There is no worse owner in professional sports than Daniel Snyder, whose Washington football team has won a grand total of one playoff game in this century. Knicks fans know what this is like. Their team has won one playoff series since 2000. In the nation’s capital, Snyder is their Dolan. He should go now along with his team’s stupid nickname.
But here is the thing about sports owners like Snyder: With some rare exceptions — Donald Sterling, Marge Schott — they can mostly survive a nuclear attack. They can dig in and say that they are never going to change a racist nickname, the way Snyder said he never would, as recently as 2013. Their organization can be called out in the public square the way Snyder’s organization was called out in the Washington Post this week as a virtual finishing school for sexual harassment of female employees. But, through it all, clown owners like Snyder go on and on.
So you know? Snyder didn’t change his team’s nickname because he thought it was some exercise in truth and beauty. He didn’t even change it because Nike and Amazon were running in the other direction as if the team’s headquarters were on fire. No: This was a business decision on Snyder’s part. You know why? He wants a new stadium. No, check that:
He wants another new stadium for his team.
FedEx Field, formerly known as Jack Kent Cooke Stadium after the owner of the team before Snyder, opened in 1997. Snyder wants one of his own. He wants a stadium even bigger and badder than the Palace of Versailles Stadium where Jerry Jones’ Cowboys play. And he wants it in Washington D.C., on the site of RFK Stadium, where Snyder’s team played before they moved about five miles away to Landover. That site is on federally owned land. In the current America, even someone boneheaded as Snyder was able to figure out that he wasn’t going to get there with what had been his team’s nickname since it was founded in 1932 by George Preston Marshall, a professional bigot who didn’t integrate pro football in Washington D.C. until three decades later, almost as a last resort.
Nearly 70 years after Marshall first owned the team, its fans got Daniel Snyder, a football know-nothing. And were reminded of one of the enduring truisms of professional sports in this country:
If your team is owned by somebody like Snyder, you’re screwed.
The other owners in the National Football League couldn’t get Snyder to change the team’s nickname. Now let’s see what they all do about this story in the Washington Post, which Snyder apparently thinks he can get past by hiring a high-powered and high-priced lawyer named Beth Wilkinson; by asking Wilkinson to review a toxic culture around the team that sounds as if it would get the people in charge of the Environmental Protecting Agency to throw up their hands.
“Beth Wilkinson and her firm are empowered to do a full, unbiased investigation and make any and all requisite recommendations. Upon completion of her work, we will institute new policies and procedures and strengthen our human resources infrastructure to not only avoid these issues in the future but most importantly create a team culture that is respectful and inclusive of all.”
Snyder sounds like Capt. Renault in “Casablanca” announcing that he was shocked, shocked to discover that gambling was going on at Rick’s Place. Or, and more likely, he sounds like Inspector Clouseau. Because if you believe he had no knowledge of the way his Director of Pro Personnel Alex Santos and his radio play-by-play man Larry Michaels were treating women who worked for him — at a place that started to sound like Weinstein Island in the Post — then you also believe, to evoke another Washington Football Club tradition, that hogs can fly.
Now we see what Roger Goodell does about this. Now we see what kind of penalty Snyder will pay. If you didn’t see the NFL’s original response, here is a part of it:
The league found what was reported in the Post to be “serious, disturbing and contrary to the NFL’s values.” The statement then went on to say that the league would review the findings of what it called the “outside” investigation that has been initiated by Snyder.
No. The league should conduct its own investigation, even knowing that the charges leveled by the women quoted in the Post story come across as being as authentic as dust on books at the Library of Congress. And then Roger Goodell has to be as much of a tough guy disciplining an owner as he is disciplining his players when they behave in a way that is deemed contrary to the league’s values, whatever the hell that means at this point.
If Goodell can’t kick Snyder out of his league for good, he ought to suspend him for a year. It wouldn’t be enough. But it would be something. Colin Kaepernick lost his football career for simply taking a knee in the name of social justice, long before the current awakening on that subject in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands — knee – of a thug cop in Minneapolis. By the way? That awakening is one of the reasons why Snyder finally took a knee on his team’s nickname, even though Kaepernick and all others kneeling were once called “SOBs” by none other than the president of the United States.
But it’s different for Snyder. He’s the guy who owns the team. He’s a member of one of the most exclusive clubs in America. It doesn’t matter that the man or woman or child sitting in the cheapest seats at his current stadium know more about football than he does. Again: If even a fraction of what women who once worked for him said is true, he ought to go for a year at least. He ought to be the one on the outside looking in on the National Football League.
Because ask yourself:
If Kaepernick is an SOB, what’s Daniel Snyder?
So here is Alex Rodriguez, who acts as if he knows everything about everything, explaining on a conference call about Sunday Night Baseball (which has fewer viewers now than when he first showed up in the booth) how he thinks the players have to sacrifice to help grow the sport.
Or words to that effect, whether he said “salary cap” or not.
Our Alex, then, continues to remind you of an expression Jimmy Breslin once used about Hugh Carey, in Carey’s late innings as governor of New York:
A dream character in dancing pumps.
And whose phoniness can sometimes be almost breathtaking.
This is a guy who made a total of $448 million across his career and never left five dollars on the table.
Now the guy who was the captain of the Biogenesis All-Stars and who did lose out on $25 million when he got suspended for a whole year because of that, wants to shape the future of the game.
And he wants to own a team, too.
He’s going to run a team and Pete Rose can’t get in the Hall of Fame.
Got that, too.
I know everyone is being extremely well-intentioned, but if the NBA needs that snitch hotline to get the whole bubble thing to work, the season isn’t going to make it out of the month of August.
I’m still trying to understand why it was treated as some sort of national outrage that the Cowboys didn’t make Dak Prescott one of the highest paid professional athletes on the planet.
Imagine if the Panthers had given Cam Newton the kind of 10-year deal that the Chiefs just gave Patrick Mahomes when the Panthers were 15-1 and Newton looked like the Next Thing in professional football.
Prescott has thrown for 30 touchdown passes, in a passer’s league, once in his career.
He’s thrown for 4,000 yards once in his career.
His team didn’t make the playoffs last season.
Put it this way:
Jerry Jones seems to like Prescott a lot.
But he sure doesn’t seem to love him.
Since the Knicks are now as obsessed with Giannis as they were with LeBron and then Durant, they are probably aware that Jason Kidd might give them their best chance at him when he becomes a free agent.
Say it again:
Aaron Judge has the chance to be the face of the Yankees for a long time the way Jeter was, even if he’s never going to win the way Jeter did.
But he has missed 50 games two years ago and 60 games last year and might have missed more of the 2020 season had it started on time.
You know how many times Mike Trout has missed 50 or more games in a season?
Finally today: Happy 80th birthday to the great Joe Torre.
Other Yankee managers won more.
No one ever did more for the New York Yankees than the man Jeter called “Mister Torre” did.