Dan Snyder is the most vilified man in Washington sports. He is responsible for tearing down a storied franchise, overspending on players whose respect for the franchise is so minimal that they refuse to report to camp and, in his spare time, he sues little old ladies for defaulting on their season tickets during a time of economic crisis.
Now, Snyder's list of sins grows ever longer, as Dave McKenna from the Washington City Paper reports that Snyder is "gouging" local military personnel in an attempt to sell season tickets:
In June, for example, Snyder started soliciting soldiers and civilian employees of the Department of Defense, sending an announcement out to local bases that told service-connected people: "This is the first opportunity to purchase Season Tickets without being on a waiting list!" Snyder offered the military and DOD folks a $100 discount off the price of season tickets. 'Course, that $100 would go to what Snyder has long called an "account activation fee" that he charges for every season ticket sold. Snyder's customers, civilian or military or whatever, get absolutely nothing for that $100, making the charge one of the sneakiest fan gouging techniques mankind has yet devised.
OK, before we get take our pitchforks and torches off the wall, let me play devil's advocate.
Yes, Snyder is not a very nice businessman. I'm quite sure that most billionaires are jerks, because in order to make a bajillion dollars, you need to be willing to step on a few necks to make it to the top of the heap. That's why the honest and emotional outpouring of affection for Abe Pollin stands in stark contrast to most owners, as his staff/patrons/employees loved the man for his loyalty and dedication. But even Abe had a cold streak, as could be witnessed in his dismissal of Michael Jordan from the Wizards.
It's also the team's job to sell tickets. For any Washington area team, if you purchase a ticket to one of their events, they are going to spam your Inbox with "special" offers and "limited" time deals. Pointing out that Snyder is targeting a certain niche of the local population such as the military doesn't hold water, unless you want to get mad at the Wizards/D.C. United et al. for targeting students with their "College Night" promotion, or Mom and Dad with "Family Fun" night. Drumming up indignation over marketing practices is silly, and becomes even more so when the core of your argument is "how dare they do that to our soldiers?"
I have no problem with disliking Daniel Snyder. Certainly, his pattern of action suggests a thought process more in line with what McKenna is suggesting, rather than a simple marketing manoeuvre. However, I draw the line at comparing anyone to Senator Joe McCarty, which McKenna does at the end of his piece:
Good golly, this is awful. I'm reminded of the most famous quote to come out of most famous Congressional hearings of the mid-20th Century, when Sen. Joe McCarthy, caught using the military to score personal points, was asked: "Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?
Actually, what is awful is comparing a guy attempting to sell football tickets to one of the most loathsome figures in recent American history. If we have truly reached the point where Snyder has become so despised in D.C. that a writer can compare him Joe McCarthy, well then our critical abilities have really gone off the rails.