4 Of The Pettiest Things Dan Snyder's Ever Done
I feel very lucky to have few true enemies in my life. It can be hard, in a stressful and ruthless world, to fight back against the urge to ascribe negative feelings to those who might have wronged you, whether in reality or perception. However, there is one enemy that I never really MADE, through any personal interactions, but simply inherited. This man lives, as the cool kids say, rent-free in my head. A mention of his name causes my lip to curl and a psychosomatic smell of sulfur to fill my nostrils, a sentiment shared by any fellow DC area football fan. That man is Dan Snyder.
Dan Snyder owns the… ugh. “Washington Commanders,” which, already, strike one. A name they took 2 years to come up with, promising to include fans in the decision process, which made the end result even more surprising, as the Commanders was one of the most roundly despised options in any fan-facing interaction. He’s in the news lately, for, what else, poor business practices, relating to a Congressional investigation of the hostile workplace environment fostered under his watchful eye. He’s since claimed blissful ignorance of the goings on, which is hilarious to anyone who’s followed Washington football, because Snyder’s insistence on being involved in every single facet of the team’s operations, including fantasy football-esque tinkering with draft picks and free agent signings, has been a hallmark of his ownership.
Amidst this flurry of allegations and high-profile accusations of impropriety on multiple fronts, however, one may not know, or start to forget, that even on the most basic level, Dan Snyder is, thoroughly and deeply, a classic asshole. Sure, we’re talking about someone for whom the “controversies” section of their Wikipedia page requires multiple subheadings. But the full appreciation of just how much he sucks requires a back knowledge of the many small-scale “c’mon, man” moments he’s racked up as the NFL’s most hated owner. Here are 4 of the pettiest moments from the Snyderverse.
Suing a 72-Year-Old Grandmother Over Season Tickets
Meet real estate agent Pat Hill. The 72-year-old grandmother and Washington football fan who had held season tickets since the 1960s. For most teams, she’d be someone they’d show on camera at a game as a feel-good moment as she waves a little American flag. Not Washington. See, around 2008, you may remember a itsy-bitsy housing market crash devastating the economy. As you can imagine, being a real estate agent at that time was, to put it mildly, no bueno.
Her finances decimated, Pat Hill could no longer afford the season tickets she’d renewed a year ago, when, like everyone else outside of the cast of the Big Short, she didn’t think the economy was going to have a brush with death. So she asked them to waive her tickets for a year or two. Something that especially shouldn’t have been a big problem, as at the time they were still falsely claiming that there was a long waiting list for season tickets in a stadium that was filled with empty seats and opponents' fans on game day.
The response here was not a pat on the back during a time of national crisis and a “we can’t wait to see you back,” because the idea of good PR makes this team break out in hives. The response was a lawsuit, which Pat could not fight because she couldn’t afford a lawyer. The damage? $66,364. For a woman who just said she couldn’t afford season tickets. The 2009 valuation of the team? $1.55 billion dollars.
Cutting Down Protected Trees, Firing The Park Ranger Who Noticed
A rich asshole cutting down trees on national park property so he has a better view from his gaudy dumb mansion sounds somewhat like a Captain Planet plotline. Unfortunately, 5 kids, a monkey, and a blue, mulleted fellow didn’t stick Dan Snyder upside down in a recycling bin for this one. See, Snyder really wanted to look at the Potomac river while counting his money or whatever. So he first tried to not bribe them with a $25,000 cash donation to the park to let him cut the trees down. They said no. So he found some strings and got to pulling.
He got in touch with some higher-ups and worked out a deal where he could cut down the trees if he promised to replace them with 600 native saplings. Unfortunately, that wasn’t a deal they were allowed to make, for reasons including that Montgomery County also owned the land and a legally required environmental assessment was never done. This was all skipped because I assume because he was throwing a hissy fit that he couldn’t see the ducks. Robert Danno, a park ranger, noticed this and brought it up to his superiors.
As a result, Danno found himself, in rapid succession: reassigned to a desk job, saddled with disciplinary charges, re-assigned again to process parking permits with a 2-hour commute. He then filed, and had confirmed, a whistleblower complaint. That got his house raided by U.S. Marshals and a warrant issued for his arrest for “theft of federal property,” which he said were gifts. The case went to federal court, but fell apart when Danno’s supervisor revealed he had driven said “stolen property” to Danno’s house himself.
Selling Expired Airline Peanuts At The Stadium
Snyder’s far from the only CEO to engage in some penny-pinching. However, he lacked even the common decency to do it behind the scammee's backs. Fans were a bit confused in 2006 when they purchased bags of peanuts at the stadium, which I’m sure were already astronomically overpriced. But confusion at concession prices is well-stomached these days. What they found confusing about these particular peanuts was the packaging.
You see, buying peanuts at a NFL stadium, there are a few piece of packaging you might expect. First, maybe some collaborative NFL/team branding. Something cute like “Our fans are NUTS!” Etc. Second, probably just standard packaging from the company that distributes the peanuts. Third, maybe a charity, or some weird military thing, since the NFL is borderline obsessed with them.
So far down it’s off the list is: peanut packaging from a defunct airline. Fans received bags of peanuts branded with an Independence Air logo, an airline that had been out of business for about a year. The peanut distributor confirmed that they hadn’t produced peanuts with that branding since before the airline went out of business. The shelf life of these peanuts is 3 months, by the way.
Being Only 57 Years Old
The guy could at least have the common decency to be a decrepit old skeleton like Jerry Jones. Instead we have a, by all accounts, infuriatingly healthy Dan Snyder. Here’s to the nightmare continuing!