The Washington City Paper has released an open letter to its readers in response to the Redskins' decision to file a lawsuit against the paper for what they believe to be libelous claims made against team owner Dan Snyder in a November 19 cover story by Dave McKenna. The letter, written by publisher Amy Austin states that it stands by the facts in the article and said it will defend its case "vigorously" if the team indeed moves forward with the suit.
The letter also states that the paper has given Snyder an invitation to write a response to the story.
As a well known public figure, Snyder has more than ample ability and resources to respond to coverage he does not like, including through his significant public relations apparatus. Lest there be any doubt, we have offered him a forum to do so in our pages, and that invitation stands. Should he elect to actually file a lawsuit, we have directed our counsel to defend the case vigorously.
The story, entitled "The Cranky Redskins Fan Guide To Dan Snyder," details all of Snyder's failings as team owner. Initial reports suggested that the team was calling for McKenna to be fired, but the team has denied that. Instead, the team claims the suit focuses on the front-page picture depiction of Snyder as a devil, a claim that he forged his signature while working as a telemarketer, which they believe to be false, and what they believe to be an unfair depiction of Snyder's wife, who is a breast cancer survivor.
Austin writes that the Washington City Paper stands behind the facts in the article. She wrote that the Redskins' warning letter strongly urged against fighting the lawsuit, suggesting the paper could not financially support such litigation. In response, the paper offered Snyder a chance to respond, which prompted the Redskins to ask for certain documents to be retained for litigation. The paper is reviewing that matter now.