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Wiesenthal Center Out-of-Bounds on Snyder

Lodges ludicrous charge over apt image of NFL owner

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The allegedly offending cover image.(Washington City Paper)

Take it from me, a diehard Washington Redskins fan: Daniel Snyder is a horrible owner. As a fellow Jewish kid from the Maryland suburbs, I sympathize with his desire to make brilliant personnel moves, conjure the Glory Years, and resuscitate one of the great professional football franchises. But the scoreboard doesn’t lie: In the 12 years he’s owned our beloved team, the Skins have had three winning seasons and won two playoff games. And this pattern of failure is attributable primarily to Snyder’s control-freakishness, meddling, and stupid hires (he has a particular weakness for washed-up future Hall of Famers and I.Q.-less executives). On top of that, you could be nice by saying he has image problems: Overcharging fans of what is, in the end, the second-most valuable NFL franchise (what can I say, we’re really good fans); engaging in sketchy business practices at the Six Flags amusement park business; and at one point selling peanuts from a bankrupt airline at FedEx Field.

It was all laid out in “The Cranky Redskins Fan’s Guide to Daniel Snyder,” an inventive and brilliant polemic published in a November Washington City Paper and written by the massively underrated (until recently, anyway) D.C. sportswriter Dave McKenna. Yesterday, Snyder threatened to sue the District’s main alternative newspaper and requested McKenna’s ouster; the suit was filed last night (in New York—Giants territory!). So in case you needed further confirmation that Snyder is despicable, well, yesterday he obliged you, trying to put a small alternative newspaper that said not nice, true things about him out of business.

Accompanying the article was a picture of Snyder with a devil’s horns, goatee, fu manchu moustache, and bushy unibrow. Actually, the Satanic accoutrements are ostentatiously scribbled on, as though a “cranky Redskins fan,” in the spur of the moment, had sought to deface the image of the man who has ruined his life. Which is why it is particularly idiotic that, also yesterday, the Simon Wiesenthal Center demanded that WCP apologize for the image, which, it accused, is “associated with virulent anti-Semitism going back to the Middle Ages, deployed by the genocidal Nazi regime, by Soviet propagandists, and even in 2011 by those who still seek to demonize Jews.”

So, to be clear: WCP at most implicitly trafficked in anti-Semitic tropes—a breathtakingly dumb allegation, but that is the Center’s allegation; the Center, by contrast, explicitly—not allegedly, but indisputably—associated a small alternative newspaper with “the genocidal Nazi regime.” Nice.

I wonder what Simon Wiesenthal, an iconoclastic hero who hunted actual Nazis, would make of that? I’m betting he would recognize that there is a risk in crying wolf on anti-Semitism—that the next time an actual anti-Semite steps onto the stage (and there will always be another actual anti-Semite to step onto the stage), and the Center calls him or her out on it, people will remember that ridiculous time the Center blatantly misinterpreted a drawing and sided with a free speech-hating bully against a fantastic and vibrant newspaper, and they will take it a little less seriously.

Which is why I am running the devil-image in solidarity with Washington City Paper.

Well, it’s 80 percent why.

The other 20 percent why is that Dan Snyder is kind of the devil.

Super Bowl XLV is a few days away. The first Super Bowl I remember was Super Bowl XXVI. The Redskins won that one—because that’s what the Redskins used to do, win Super Bowls. Instead of picking fights with small alternative newspapers and a gadfly sportswriter, maybe Snyder should be devoting more of his time to figuring out how to get back in the winning-Super-Bowls business. I think he’ll find he’ll be killing two birds with one stone: When you win, you don’t really care what anybody says about you.

City Paper Responds on Conflict with Daniel Snyder[WP]
The Cranky Redskins Fan’s Guide to Daniel Snyder [WCP]
Related: Kosher Pigskin [Tablet Magazine]
Self-Made Golem [Tablet Magazine]

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Well said, Mr. Tracy.

And, as for your abiding affection of the Washington Redskins, the best thing I can say is that you almost – almost – make me want to forgive the many middle school Redskins fans who picked on this late-growth-spurt, bookish kid with a Cincinnati Bengals backpack. As to why a boy born in D.C. and raised on Virginia’s rural Eastern Shore rooted for the Bengals…well, that’s beside the point, dammit. Though Mike Brown, owner of the Bengals, is not a Jew, I did note that his Wikipedia page’s “Date of Death” shows as “Not soon enough.” He needs to win a few, too!

Marc Tracy says:

@Christopher picking on a Bengals fan? That is cruel. Shame on us.

It is a shame that a man like Simon Wiesenthal has had his name hijacked by an organization totally unworthy of him. These champions of tolerance are building their Jerusalem facility on top of a former Muslim cemetery while their founder and president has hysterically condemned Park 51 in the media.

SirCoolBreeze says:

I wonder how much money one Dan Snyder of Maryland gives to the Wiesenthal Center each year and, if he doesn’t, will they use their new “position” to solicit funds from one Dan Snyder of Maryland now? Time will tell…follow the $$$$$.

philly boy says:

lighten up guys. danny is the best owner ever.

go eagles.

cinesimon says:

Definitely the best owner ever for all but the team and the fans…
Certainly, competing teams love “danny”.

cinesimon says:

…given Mr Snyder has had plenty of opportunities to change the extremely racist name of his team, his (likely purchased)attempt at becoming a victim of antisemitism is particularly disgusting.

formerskinsfan says:

This guy owns a team called the REDSKINS. Does the Wiesenthal Center want to weigh in on the racial sensitivity of that name? Hypocrites.

Chuck Vekert says:

I doubt if one Redskin fan in a hundred even knew that Snyder of Jewish. I certainly didn’t. And that photo of Snyder–every hated teacher and principal has had that done to their image by kids too young to know the difference between a Jew and a Jerusalem artichoke. What could the Wiesenthal Center have been thinking?

Don’t be fooled by the bluster. Snyder is a lightweight. He’s only the 365th richest American.

Dude barely made the Forbes 400.

See: http://bit.ly/huc5Ee

Brian Kaye says:

Without getting into the fray over the WCP picture of Snyder being anti-Semitic; the team name comes from when the team was in Boston and is refernced to the ‘redskins’ of the real tea party – the one in Boston harbor where colonials painted themselves with a red complexion and dressed as Indians. When the team was moved to Washington the name remained. It may be time to retire this name/image but Washingtonians – I’m a native – don’t regard this as racist in any way.

esthermiriam says:

Well, some Washingtonians regard the name as racist in significant ways, and others should — it’s long past time for a change, made also in memory of Abe Pollin, a true mensch, a philanthropist who built his sports empire here at his own cost — and changed the b’ball teams name from Bullets when shootings were a local scourge.

Great article Marc. After 41 years, I’m out. Baltimore’s right up the road a piece. There’s no way I can support this team with this owner. He sues fans, newspapers, etc. If he wins a superbowl I hope he enjoys the trophy because it will truly be for him and him alone, not for the fans.

And as a Jew and the son of a Holocaust survivor, I’m sickened by his claim of antisemitism over that drawing. No matter how rich he gets and how many superbowls he may win, which will probably be none, he’ll always be a little man compared to Mr. Cooke. And Cooke was no angel….

I’ve said that least 2677853 times. The problem this like that is they are just too compilcated for the average bird, if you know what I mean

• I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post

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Wiesenthal Center Out-of-Bounds on Snyder

Lodges ludicrous charge over apt image of NFL owner

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