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Snyder Snuffs Suit; Skins Win

Justice and happiness reign throughout the land

by
Marc Tracy
September 12, 2011
The offending image.(Brooke Hatfield/WCP)
The offending image.(Brooke Hatfield/WCP)

Lawsuit: Thing that Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder filed in February and dismissed Saturday. It was against Washington City Paper and its sportswriter, Dave McKenna, over the latter’s brilliant “The Cranky Redskins Fan’s Guide to Dan Snyder.” “The Washington City Paper and its writer have admitted that certain assertions contained in the article that are the subject of the lawsuit were, in fact, unintended by the defendants to be read literally as true,” was the Redskins’ explanation. Of course, even a casual reader of the polemic knew that this was true; just as even a casual viewer of the cover image would have known it was not literally meant to conjure the anti-Semitic trope of Snyder-as-Satan, as both Snyder and the Simon Wiesenthal Center initially alleged (to my knowledge, the Center has yet to retract the allegation).

Why’d Snyder drop the suit, and why now? The suit was intended as a bullying measure and, when it became apparent that it wouldn’t work—that WCP and McKenna wouldn’t just fold—it lost all of its efficacy. It was a public relations disaster, if for no other reason because it directed many readers to the actual article, which is the most persuasive account you will read of the Redskins’ dismal showings during Snyder’s 12 years as an owner. The ACLU condemned the suit; even the Washington Post editorialized against it, last week, on the grounds that it ran afoul of a fantastic Washington, D.C., law preventing lawsuits that are designed to use the courts to intimidate enemies rather than to adjudicate legitimate legal disputes. Finally, the suit was dismissed a few days after the online publication of an interview in which Snyder admitted that he had never even read the article.

But if we know anything about Snyder, it’s that the Washington Post and the New York Times don’t scare him; the NFC East does. Snyder filed his lawsuit a few days before last Super Bowl, and dropped it the day before the first round of Sunday games, including the Redskins’. It was for the offseason. The offseason’s over. The suit’s over.

The punch-line is that yesterday the Skins put together a convincing 28-14 victory at home over the New York Giants. Karma? A sign of renewed focus? A sign of league parity? Who knows. Those of us who have struggled with the cognitive dissonance of rooting for a team whose owner we despise—we’ll take it. Hail to the Redskins!

Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.

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