In Defense of Dan Snyder

Dan Snyder is easy to mock. I will probably do it in this post. So when he filed his lawsuit against the Washington City Paper for defamation, I instinctively rolled my eyes. So did you. We all did.

Making matters worse, he typified every stereotype of the bullying plaintiff by using the defendant’s trial costs against him, trying to file in New York instead of Washington, without much pretending the purpose was otherwise. Redskins executive David Donovan wrote, “Indeed, the cost of litigation would presumably quickly outstrip the asset value of the Washington City Paper.” David Donovan, you are not helping your boss here.

Wait, I thought you were going to defend Dan Snyder. That is why I clicked on this post. Just wait. I’m getting there.dan-snyder

It is worthwhile to hear two sides of the story. The Washington Post let Snyder tell his side of the story today. Although he sued for many “injustices” the one that seems to set Snyder off the most is this line:

“Dan Snyder … got caught forging names as a telemarketer with Snyder Communications.'”
I see his point. If a lawyer at this firm gets disbarred or one of our employees commits a crime, please don’t say I did it. Would I ultimately be accountable for it? Sure. Could you use that fact to attack me? Absolutely. If there are facts suggesting he knew or should have known of the forgeries, then make that point. But when you are writing about it, put it in that context. I don’t think that snarky innuendo is necessary.

Look, it is still a dumb lawsuit. First, there are sometimes wrongs that do not have or should not have a judicial remedy. Perhaps more notably, it is just an incredibly incompetent public relations move for a man and a team that are not going to be afforded missteps. But… I get his point.

Posted in:
  • FMJohnson

    Mr. Miller,
    Yours is a very fair and thoughtful comment in support of what appears to be Mr. Snyder’s strongest (or only?) legitimate remaining allegation.

    That said, I wonder how many editorial writers in the 70s dashed off a lede along the lines of, “When President Nixon bugged the Democratic National Headquarters, he set off a chain of events…etc.” But no one would have reasonably inferred from that that President Nixon was personally skulking around in the dark at the Watergate.

    The sentence Mr. Snyder is flagging was a throwaway line in the opening paragraphs to set up the rest of the story. In the actual article, the author cites the news item that substantiates that the company Synder ran, which bore his name, settled the charges for a substantial sum.

    It just seems to me, especially when the article ultimately explains the reference, that no reasonable person could infer that Snyder personally forged signatures. In the context of the article, it’s plain that the use of “Snyder” in the earlier sentence was “shorthand” for the misbehavior of Snyder’s company.

    In any case, Snyder’s op-ed piece today was extremely weak and even somewhat sad. If that’s all he’s got — in the face of the entirety of the City Paper article and in contrast to the several reasons he originally gave for brining this suit — he can’t possibly win.

  • Ron Miller

    I like your point. But when the whole hubub started in the first place, I assumed – like I think most people did – that the jab was at his company. Was I 100% sure? No, I really wasn’t. I’m sure many other people – maybe your archetype football fan who does not read much else but football – didn’t quite make the same assumptions. How many words could have fixed this problem. Probably one or two. And if the writer was not trying to be so hyperbolic, he would have included those words.

    In Watergate, the context of whether it was the president who personally performed the acts was more clear. Context matters.

Contact Information