In a landmark legal action, today I am announcing People v. Daniel Snyder, filed in D.C. Superior Court. This is sort of a class-action suit — representing 80,000 Redskins season ticket holders and 4.3 million Redskins fans in the Washington metropolitan area as well as 17.8 million other Redskins fans worldwide, all of whom would prefer to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal (and the possibility of increased parking fees).
I speak for almost all of them in regard to our pain and suffering over the 46-year-old Redskins owner’s sour reign since 1999.
Here are the charges:
He has ruined a tradition-laden franchise. In 12 seasons under Joe Gibbs (1981-92), the Redskins totaled eight playoff appearances and three Super Bowl titles. In 12 seasons under Snyder’s ownership (including four years of Gibbs’s second coaching stint), the Redskins have totaled three playoff appearances and no Super Bowl titles. It’s as if he bought the Grand Canyon and turned it into a stone quarry.
Paying no respect to those who came before him. The late Jack Kent Cooke built (and paid for) the Redskins’ new stadium in Maryland; to honor him after his death, it was named Jack Kent Cooke Stadium. One of Snyder’s first actions as owner was to recast the stadium as FedEx Field; he could have gotten the corporate money and left the Cooke name as part of the stadium.
Fatal attraction to high-priced, low-performing free agents. Jeff George, Deion Sanders, Adam Archuleta, Jeremiah Trotter, Brandon Lloyd, Albert Haynesworth, et al.
Increasing ticket prices, decreasing quality of product. If a bag of M&Ms kept getting smaller — with a worse taste — and the cost kept going up, would you keep buying it?
For 61 / 2 years, the primary voice for the team’s player personnel decisions was a chap by the name of Vinny Cerrato. If Vinny Cerrato ran a 7-Eleven, within two years they’d be open four hours a day.
(Column Intermission: For the second time in three years, Couch Slouch must apologize for an inexcusable, inscrutable Team of Destiny selection. In 2009, I picked the Lions, who went 2-14. In 2011, I picked the Vikings, headed for 2-14. If I could, I would sue myself. As it is, my parents have filed papers to legally change their last name to avoid further shame.)
Suing dozens of season ticket holders who asked to be released from multiyear agreements. This included taking to court a 72-year-old grandmother — a season ticket holder since the early 1960s — who, because of the economic downturn, no longer could afford her $5,300-a-year contract for two loge seats.
He once cut down trees near his home protected by the National Park Service. In Snyder’s defense, he got himself a spectacular view of the Potomac River!
He once tried to ban pedestrian traffic into FedEx Field. I wish I were making this up. But in 2000, Snyder attempted to stop fans — trying to save in parking fees by leaving their cars nearby and walking to FedEx Field — from entering the stadium grounds by foot. The ban was in the name of “pedestrian safety.”
He banned signs and banners from FedEx Field in 2009. Some of them were critical of Redskins ownership. Of course, the policy, we were told, was meant to protect spectators from getting injured by signs. (Note: “Getting crushed by a falling sign” remains the fourth-largest cause of accidental death in U.S. stadiums.)
The man has no sense of humor. If Chris Rock walked into Snyder’s office and started to riff, he’d send him to Personnel to fill out some paperwork.
Hiring a public relations guru to cleanse his image. You are who you are, and you can pretend to be someone you are not, but at the end of the day, you’re still who you were.
He sued a reporter, Dave McKenna of the Washington City Paper, because McKenna portrayed Snyder negatively through an avalanche — no, make that a tsunami — of incriminating factual information. Uh, I believe it’s called the First Amendment.
The one decent thing Snyder could’ve done is change the team’s offensive nickname, but he wouldn’t know decent if it jumped in his lap and sang “Hail to the . . .”
Redskins? It’s embarrassing.
Q. Does Tim Tebow rock your boat, or do you want to toss him overboard? (Jeremy Madison; Spokane, Wash.)
A. It’s hard not to root for the guy, because he’s cut from a different cloth and throws the ball like it’s a Gummy bear stuck to his hand, but I’m neutral on Tebow Time.
Q. In order to sell more merchandise at The Slouch Store, do you ever write columns in your throwback underwear? (Jim Ondrey; Chardon, Ohio)
A. My entire body — as well as my body of work — is throwback, sir.
Q. If Joe Theismann were to officiate over a wedding, would there be an opportunity for the bride and groom to recite their vows? (Scott D. Shuster; Watertown, Mass.)
A. Pay the man, Shirley.
Q. Could Siri replace Shirley? (Andrew Sharp; Pittsburgh)
A. What are you, nuts? One is a voice, the other is a vision.
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