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Posts Tagged ‘Dan Snyder’

Redskins’ Newest Comms Advisor Quits Amid Political Uproar

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Washington RedskinsThe Washington Football Team may have ended 4 of the past 5 seasons with a losing record, but they’ve appeared near the top of many “least desirable clients in the world” lists for far longer.

Last night we learned that Dan Snyder‘s latest attempt to improve his team’s public standing failed in quiet, Twitter-induced fashion.

The team’s basic strategy was to hire Ben Tribbett, a well-known political blogger who has long supported the Democratic Party, to help sway the public.

It didn’t work, though: last night Tribbett announced his resignation, appropriately, on Twitter after about two weeks on the job.

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Anti-Redskins Spot to Air on NBA Finals Tonight

It’s tough out there for Daniel Snyder: no matter how many political strategists you hire to convince the public to get over your team’s name and mascot, history keeps coming back to bite you in the ass.

And the controversy won’t die down anytime soon. Tonight, during the Heat/Spurs NBA finals game, this spot will run in seven cities:

The most interesting part of this story: the above ad isn’t new. It first hit YouTube almost six months ago, described as “the #BigGame commercial the NFL would never air.”

But a 60-second version of it will run during the game thanks to a “significant” ESPN/ABC ad buy by The Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation of California. It’s all about raising awareness of the campaign, and it’s already gone super-viral on Reddit, etc.

We’re thankfully not advising Mr. Snyder at the moment, but if we were we’d say that he needs to do something substantial to help his “Washington Professional Football Team” recover the fumble–and soon.

Redskins Hire Veteran Political Advisors to Handle Name Crisis

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Washington RedskinsSpeaking of football, what about those Washington Redskins?!?!

You almost certainly missed this Friday dump last week, but after initially denying rumors published by left-leaning blog ThinkProgress, a Redskins spokesperson confirmed that the team has hired a crew of veteran political communicators to help deal with the ongoing controversy over its name.

All of these advisors have a history of working with Republican Party candidates and officials on messaging/public polling, and each of them now runs his own consulting firm.

Check out the lineup after the jump.

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Dan Snyder’s Redskins Letter Wasn’t a PR Win At All

daniel-snyderWe’d just finished analyzing Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder‘s damage control letter today when a commentor alerted us to this afternoon’s satirical Washington Post op-ed by Sally Jenkins, along with this one and this one. The three articles collectively demolish each of the supposed strong points of Snyder’s strategy:

  • The Native American coach who Snyder claims led the inaugural squad was almost certainly not Native American.
  • The stated purpose of the “Indian” school this coach attended was “forced assimilation”, aka seizing children from their parents.
  • The late-period coach Snyder claims consulted with a local Native America groups before approving the team’s logo actually created the group himself.

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UPDATE: 5 Best Points in Washington Redskins Owner’s Damage Control Letter

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Washington RedskinsEverybody who’s anybody (and a few people who aren’t) has already weighed in on the controversy surrounding the Washington Redskins name. Our newest contributor Shawn Paul Wood addressed it on Talent Zoo‘s Flack Me blog this week, concluding that it’s a perfect PR challenge for our era.

Now for the damage control case study. In the face of increasing pressure, team owner Dan Snyder (who is himself a comms vet) finally addressed the issue in a statement that went beyond his usual “Hell no, and you can put that in all caps” response. In this letter to members of fan organization Redskins Nation, Snyder did the smart thing: rather than come out swinging and berate his detractors as PC thought police, he went for emotion and nostalgia.

Let’s review some of his better lines:

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The Washington Redskins’ Public Relations “Henchman”


The Washington Redskins have had a tough year. They sit in last place in the NFL’s competitive NFC East division, despite a high payroll and expectations. Fans are aggravated and have begun calling for the head of team owner Daniel Snyder.

Who does Synder turn to, to protect his image? Karl Swanson, his public-relations “henchman,” of course. Swanson is the subject of a Washington Post profile piece today. He uses both verbal and physical tactics:

When journalists have sought comment from the Redskins owner in public, the linebacker-size Swanson has often gotten in front of the media mob, shielding his boss from questions.

Swanson is Snyder’s proxy because Snyder rarely speaks for himself. The team owner says he doesn’t grant interviews during the regular season, and rarely does so at other times.

Swanson has experience as a reporter, having worked at the Associated Press. His tough love approach has lead to turnover within the organization, as the team has had “seven directors of communications during Snyder’s 11-year ownership, a rate that exceeds the turnover in the head coaching job,” reports the Post.

[image: Swanson, right, with owner Dan Snyder, left, and Vinny Cerrato, a Redskins VP]