The Washington Post

Redskins say City Paper lawsuit was a warning to the media

When Dan Snyder was asked during Super Bowl week why he elected to sue Washington City Paper, he said he was following the recommendation of the Redskins’ new PR man, Tony Wyllie. And when Wyllie, a senior vice president with the organization, was asked about the lawsuit during an “Ethics in Sports Media” panel at the University of Maryland journalism school Wednesday night, he had an interesting response.

“Some people ask, ‘Well, are you firing a warning shot to other members of the media? And I’d probably say ‘yes,’ ” he said, according to a live blog moderated by a Maryland professor. (And I've listened to the audio to verify all these quotes.) Wyllie added: “We’re not trying to be bullies, as someone depicted us as. Basically it’s just about writing the truth. We’re not trying to make anyone afraid; we just want people to do what’s right. Meaning you write the truth. Period.”

Later in the discussion, Wyllie said City Paper writer Dave McKenna had been “evil and mean”toward Snyder, and that “at some point you have to throw your hands in the air and say enough is enough.” Wyllie also compared Snyder to truth-seeking Egyptian protestors.

“All we wanted was the truth, the same thing that occurred up in Egypt where people were trying to find one thing -- people getting hurt and beat up to find one thing -- the truth,” Wyllie said. “And that’s what this is all about.”

Wyllie also spoke about Snyder’s desire to protect his wife, Tanya, who was briefly mentioned in the City Paper piece.

“I’m looking at the ladies in this audience: some day you’ll get married, if you’re not married, and your husband will fight for your honor,” Wyllie said. “If someone does something to hurt you , [he] will stand up and fight. I mean, I’m being honest....Dan felt that he had to stand up for his name and his reputation and for his wife. They’re all things that he considered.”

Washington Post sports editor Matt Vita, who was also on the panel, said the lawsuit “really doesn’t affect us at all” and would not change The Post’s coverage of the team.

Dan Steinberg writes about all things D.C. sports at the D.C. Sports Bog.


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