Editor: I admit to feeling I was played as a sucker by none other than Daniel Snyder, owner of the Washington Football Team and the team’s home stadium, FedEx Field in Landover.
To elaborate, back when a group of us each bought already overpriced tickets for a Paul McCartney rock concert at FedEx Field, Snyder’s company slapped on a $10 additional fee for parking at his stadium, even if we were traveling there by Metrorail, not by car. This means that for we three McCartney fans attending the concert, Snyder squeezed us out of another $30 from our group, not to mention more charges for buying through Ticketmaster and other incidental add-ons.
I read that this practice about also charging for parking is called “tying arrangements,” in which a vendor will sell customers a product they want only if the customers will also purchase a product they may not want.
I guess billionaire Snyder felt entitled and emboldened that he could fleece every little cent from our hides to see ex-Beatle Paul live and in person at FedEx Field, which Snyder bought along with the football team in May 1999.
This concert was some time ago and my negative attitude about Snyder has since only grown exponentially worse by recent revelations that he was sued for sexual misconduct by a female employee of his football team and he tried to cover it up and that the team was fined $10 million as a result of an investigation into its dehumanizing workplace culture. Not to mention Snyder vowed never to change the team’s nickname of Redskins that insulted many Native Americans before suddenly altering course when the pressure got too hot to stay with the name.
It didn’t factor into my dismal view of his ethics, but the football team’s lousy performance on the gridiron in recent years also made Washington area fans despondent and left many with the hope Snyder would sell the team.
The team says it will announce on Feb. 2 its new nickname, My choices are Kickers or Thunderbolts.
News reports say Snyder favors relocating his team to a new domed stadium somewhere in Loudoun or Prince William counties. But being the rich businessman that he is, always looking to make an extra buck, I wonder if Snyder or one of his associates leaked that news as a negotiating ploy to get D.C. and Maryland to shell out more dough for his team if he does plan to move when the time comes.
Many other vastly more important issues, such as combating poverty and crime, supersede anything to do with football. But when I think about Snyder, I can’t forget he finagled a questionable deal with the National Park Service to cut down 130 beautiful trees on federally protected land by his estate in suburban Maryland so he could have a better view of the nearby Potomac River. Then there was the state of Florida fining his company $3.1 million for illegally switching customers’ telephone services without the customers’ permission.
I hope I don’t come off as being too unfair to Snyder. Most everybody has their good points, and he’s done some admirable things with his money, including donating $1 million to aid victims of the Sept. 11 attacks, and helping other people in need by creating the Washington Football Charitable Foundation, and supporting Youth for Tomorrow, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
But his often-cutthroat business actions counteract the good stuff.
Virginia lawmakers should make it absolutely clear that they will only support a bid for the team to move into their state if it has new ownership. Because under its current, swarmy regime with Daniel Snyder – the alpha male of unsportsmanlike conduct – the football team would penalize the state of Virginia by bringing in someone’s bad name.
Eric Green, Arlington