Not yours. No, do what you want about your well being; this is what I do about mine.”
Kornheiser proceeded to read most of Snyder’s piece, with a few interjections here and there. Then he finally offered his actual opinion.
“Let me say that my own opinion about this is that this lawsuit, in its various forms, has given this particular story life that it could never have had before,” Kornheiser said. “Life that it could never have had before. So at this point, I’m sort of willing to believe that the only reason for continuing this thing is out of some sort of principle having to do with Dan Snyder’s view of the world.
“This is what I would say — and I’m not gonna stop Liz [Clarke] or David [Aldridge] from saying anything — but my comment would be I would not bring this lawsuit. I would not have brought this lawsuit. I would not continue the lawsuit. I think it’s a losing proposition to do so. I think when you are a public figure there are things that are bothersome and they sort of come with the territory.
“There are people that have sued and won, National Enquirer sorts of things. They have done that. Very, very few. If you can prove this, if you can prove just recklessness and malice, then go for it. Me? I would not have done this. You’re free to talk.”
“I’m not employed by this radio station or Red Zebra, I’m here out of my personal affection for Tony,” said Clarke, a former Redskins beat writer and my Post colleague. “That aside, I mean, I find it an appalling lawsuit. Short-sighted. Bullying. The editorial did nothing to make me feel differently. For starters, yes, it just sort of draws attention to a story that seemingly upset him so much, so I don’t see the point of that.
“It seems to me spiteful and vengeful, because it’s not gonna accomplish the goal. I don’t see the principle here, other than the principle of bullying, and I think it’s a shame for the team. I think it’s a shame that a steward of a team that -- while he owns the team, the city feels it has a stake in it -- that it’s getting involved in a suit like this.”
And then it was Aldridge’s turn.
“I am paid for my time here, just as I am paid for my time anywhere else I appear regularly, just so that anybody listening is clear about that,” Aldridge began. “Yes, I’m paid here, I’m also paid when I go on other stations and talk about sports. If you want me, you’ve got to pay.
“Having said that, I’ve been fairly consistent on this, I think that this is a very, very wrong thing for Dan Snyder to do. And it’s his life and his principle as he sees it, so he’s certainly free to do it, doesn’t need my permission. But I think it’s a mistake. I think this story was something that nobody was paying any attention to. It had been written, commented on and was dead. And has been revived and continues to be revived every time Daniel Snyder continues to file lawsuits and things like that.
“Now having said that,” Aldridge continued, “there is this school of thought that if you work at this radio station, if you’re paid at this radio station, somehow you are co-opted by Dan Snyder.
“That’s absolutely not true,” Kornheiser said. “That’s just not true.”
“And if you’ve ever listened to this show, I mean, for any period of time, you know that’s just ridiculous and it’s just a convenient and lazy talking point for people who want to take shots at Dan Snyder,” Aldridge said. “Because nobody’s been more critical of Dan Snyder than people who are on this radio station every day.”
“That’s absolutely true,” Kornheiser said to conclude the discussion. “ABSOLUTELY true.”