John McMullen - NFL Editor Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
If contradiction was an Olympic sport, Chip Kelly would certainly be medal-worthy judging by his performance at the NFL's owners meeting but the Eagles coach might have to settle for silver because Daniel Snyder's critics will take the gold every time.
Don't get me wrong, there is plenty to denounce about Snyder, who, from a pure football perspective, is one of the worst owners in the league, turning the Washington Redskins from a traditional powerhouse into an afterthought at best and a laughing stock at worst.
Off the field, Snyder's been an even bigger embarrassment, at least to the progressive crowd who can't take his dedication to the organization's disparaging (editor's note: it's not racist -- please look up the definition of that word before you hurl irresponsible charges) nickname.
Since May 1999 when Snyder purchased the team and Jack Kent Cooke Stadium (nowFedExField) for $800 million in what was the most expensive transaction in sporting history at the time, Washington has been awash in a mediocrity during Snyder's time at the helm.
His reign has been defined by a haphazard approach featuring a revolving-door of head coaches as well as a disturbing pattern of signing high-priced free agents in favor of building through the draft, things that have been somewhat alleviated in recent seasons.
Controversy, though, always seems to find Snyder. Some issues are self- inflicted like when the billionaire had his team sue season-ticket holders who were unable to pay during the 2008-2009 recession.He also has alienated his own fan base by banning all signs from FedExField and charging exorbitant parking fees that reach even higher for tailgaters.
Yet his critics often paint him as an evil genius, which is more than a little strange because a prodigy is generally someone who displays exceptional intellectual ability as a character trait, not targeted brilliance in the business world and outright buffoonery in professional football.
Author John Feinstein was the latest to take aim at Snyder this week, lambasting the owner for trying to create state-run media in the form of a sports-radio station that would be beholden to the whims of the Redskins.
"Only Dan Snyder and the people who work for him could turn the launching of a local radio show into a national story and a national embarrassment," Feinstein said on CBS Sports Radio's The DA Show, "but Snyder has been doing that consistently for a long time now -- on and off the field."
Snyder's station (WTEM) hired Jason Reid -- one of Feinstein's former co- workers at the Washington Post -- to serve as co-host of the new show and that's where the evil-genius nonsense kicks in.
"Jason has, at times, been critical of Washington's management," Feinstein claimed. "Gee, why would you be critical of a football team that has won two playoff games in 16 years and was 4-12 this past season? People were a little surprised that Dan Snyder and (team president) Bruce Allen approved this hiring of Jason Reid because he had been a critic of the team."
So why did Snyder OK the hiring of one of his chief nemeses?
"There is a conspiracy theory that Snyder and Allen had let Jason Reid quit his job at the Washington Post in order to get him out of the Post, and then just before he was supposed to go on air, said, 'Sorry, you're not going on air,'" Feinstein explained.
The show was originally scheduled to debut a few weeks ago, but three days before its inaugural edition, Snyder derailed the plans, at least according to the detractors.
While that might seem silly to most and Feinstein, whether he knows it or not, took some serious shots at his friend's credibility, it's at least plausible because Snyder has always had the reputation of a bully and he has always been sensitive of critical press.
"Now the show is supposed to debut on Monday," Feinstein continues, "and my guess is that Jason Reid has been read the riot act and (been told) you better be damn careful about what you say about Mr. Snyder -- as he likes to be called -- once you get on the air.
"It's apparent that criticizing Snyder and Allen is off the boards. And everybody -- everybody on that station -- takes up in defense of the offensive team name."
To me Feinstein has fallen into the classic truther- or birther-mentality, take a grain of truth and build up whatever you want around it. . Just understand Occam's razor generally hold up, sometimes the simplest answer is the right one. Reid's show is set to debut and it's conceivable the delay was for far more mundane reasons.
The fact that WTEM officials have not explained the reason for the postponement, however, only fuels the skeptics who will be listening for the first sign of Snyder criticism.
And if it's completely absent from Reid's narrative, something that would devastate the host's reputation and assure the show's failure, then perhaps people like Feinstein have something.
"(Snyder) tries to be a bully," Feinstein said. "He's tried to freeze out reporters that didn't write and say the things that he wanted written and said. He has personally attacked me on a number of occasions, which is fine. I'm a big boy. I can take it. But he's a bully. And he thinks that being very rich, which he is, gives you the right to treat people as badly as you so desire."
"Everybody's sensitive," Feinstein continued. "I don't like being criticized. None of us do. But I think he has developed this honest belief that money equals who you are. It's a class system with him. I'm rich, so that means I'm better than other people."
It's certainly not groundbreaking news to think a rich guy may have some entitlement issues but Feinstein just might have some problems of his own, at least when it comes to Snyder.
The author of "A Good Walk Spoiled" and "A Season on the Brink" is letting his personal distaste for Snyder pollute his thinking.
"A lot of people have given up on the (Redskins) - not so much because they're losing. The losing frustrates them," Feinstein said. "But because they're losing and because the owner is such a dislikable person."