Sunday, November 8, 2009

John Riggins, Daniel Snyder, and the Redskins

I have been a Washington Redskins fan for as long as I can remember.  It is Sunday, so that means I am sitting here watching the Skins, though as badly as they have been playing this year, I am not sure why.  Anyway, over the years, they have brought me both joy and sorrow.

There have been several players over the years that I have admired and been a fan of.  Without a doubt, my favorite Redskin of all time would have to be Christian Adolf Jurgensen, better known as "Sonny."  Few could sling the ball around like old #9.

Probably #2 on the list, or at worst #3, would be "The Diesel," John Riggins.  Riggo was quite the character.  His wise cracking nature, and fun loving attitude made him a fan favorite.  That and probably the greatest play in Skins history that led to their first Super Bowl win under Joe Gibbs.

After he retired, Riggo went on to become a member of the media.  He was never afraid to criticize the Redskins in that role, and he was definitely not a homer, a roll filled ably by Sonny.  When Daniel Snyder took over ownership of the team, Riggo did not spare him from his criticisms.  However, he always did it with his usual charm and wit.

A few years ago, Snyder decided to get into the radio business and started his own station.  Some said this move was primarily to combat the criticism of Snyder that came out of DC's leading sports talk radio station, Sports Talk 980 WTEM.  Snyder, the ultimate marketer, hired Riggo to host the afternoon drive time show.  Suddenly, Riggo's criticisms, particularly of Snyder, lessened.  Snyder's station eventually ended up buying out WTEM. The drive time team at WTEM stayed in place and Riggo was out of a job.

Now, I am no fan of Snyder and the way he is ruining the Redskins.  Riggo continues to be an outspoken critic of Snyder.  However, his criticisms have taken on a much harsher tone, and lack his trademark wit and charm.  Recently, on Showtime's "Inside the NFL" program, Riggo had this to say about Snyder:
"This is a bad guy that owns this team. I'll just tell you that upfront. Bad guy. And if the commissioner is worried about potential new owners and saying some of these guys shouldn't apply, he might want to police his own inside guys."

"It's driven all by his ego and everything has to come from him. And I just don't think you can be successful in those situations and when you are dealing with someone with the mindset of a child and yet owns a franchise in the NFL."

"Let me put it to you this way Cris, this person's heart is dark."
Wow.  This sounds more like the ravings of a bitter ex than the legitimate criticism of the way an owner runs an NFL franchise.  Come on, Riggo.  Isn't it a little much?  There is much to criticize Snyder and what he has done to this team, but to suggest that the man is evil is just a little too over the top.  I miss the smart ass Riggins that could make me smile with his pointed, clever barbs.  Hopefully he will be back soon.
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  1. Snyder's heart is indeed dark. He made his fortune selling phone numbers. He bought out the town's media. Despite his phony "apologies" and "concern for fans", he screws the fans, suing widows for not renewing tickets, not allowing anti-Snyder signs at FedEx, charging top dollar for everything, and allowing only inaccessible parking at outrageous rates. He paid off people in the Park Service to let him cut down trees along the Potomac to improve his view, in violation of federal laws. He undercuts everyone he hires, listening to gossip from his overpaid personal team idols, and passes off the blame. He treats the team as his private toy. Now his investment in local media is paying off: He has all the people he has bought defending him on his media. The latest is Joregenson, who says all the latest moves are Vinnie's, when everyone knows Vinnie doesn't take a piss without Snyder's permission.

  2. Believe me, I am no fan of Daniel Snyder. Every year he owns the team it makes it harder to be a fan. I feel the same way about Peter Angelos with the Orioles. All of the things you cite are legitimate reasons to dislike him and his policies. They definitely qualify him to be called an asshole, but not sure about qualifying him as evil, which saying he has a dark heart implies.



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