The League

Jason Maloni
Crisis Communications Expert

Jason Maloni

Senior Vice President with
Levick Strategic Communications
and Chair of the firm's Sports & Entertainment Practice.

Snyder Knows Best


When I was ten years old, my brother and I used to steal away to the basement of my parents' house, pull the cushions off the couch, and imitate our favorite Pittsburgh Pirates: Kent Tekulve pitching to Dave Parker. We really liked those ugly, square, black baseball hats with the gold stripes.

I'd pitch a regulation baseball fifteen feet to my brother and he'd smack it into the bookshelves. It seemed like a good idea at the time. But when my father walked down at the very moment I missed high and to the right - leaving a sizeable dent in the plaster wall behind "home plate" - my days of basement pitching were over. I tried to fight it, but my father's diktat resonates with me to this day: "as long as you live under my roof, you will obey my rules." He also used to say "I brought you into this world and I will take you out" but I recall that was over another accident in the house.

The point is, as long as Washington Redskins fans are in Dan Snyder's house, you'll obey Dan Snyder's rules.

Signs and banners are a part of every NFL game. They offer fans a medium on which to cheer (or jeer), they just might get them on national television, and sometimes, they can affect the outcome of a game. But the fact remains that in 1999, Snyder purchased the Redskins, and the rights to Jack Kent Cooke Stadium (later renamed Fed Ex Field) for a cool $800 million. For that reason alone, he's got the right to ban what he feels is offensive or vulgar signage.

Sure it's frustrating, but the National Football League and a number of teams agree. In a statement made this past week, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello concluded, "It is the home club's responsibility to prevent the display of temporary signs or banners which obstruct sight lines or which are inflammatory, derogatory or generally in bad taste."

The Broncos, Bengals, Steelers, Patriots, Ravens, and Cardinals have all echoed similar positions. The biggest problem is that Redskins have done a poor job communicating their decisions with those that matter most: their fans. Instead of encouraging the Redskins faithful to remain positive and stick with their team through thick and thin, the Redskins have attempted to construct a fa├žade of tranquility by disallowing signage, and even pre-game tailgate interviews on FedEx Field property.

Effective communication acknowledges the problem and focuses on the positive - mainly, how you're going to fix it. No one will deny that the Redskins are having a difficult year and fans have every right to remain upset. But the fact remains, when you're in Snyder's house, you obey Snyder's rules.

By Jason Maloni  |  October 30, 2009; 11:01 AM ET  | Category:  Washington Redskins Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: His House, His Rules | Next: About Fear, Not Free Speech


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Um this is actually semi correct. Season Ticket holders entered into a contract. Snyder changed those terms without notification. Further snyder cannot restrict T-shirts (obviously non vulgar) or any other type of clothing that is non offensive. Even further, while he may own Fed Ex Field he is hosting a public event. He doesn't have an invite list, he sells tickets to the general public. Most of which as noted earlier were sold prior to him changing his policy without notification. Last, he uses public entities such as police and paramedics as well as public sidewalks and roads during gamedays. One could argue all of these things and have a very very strong argument that he is restricting free speech. This is completely different then if one were to enter someones home. People need to understand the differences.

Posted by: JDB1 | October 30, 2009 1:48 PM

Let's turn FedEx into a giant anti-Snyder sign:

Posted by: A1232 | October 30, 2009 2:09 PM

Let's turn FedEx into a giant anti-Snyder sign:

Posted by: A1232 | October 30, 2009 2:09 PM

Jason is right. JDB1 you are a moron. Private business are not subject to governmental regulation even if they use services like police and paramedics. If your house was burning the government could say vote Democrat or we won't put out the fire. You are an ignoramoputz.

Posted by: cashbo22 | October 30, 2009 2:40 PM

I would hope that football games are still civil places. Families attending have the right to not have to worry about their children being exposed to "R" rated vulgarities.

I also understand that fans want to express their frustrations with the team. It has been a tough couple of years but there are better forums for that kind of thing. I don't think this rule is about censoring public outrage, but about protecting our youngsters. Family-friendly is the goal here. If you don't believe me, then you can try riding home for two hours with twin 5-year-old boys chanting "F-word Dan Snyder!"

Posted by: wkate2 | October 30, 2009 3:16 PM

Did you really say private business aren't subject to government regulation? Bwahahaha and you called me an idiot. Also, Their is something called a contract. I suggest you look that up. Further I suggest you look up a private venue hosting a public event. Even further I suggest you look up the back and forth the courts have had on this very issue in malls. Your fire rant has nothing to do with this topic. In fact, what was that rant.

Posted by: JDB1 | October 30, 2009 9:09 PM

Wow, briiliant commentary: "It's Dan's house, so it's his rules." Well, to keep to this commentator"s level, "No duh!" And the annoying jerk who threatens to take his ball and go home. Sure, it's his ball, but he's still a jerk. So I don't think too many people are arguing that Snyder doesn't have a LEGAL right to ban anti-Snyder/Cerrato signs at FedEx, they're just saying he's wrong to do it because it's stupid, lame, and will only make people hate him more. So get off your "private property rules" high horse and realize that the issue isn't technical/legal, but a matter of principle.

Posted by: gringoinmiami | October 31, 2009 9:37 AM

to WKate2. I have been attending Redskins games at FedEx Field since Dan Snyder bought the team. I also have two teenage boys who have been attending games since they were at RFK. I can assure you that the recent censorship is not about fostering a family friendly environment. The "f word", public drunkeness, and other inappropriate behavior at Fed Ex Field has been tolerated by Redskins management for years - all in the name of keeping people in the stadium to buy more beer and more hotdogs. Only since the "f word" has been followed by the words "Dan Snyder" has it become unacceptable. Wake up! If creating a family friendly atmosphere was the goal, Dan Snyder wouldn't set up bars in the parking lot to facilitate drunk fans, and offensive behavior would never have been tolerated.

Posted by: sadfan1 | October 31, 2009 3:44 PM

Jason Maloni you are full of Baloni, you might as well get on your knees for Snyder. I know your type too well, you are a SUCKer in front of people with power. You want access to the skins and you will sell your fat soul for that access. Your type is a cancer growth to this country. You should be ashamed of yourself, but then again people like you have no code, have no dignity, no morals, they would do anything for power in this case that power is access to FedEX.

Posted by: bluebee8 | October 31, 2009 6:49 PM

Maloni - have you been on another planet lately? Your article reads like a Dr. Phil/Dog Wisperer epsiode where you actually condone the recent hostile action taken toward the fans.

Dear Leader Synder and his appointed game day experience manager/lawyer have banned ALL SIGNS. Signs that read, "Go Redskins" ARE BANNED. WTF is upper management and the Dear Owner trying to accomplish?

Can you areally defend banning messages to the troops? Go ahead, put that in writing!

The Danny knows best in the Danny's house? What if Danny threw a party and no one came?

Redskins fans revolt against the abysmal upper management!

Posted by: jcpublicmedia | November 2, 2009 9:35 AM

This dolt says on his web site:

"We are in the business of changing minds"

I doubt it works. He's right technically that he can ban signs, and t-shirts, but only a disaster PR man would actually advise that.

Danny doesn't care about fans because the fans think they can hate Danny, but "support the players".

Bottom line: Danny is a big ego guy because he feels that if the redskins succeed without his input now, that it would be bad because it would prove his critics correct.

He would rather be right than win. That's why the team stinks.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | November 4, 2009 10:03 PM

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