Thursday, October 29, 2009

DC Is The Worst Pro Sports City. Period.

I don't have any scientific research to back this up, but I am still pretty convinced that DC is the national capitol of lousy sports teams. The reasons are many, but one thing that recently occurred to me is that the pro team owners are uniformly lousy.

Wizards owner Abe Polin is a notorious penny pincher who once asked the players to launder their own jerseys and warmup gear at home to save money.[1] DC United can't find a sweetheart, taxpayer-funded stadium deal, and might be leaving town anyday now. The Nats ownership insists on fielding a Single-A team and charging $9 for a beer, but wont use any of their astounding profits to pay the measly rent on their brand new, sparsely attended stadium. Mystics owner Shelia Johnson (yeah, Bob's ex-wife) is a rank opportunist who recently got into trouble for tackily picking on a VA gubernatorial candidate's stuttering problem. The Caps owner looks like a trout.[2] It's a real collection of winners, as shown by the teams' on-court/field records.

And then there's Redskins owner Daniel Synder, who just keeps inventing new levels of douchebaggishness everyday.
The Washington Redskins haven't just stripped head coach Jim Zorn of the ability to call the plays. They've also stripped their fans of the ability to bring signs to FedEx Field.

Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post reports that the Redskins have issued a blanket policy that no fans are permitted to enter the stadium with signs of any kind. This is a new policy -- a few weeks ago the team banned only inappropriate and offensive signs -- but a Redskins spokesman told the Post he wasn't sure when or why the policy changed.

The official word from the team is that signs and banners can't be permitted in the stadium because they could obstruct fans' views, and the team even says spectators could be injured by signs. But it's hard not to think the Redskins made this policy because they anticipate large numbers of fans bringing signs to the stadium that criticize the team and owner Daniel Snyder.

Whatever the reasons for the policy, the result -- as Steinberg documents -- is that a number of fans who didn't know about the policy were forced to throw their signs away before they could enter Monday night's game against the Eagles. Among the signs that security personnel wouldn't allow in the stadium was one that said, "Hi to my husband in Afghanistan. Love you." Steinberg fished that one -- and several others -- out of a trash can outside FedEx Field.

Obviously, not every sign is going to be as heart warming as a message to a soldier overseas -- one fan was removed from the stadium for a decidedly more negative banner -- but the bottom line for the Redskins is that they've decided they don't want their fans expressing any opinion in a way that can easily be picked up by TV cameras. It's probably safe to say the Redskins wouldn't have a problem with signs in the stands if they didn't have so many problems on the field.
C'mon, Danny, seriously? Banning signs because "spectators could be injured"?!? F'real?

I suppose this has nothing at all to do with the fact that the team you so horribly put together got completely embarrassed on national TV the other night vs a not-so-great Eagles team. Nothing to do with the clueless coach who didn't even know the team's colors at his introductory press conference. Nothing to do with the outmatched QB who played so terribly he ended up a trending topic. Nothing to do with the graying offensive coordinator who was calling Bingo games in Detroit just two weeks ago.

The Skins fell to 2-5 with the loss, with their own wins coming against two teams (The Rams and Bucs) who have still yet to win a game this season. And by a total of 5 combined points. So yeah, basically your team sucks. But banning signs because you're so sensitive is just silly. Fans aren't entitled to be jackasses and bring signs with profanity (see above), but considering the fact that the Skins have the 2nd priciest ticket in the NFL, it's understandable that folks would be pissed. What's next, are you gonna ban booing too?

How about banning yourself as owner and giving the keys to someone else?

I hear some guy named Limbaugh's got a lot of money and free time on his hands.

Question: Is there any justification for a team owner banning signs at a pro football game? Is this clearly a case of a team owner being too sensitive, or do signs actually rob other paying fans of their gameday experience? Is there a worse pro sports city than DC?!?

Redskins rule: Fans can't bring signs to games [ProFootballTalk]

Redskins Fan Booted From MNF Game, Banned From FedEx For Anti-Snyder Sign [Mr Irrelevant]

Sporting title of Loserville, D.C. dwells at foggy bottom [WashPost]

[1] Sure, I'm holding out hope that the season opening win vs Dallas is a sign of things to come. But lets not get carried away with one win.

[2] I'm slowly becoming a Caps fan. And Leonsis is actually a pretty decent owner. But he does look like a trout.

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