WASHINGTON — The public persona of Redskins owner Daniel Snyder can be conditional, dependent on one’s personal views toward the team’s controversial nickname. The two camps: 1) Snyder is a belligerent crusader, racially insensitive to the views of Native Americans; 2) He is the fearless leader of a misunderstood fanbase, trapped in a world in which the walls of unjust, unrelenting political correctness are closing in.
One story, an excerpt from “Two Minute Warning: How Concussions, Crime and Controversy Could Kill the NFL (and What the League Can Do to Survive),” a book by Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report, speaks to the latter image.
(Editor’s Note: This excerpt is printed with permission of Triumph Books. To order a copy, please visit www.triumphbooks.com/TwoMinuteWarning.)
This particular excerpt is set at the 2012 NFL owners’ meetings, after the Redskins and Cowboys had been docked $36 million and $10 million, respectively, against their salary caps for the 2012 and 2013 seasons for front-loading contracts during the uncapped 2010 season.
By Freeman’s account, this scene — the first opportunity for the Redskins and Cowboys to address their peers at once since the penalties — shows why Snyder is “feared, liked, despised, admired and admonished” and … “a bully, a genius, a constant threat to litigate, an unabashed defender of a slur, a moneymaker and maybe the most important and most hated owner in football.”
One might also deduce it’s an example of why Snyder holds his relationship with team president Bruce Allen so dear, as you’ll understand in just a moment. According to Freeman, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones spoke first. Then Allen launched into a long, fiery, accusatory diatribe.
“According to a longtime NFL team executive who was present, it wasn’t long into his speech before Allen threatened to sue every owner in the NFL,” Freeman wrote. “He would go on to get more fiery, personal and ugly from there, as he began pacing furiously around the hotel ballroom. There were more threats of a lawsuit. Allen grew angrier. He began screaming.
“He wasn’t done. He then pointed at each member of the management council, saying Washington and Dallas should have never been penalized because the council had approved the very contracts that would cause the teams to be punished. He saved some of his harshest remarks for John Mara, co-owner of the Giants and one of the most respected men in all of sports, a key cog who has been with the team for decades. Mara was furious.
“Everyone in the room was stunned. Owners and executives, sitting just several feet from one another, began texting each other, incredulous at what they were witnessing. In some of the texts, Allen was facetiously called Clarence Darrow, the legendary litigator known for his bombastic courtroom speeches.
“Owners and executives say they had never seen anything like it. Nobody had ever gotten so personal or made such threats.”
As Allen railed against league owners, Snyder “gleefully swiveled back and forth in a chair that practically enveloped him, at times smiling widely,” Freeman writes.
Per league rules, when one owner or league official threatens litigation, he is forbidden from taking part in certain aspects of the meeting. “So when Allen’s speech ended,” Freeman wrote. “Because it included a threat to litigate, both Allen and Snyder were told to leave the room. They did.”
Read the full excerpt here.