All Things Bubba

Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Is Dan Snyder the biggest jerk in sports?

I probably shouldn't even ask the question; I might get sued.

Admittedly, I'm not unbiased. As a Cowboys fan, I find it easy to criticize the Redskins...and their owner. But honestly, Snyder's beyond the pale for any team.

His various failings were detailed in this article in the Washington City Paper, a weekly alternative paper that isn't exactly widely read.

Snyder took exception to the article, and rather than ignore it or ask for equal time, he sued. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. The brouhaha over the lawsuit has resulted in far more people reading the offending article than ever would have read it otherwise.

Moreover, said lawsuit has no basis. His objections are downright bizarre. He accused them of libeling his wife because they quoted something she said about him in an interview. (It wasn't anything bad, but he seems to think implying she talks about anything except breast cancer is libel.) Silliest of all, he claims the illustration that accompanied the article - a photo of him with horns and beard scribbled on it, like a child might do - was anti-Semitic. Huh?

It seems so crazy that he would do this. What was he thinking? Assuming Snyder hasn't completely lost his mind, David Carr might have the answer. He thinks Snyder's motive was to intimidate. The Reds' lawyer included this paragraph in his letter to the paper's owners:

“Mr. Snyder has more than sufficient means to protect his reputation and defend himself and his wife against your paper’s concerted attempt at character assassination. We presume that defending such litigation would not be a rational strategy for an investment fund such as yours. Indeed, the cost of the litigation would presumably quickly outstrip the asset value of the Washington City Paper.”

City Paper might have seemed vulnerable, as a small paper recently in financial trouble.

Perhaps Mr. Snyder feels emboldened to threaten as opposed to negotiate because City Paper — a weekly in Washington, D.C., that I used to edit over 10 years ago — went through bankruptcy in 2008 and now is owned by Atalaya Capital Management, a hedge fund.

Atalaya lent Creative Loafing the money to finance a purchase of City Paper, among other papers, in 2007. Libel cases are notoriously difficult to win, but as newspaper companies have been in decline, some of the targets of their reporting have begun to push back in the belief that owners are less eager to defend their work in costly ways.

(Emphasis mine.)

Perhaps it was meant as a shot across the bow...not just for City Paper, but for all the papers that have been so critical of him.

If so, it's backfired, big-time. City Paper is not backing down. They've set up a legal defense fund and are prepared to go the distance.


posted by BubbaFan, 7:02 PM


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