Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The Infamous Lost Article 

Sometimes, unpopular opinions need to be aired. I acknowledge that some opinions are so far out of the mainstream, it is often wiser to keep them to one’s self than to subject one's self to the hatred and ridicule that results. I fear that this may be one of opinions, but I feel it must be said:

I like Dan Snyder.

Now, I freely admit that I stand directly opposed to the rest of the free world on this. The Washington Post has openly despised Snyder since he bought the Redskins out from under the nose of the heirs of Jack Kemp Cook (D.C.'s answer to C. Montgomery Burns).

Snyder has done a lot for the Redskins, most of which has not been popular with The Post and other national sports media. Most prominently, in 2000, he freed the Skins from the awful regime of Norv Turner, the shameful head coach who, for six years, led the Redskins through one humiliating season after another. Now, admittedly, Snyder picked a poor time to do so. Due to a fluke where every key team screwed up at the end of the season, the Redskins actually had a chance to make it to the play-offs as a wildcard team. However, this did not stop good ol’ Norv from losing. Since it seemed obvious the Skins were going to lose their wildcard position, Snyder fired the unreliable Turner. Due to every other candidate for the wildcard position also doing poorly, however, the Redskins still made the play-offs. Snyder was blamed when the Redskins lost in the first round, and demonized in the press for firing the head coach. The press never concerned itself with the fact that Washington fans despised Norv Turner, and would boo him relentlessly when he took the field before games.

Since then, Snyder has gotten flack for a lot of other little dippy things here and there: too much advertising in the stadium, not allowing people to walk to the stadium from the mall, and trying to force people to use a Redskins Visa Card for all ticket purchases. Some of these complaints are quite valid. But Snyder also deserves credit for not sparing any expense in bringing in superstar players, staying firm on defending the Washington Redskins name and mascot despite whinings from so-called Native-American activists, dragging Joe Gibbs out of retirement, and turning a perpetually losing football team into the most profitable sports franchise in history.

Snyder’s current scandal involves a crack-down on professional E-Bay scalpers. Now, I cannot fathom how anyone can be against this. Scam artists buy tickets en mass at the beginning of the season, and then charge more than three times the face value. Who are the victims? You and I, and everyone else who cannot move any further up on the waiting list because the scalpers have reserved the right to first refusal on all ticket sales.

If Snyder is successful in removing the profit incentive for the scalpers, then people like my father, who has been on the wait list for my entire lifetime, may actually have an opportunity to buy tickets at a fair price.

And the most glaring thing about this scandal is, there is absolutely no personal profit motive for Snyder to do this. As long as the scalpers are around to buy the tickets, the Redskins and Snyder will make their money. It is only the fans who lose out. Snyder’s only motivation in this seems to be that he is looking out for the true Redskins fans. As usual, however, he is scorned by a media totally unwilling to look at the actual issue.

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