Dan Snyder’s Redskins Toxic Culture

Redskins Toxic Culture… thanks, Danny boy… oops I mean Mr. Snyder.

The Washington Redskins, a storied football franchise. One of the winningest teams of the 80’s and early 90’s. Now they’re under attack and not only for the name that Native American’s find offensive. Lately, Washington Natives want the name changed too. They want it changed to the Trenton Redskins, the Richmond Redskins, the anything but Washington team.

What’s going on here? Daniel Snyder, a spoiled rich petulant child purchased a big boy toy. This man who got lucky in business once while working with his more talented sister has failed… a team, a city and himself… again. Danny’s failed prior to Snyder Communications (a fluke overvalued sale of a sleazy telemarketing firm) and multiple times since. Dan Snyder, a nerd with a chip on his shoulder purchased a team with a winning tradition and turned it into a perennial loser. Dan Snyder, the very cause of Redskins Toxic Culture.

Here’s a team that in the last 14 years under Danny’s stewardship has a win-loss record of  104 – 133. This is a team that played in 5  Super Bowls, winning 3, in the 20 years prior becoming the leagues laughing stock. The Redskin’s have become the second bi-week game for teams lucky enough to draw them on their schedule. Snyder’s Skins have only played a total of 6 playoff games in the 14 years under the Danster.

This is an owner according to a tweet from former NFL quarterback Tony Banks, that has the football IQ of your average Fantasy Football League owner. Yet intrudes deeply in all aspects of his $800B toy.

I have two personal Dan Snyder encounters.

  1. My kids went to a fabulous school in Maryland. We had been part of that community for years when a horrible thing happened. Dan Snyder enrolled his daughter and became a fellow parent at that school. He demanded 2 rules when he enrolled his child: 1. The other parents weren’t allowed to approach the “Big Man” and, 2. when we were in a conversation with him we were to address him as Mr. Snyder (Mr. Snyder my ass. Money doesn’t buy you respect. Respect is earned). Now I’ll tell you that Danny boy wasn’t the most famous parent in the school nor was he the wealthiest. We had Presidential nephews and nieces, Ambassador’s kids, and multiple Forbes 500 parents. Bill Marriott, CEO of Marriott had multiple grandchildren in the school. During parent visiting days, Bill was one of us. Sitting on the floor with the kids and the parents. Insecure and supercilious Dan would be in the back of the room, in his blue suit, white shirt, red tie, big shot crossed arms stance, and chauffeur with the car running in the fire lane of the school. Danny didn’t fit in, he was not compatible with our culture and fortunately, he opted out after 1 year. Thanks, Danny!
  2. The other story? I called into a Dan owned radio station when the hosts asked callers to give suggestions on what could be done to make the Skins more like winning organization like the Steelers or the Ravens. I called and said it wasn’t the coaches, it was ownership. Let’s trade owners. The shows call screener laughed and said, “I’m sorry, we can’t put that on the air.”

Snyder is famous for trying to silence criticism instead of fixing the product. One year he banned signs from the stadium in an attempt to squelch criticism making it to the NFL broadcast airwaves. You can’t run from sucking Dan, you must change the product, not silence the critics. You must unsuck!

He tried to sue a reporter at the City Paper and later dropped that specious lawsuit (see article).

Here’s the thing, Dan’s spent money on players like a drunken sailor… or as Banks would say, like a drunken fantasy football league owner. He’s gone through 7 coaches (soon to be 8) in 14 years. The Skins have had 9 starting QBs under Danny. Everything has changed… everything except ownership.

Dan Snyder has created a Losing Redskin Toxic Culture. Great players have come here only to degrade and fail. Great coaches have come here only to sputter. People have left here to a rebirth elsewhere. Culture is the difference between winning and losing and culture starts at the top.

In this NFL team, the owner has been intrusive in coaching decisions, has played favorites, has countermanded coaching decisions. He’s cut his coaches off at the knees.

No one has spent so much to get so little. If this was a public traded company, the board that allowed this dysfunction to continue would be in court for criminal negligence.

Dan Snyder is a lesson in losing. How to build a losing culture. How to destroy a storied franchise. How to fail to lead. Luck can only carry a man so far, Dan Snyder is a lesson in how not to succeed, and lady luck has not returned since his improbable single business success which appears now to have been a fluke.

The only way to fix this thing is to tear it completely down and start again from the beginning. The only way to fix this thing is new ownership.