Who had the worst week in Washington? Dan Snyder.

(Matt Mcclain)
Sunday, February 6, 2011

Give Dan Snyder this: He's one NFL owner who really, really cares what people think of him.

There's no other conclusion to be drawn from Snyder's mystifying decision this past week to sue Washington City Paper over a series of articles that portrayed the Washington Redskins owner in a decidedly unflattering light.

Among Snyder's claims: that an article penned by City Paper's Dave McKenna suggested that his wife was an insincere advocate for breast cancer awareness (it didn't) and that the cover illustration - Snyder's face with horns and a beard scribbled on it - was anti-Semitic.

His PR team went so far as to solicit a statement from the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles condemning the image as being "associated with virulent anti-Semitism going back to the Middle Ages."

Snyder is seeking $2 million or more in damages from the City Paper's parent company, hoping - it would seem - to force the company into either firing McKenna or apologizing. (His representatives have said the $2 million would be given to charity - a grand gesture for someone worth hundreds of millions of dollars.)

But what has Snyder really achieved? An honored spot in the hall of fame for the thin-skinned and tone-deaf - and enormous new readership for a piece published back in November. While the City Paper article drew some buzz when it first appeared, it was nowhere close to the media maelstrom that Snyder set off when his lawsuit was announced on Wednesday.

The clamor to read what is rapidly becoming known in D.C. circles as "the story" was so great that City Paper's server crashed Wednesday afternoon, said managing editor Mike Madden.

Dan Snyder, for taking an already battered public image - not to mention a perennially underachieving team - and making it that much worse, you had the "Worst Week in Washington." Congrats, or something.

Have a candidate for the Worst Week in Washington? E-mail chris.cillizza@wpost.com with your nominees.

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