Dan Snyder has run Redskins 'like a petulant 14-year-old fantasy owner,' says Malcolm Gladwell
I'm not sure what Dan Snyder expected to happen when he sued the Washington City Paper. Maybe he thought he could intimidate the alt-weekly into publishing a hasty retraction, and perhaps even discourage them from eviscerating him (with factual facts!) in the future. I can't imagine he expected this backlash, though, with Deadspin's daily "We Are All Dave McKenna" up to CXCIX — and now, even Malcolm Gladwell is jumping on the pile.
Atop Bill Simmons' Grantland yesterday was a piece by the New Yorker staff writer about the NBA lockout and the "psychic benefits" of owning a professional sports franchise — the thesis being that most owners do not, in fact, buy teams for financial gain or run them like businesses. Instead, says Professor Counterintuitive, owners are so damn rich that they buy a team for fun, almost like a hobby. And this is where he lays into Snyder, using the Redskins owner's capricious behavior as supporting evidence:
Snyder was a brilliant entrepreneur, who at the age of 36 sold Snyder Communications — the marketing company he built from scratch — for an estimated $2 billion. He has subsequently run the Redskins like a petulant 14-year-old fantasy owner. Snyder Communications was a business. The Redskins are a toy. The former he ran to solely maximize profit. The latter he runs for his psychic benefit — as a reward for all the years he spent being disciplined and rational. And it is one of the surreal qualities of professional sports that they are as welcoming and lucrative for those owners who chose to behave like 14-year-olds as they are of those owners who chose to behave like grown-ups.
At least one man on the World Wide Web disagrees with this theory. His name is Ryan Glasspiegel, and he has one of those default-template WordPress blogs. But his response is a thoughtful one. He writes,
If anything, I would argue that although Snyder derives great financial benefits from owning the Redskins, they come at substantial psychic costs from the Redskins’ perpetually awful on-field performances of which Snyder deserves a lion’s share of the blame.
Glasspiegel says what we're all thinking, without quite saying it: Whether Snyder runs the Redskins like a cutthroat CEO or a petulant 14-year-old fantasy football owner is beside the point. The reality is that, despite his early success as a businessman, Snyder is terrible at his current job — and while his team's value continues to rise, his customers' satisfaction continues to plummet.
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