City Paper is not for tourists
In case you missed it: Rocken Rollen Stewart, who showed up at televised sporting events carrying a “John 3:16” sign throughout the 1980s, had his sign removed from a Redskins game at RFK in 1984. So he sued.
And he won. But it took eight years before Stewart was told by the courts he could carry his sign into the stadium here.
Times and venues have changed. It’s unclear if Rockin’ Rollen’s case will help victims of the Redskins latest purge. Will somebody who had their poster taken please sue Dan Snyder so we can find out?
Also, for the eating-disorder-looking print edition, I squeezed BeerInTheBathroomsGate
David Alperin checks in with some more Dan Snyder weirdness.
Alperin was the first guy to tell me that Snyder changed the sign policy at FedExField. Before the Tampa Bay game, stadium guards confiscated a sign he made saying “Love the Redskins, Hate the Owner.”
(AFTER THE JUMP: Fake cheering at FedEx? You’re going to use “Douchewellian” again? AND the trademark sign? El Al disputes charges that its security is as Douchewellian as Dan Snyder’s? You’re going to promote the Great Dan Steinberg again? GEICO signs good, Snyder Sucks signs bad? Why would anybody go to Snyder’s “Night of the Quarterbacks”? Brett Haber plays the feud with his former boss?)
Before making the sign, Alperin had checked on Redskins.com, Snyder’s own site, to make sure that it was within the rules to bring it to the game. It was. When Alperin told the confiscators he had looked at the team’s own rule book, the guards told Alperin that the rules had been changed “last night” and took his sign anyway.
Alperin now says that while attending the Eagles game he noticed that Snyder’s message control efforts go way beyond that latter-day book burning.
“The crowd noise after DeSean Jackson scored and for the remainder of the game was fake,” Alperin reports. “It was pumped in over the speakers to create the illusion of excited fans. I looked around and the majority of the crowd looked like someone just killed their puppy. There was no energy. The only cheering I did was to boo Campbell, Snyder & Cerrato.”
When will the Douchewellian
(Alperin, by the way, says he will not be renewing his season tickets after this season.)
The other day Cheap Seats Daily mentioned how a friend was given a total body frisk by a guard looking for anti-Snyder signs at the gate before the Eagles game, and threw in a line that the security checks were tougher to get into FedExField than to “board an El Al flight.”
That prompted the following response from Ron Glickman, account manager for El Al Israel Airlines Ltd:
“Enjoyed reading your comments about the security checks at FedExField, but I must assure you, the checks that one would go through for an El Al flight are a lot less hands on as your article suggests. All of our checks are first to screen the passengers and provide them with a sterile environment as they check in and on the aircraft. If anyone is ever searched, it is always a last resort and we rarely do a body search. In fact, I don’t think that we have done any in the past year in the entire United States.”
Glickman then plugged El Al’s “code share flights” with American Airlines from DC to Tel Aviv.
The Great Dan Steinberg, who has chronicled the Prague Spring of Redskins Nation like nobody’s business, had another golden nugget yesterday: The Skins gave away Geico signs at the gate of the Redskins/Eagles game, while confiscating and destroying all other signs.
I guess this means David “Yeah, That’s the Ticket!” Donovan, the Redskins chief operating officer and neo-Karl Swanson, was caught lying again? Donovan’s been on a spree all week — saying Philly fans weren’t in FedExField, that only a few posters were confiscated at the Monday game, that Redskins fans aren’t acting any different this season, etc. And during his own personal WhopperFest, Donovan has also asserted that the Redskins have a policy against all signs, for safety reasons.
Now come tales of Monday’s Geico banner giveaway by the team Donovan chiefly operates. To find out that what Donovan has been saying wasn’t true is just, well, business as usual.
Nobody ever heard of Donovan until the Washington Post’s ticket scandal investigation broke, when he came out to say the team doesn’t really sell to scalpers and doesn’t really sue its season ticket holders — both big, bad fibs.
And ever since that coming out party he’s kept up a pace for fibbery that’s just awe-inspiring. I can’t ever remember a public figure being caught in so many lies in such a short period of time. If untruthiness were an Olympic sport, well, Donovan’d be on a podium and they’d be playing our anthem. Sorry, Gov. Sanford, you’ll have to settle for the silver medal. (For a different take on the guy, the commenter on the fan message board Hogs Haven says he was once a neighbor of Donovan’s, and remembers him being “of good character.” Then the ex-neighbor adds, Donovan “knows who signs his paycheck.”)
(I had heard Geico commercials on Snyder’s sportstalk station, WTEM, in the days leading up to the Eagles game saying that the “first 10,000 fans” to show up at FedEx would get a “free gift” from Geico. But they never mentioned what the gift was. Now we know why.)
Another victim of the Skins crisis: Snyder is running commercials for the Redskins party he’s throwing next Tuesday, dubbed “Night of Quarterbacks” and featuring speeches from Sonny Jurgensen, Joe Theismann and Jason Campbell, at a pace that seems desperate.
Pretty much every break on his radio sportstalker, WTEM, includes another spot for the party. So every 10 minutes or so, you hear: “Space is limited!”
Tickets are $106.50. On the invitation, suggested dress is “casual business attire.” I wonder if Snyder will admit couples who show up wearing “Dumb” and “Dumber” shirts.
Actually, I wonder if anybody will show up.
But, there are some winners in the Skins soap opera: Rich Tandler tells me his RealRedskins blog has never been more popular.
“They say that Redskins TV ratings are down and that team merchandise sales are down,” Tandler says. “But the hits are booming at my website. I’m on pace for a 30% + increase in unique visitors to RealRedskins.com for October compared to September. Page views already are up 30% and there are five days to go in the month.”
“It seems that giving fans a place to vent is good for business,” Tandler says.
Now Brett Haber, who used to work for Dan Snyder, wants a piece of that. Haber is now touting a message board to bash the Redskins owner. It’s been accepting viewer harangues since yesterday afternoon.
Haber recently found out that his former boss at the Redskins Broadcast Network has banned him and Channel 9 and allegedly everybody with a camera from interviewing patrons in FedExField’s official parking lot. Haber’s peeved at Snyder. Snyder learned how to control the media while putting WUSA news employees on the payroll to run his infomercials and preseason game telecasts, a situation that the CBS affiliate always concealed. Just as WRC now tries to deny that its news employees, even the ones wearing licensed Redskins shirts on the air and carrying “Redskins Broadcast Network” microphones, are working for Snyder.
(Full disclosure: I freelance music reviews for the Washington Post.)
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