Dan Snyder apparently loaned out his jet take a shipment of relief supplies to Haiti on Sunday. Good on him.

But Snyder’s effort to get word out about the loaner is an abomination. Snyder put out a press release on Friday that hammers home the greatness of Snyder and Diageo, the company that supplies booze to FedExField.

Here’s my abridged version of Snyder’s press release, which was posted on the front page of the Redskins web site, on the Redskins blog, and on the Redskins fan message board:

“The Washington Redskins have announced that they are partnering with Diageo, the world’s leading spirits, beer and wine company…Redskins owner Daniel Snyder will donate the use of his private airplane to the relief efforts underway by Diageo’s Spirit of the Americas program….Joining the Diageo disaster relief team will be… “Diageo has been involved in relief efforts around the world for many years, and we’re fortunate to be able to partner with them,” Snyder said…”We are grateful to Dan Snyder for his generosity, and proud to be a partner of the Redskins in the face of this terrible tragedy,” said Guy Smith, Executive Vice President, Corporate Relations, Diageo North America…“Times like these require help from communities across the country and I am proud to be joining the Diageo team to assist in distributing much-needed supplies on the ground in Haiti,” [Ken] Harvey said…Diageo, the world’s premium drinks company, is organizing a cargo plane … Members of a Diageo Disaster Team will accompany that flight, as well as the flight of Snyder’s plane.”

Wow. Guess John Riggins’ “dark heart” monologue really got to Snyder.

‘Course, all I’ve done since Haiti went to hell is watch Diane Sawyer furrow her brow and ask some version of “Really?” to everybody on the island. So I feel a little bad about being so cynical about Snyder’s moves here.

But, Dan Snyder is the guy who in 2005 sold “commemorative Sept. 11 hats” with a patch of the Pentagon on ’em for $23.99 plus shipping. And he is also the guy who in July sponsored a dinner at which he was named Community MVP.

So while I’m appalled all over by the press release, I’m really stumped by the reference to “Diageo’s Disaster Team.” Once more, Diageo produces such libations as Guinness, Capt. Morgan, Tanqueray and Crown Royal, and moves the booze at Fedexfield.

So what’s a liquor company doing with a disaster team on retainer? And since when do disaster teams have sponsors?

(AFTER THE JUMP: We ain’t Hockey Town U.S.A. just yet? What’s a two-line pass? What’s an illegal chuck? Tim Donaghy would make a fine NFL ref, right? What’s the NFL got against the Baltimore Ravens, anyway? Lew Alcindor came to D.C. and got whupped? By DeMatha? Sounds like a movie, right? Remember Deon Saunders?)


In today’s Washington Post Gene Wang writes up how the Caps dream of a day when they’ll have the sort of on- and off-ice machine that the team they play tonight, the Detroit Red Wings, has back home.

The lede:

The Washington Capitals look at the Detroit Red Wings, their next opponent, and see 11 championships, including four Stanley Cups in 12 seasons. They see 55 playoff appearances and seminal Hall of Famers from a franchise that has been winning with more regularity than any other in the NHL, and they recognize the vast separation between themselves and the current industry standard.

The organization ain’t the only one that’s got a long way to catch up to Detroit. That “vast separation” between our fan base and that of Hockey Town U.S.A was comically obvious last night on sports radio station WFJK. Host Chris Russell devoted a lot of his show to the Caps and tried getting into prospective trades and potential line reshufflings, but quickly found himself deep in the weeds when the players’ plus-minus ratings came up. Nobody in the studio or calling in could agree on how the NHL tabulates the stat. Was it full-strength ice time only? Do power-plays count? How about short-handed? Overtime?

Russell kept insisting he’s “been a hockey guy forever,” but nobody came out of the rules debate unsullied. But, whatever Detroit’s got, everybody involved could tell you “Ovie”‘s the best darn plus-minuser there is.

In the interest of bringing us closer to Hockey Town U.S.A., here’s what the braintrust at about.com says on the subject:

Question: What is the “plus-minus” statistic and how is it calculated?
Answer: When an even-strength or shorthanded goal is scored, every player on the ice for the team scoring the goal is credited with a “plus.” Every player on the ice for the team scored against gets a “minus.”A player’s overall total is calculated by subtracting the minuses from the pluses. A high plus total is taken to mean that a guy is a good defensive player. But it’s a very broad measurement and there has always been disagreement over how useful a statistic it is.
  • Power play goals are not used in calculating plus-minus.
  • Shorthanded goals are used in calculating plus-minus.
  • Penalty shot goals are not used in calculating plus-minus.
  • So there it is. In fairness to Russell and his audience, I guess I’ve considered myself a football guy forever, and dang if I can tell you what’s holding or illegal contact in the NFL. I’m pretty sure at this point that most of the rules are put in place so the referees can throw a flag on something/anything when they need to keep the Baltimore Ravens from winning a game that matters.

    Once again: 55 playoff appearances!


    This month marks the 45th anniversary of DeMatha’s win over Lew Alcindor and Power Memorial High School of New York at a full Cole Field House. Alcindor finished high school with a 116-1 record at Power Memorial. He then left for UCLA, won everything there, then went to the NBA, changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and won everything there.

    Power Memorial enthusiasts call the DeMatha win “the most publicized high school basketball game of all time.”

    There’ve been film deals signed and scripts written about the DeMatha/Power Memorial game in recent years, but nothing’s ever hit the big screen.

    I’m no Siskel or Ebert, but I’m guessing Hollywood realized nobody could play Kareem.

    Why not let him play himself? He was fab in “Airplane.” (Or give Streep a chance!)

    Movie or no, some players and coaches from the victorious Stags squad are getting together for dinner later here in town to relive the moment they slayed the giant.

    Once again: 116-1. Good god.


    I put up a post yesterday about Markee Mazyck, a very talented player now in his fifth year of playing basketball at Cesar Chavez, a charter school in D.C. The WCSAA, the athletic conference for the city’s charter schools, doesn’t permit fifth-year players, so Chavez dropped out of the league this year just so Mazyck could continue playing high school ball while he finishes up earning his diploma.

    I didn’t mention just how deep athletic talent runs in his family. Markee Mazyck’s younger brother Larry Mazyck is a junior at Chavez and star lineman on the school’s football team, and at 6’7″, 350-or-so lbs., he’s getting recruited nationally. And Markee’s older brother, Deon Saunders, was a phenomenal player for Spingarn at the end of the last century. Saunders was named the Washington Post’s Player of the Year while leading the Green Wave to the City Title game in 2000.

    I remember watching Saunders a year earlier, as a junior, score 41 points in an early round of the 1999 DCIAA playoffs inside Spingarn’s gym. That’s the same gym that Elgin Baylor and Dave Bing and Earl Jones and Michael Graham and Sherman Douglas and other basketball greats had also once played in, and at the time it looked like he blended swell with the school’s incredible legacy. Saunders later played college ball for American University, Hartford College and Southern University.

    According to his Southern University bio, Saunders’ birthday is August 12, 1981, which means he finished at Spingarn a year behind his regularly scheduled class.


    Full disclosure: I freelance music reviews for the Washington Post.

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