Everyone knows the Dallas Cowboys have long been bitter rivals of the Washington Redskins. But invoking the Fuhrer may be a new low in the rhetorical warfare between the teams.
In the Official Dallas Cowboys Weekly, senior editor Jim Browder wrote of the Sept. 12 game here between the two NFC East Division opponents: "Was that Hitler in the Washington owner's box that they kept zooming in on when they weren't showing Deion [Sanders]? No, that was new Redskins owner Daniel Snyder. Snyder is the Redskins' dictator, a 34-year-old with far too much money." Snyder is Jewish.
The Nazi analogy immediately drew a protest from the Zionist Organization of America. "Invoking Hitler to criticize the owner of a rival football team should be considered out of bounds," the group said.
Morton Klein, the organization's president and director of Holocaust studies at the University of Texas at Dallas, wrote Browder that, "Your reference to Hitler in your attack on Redskins owner Daniel Snyder is deeply offensive. You have implicitly trivialized the horrors of the Holocaust."
Ron Spain, editor of the 50,000-circulation weekly, said this week that he had no opinion on the slur.
But publisher Russ Russell, who had not seen the column in advance, said yesterday that he will run an apology in the next issue. "I take responsibility and offer a humble apology to those who were offended," he said. "We're not here to offend anybody. It was improper, poorly conceived and should never have gotten in the paper.
"It's just a sad thing. It's never happened before and if I'm here it will never happen again."
The newspaper has been funded by the Cowboys for three decades, but Russell says it is editorially independent of the team.
Browder, a former editor of the weekly, did not return calls to his home. But Russell said the comments were "out of character" for Browder and that he would apologize in the next issue as well.
Karl Swanson, Snyder's spokesman, said the Redskins owner would have no comment on the matter.