It’s hard to imagine why it’s taken 16 years for the media to finally get up in arms against Dan Snyder’s entrenched refusal to change the racist name of the Washington, D.C., football team. But a new Deadspin piece by Dave McKenna sheds some light on Snyder’s manipulative tactics that predated his recent launch of a preposterous promotional website:
When the team was losing the public relations battle with star player LaVar Arrington over a 2005 contract negotiation, [WRC Sports Director George] Michael took the lead in trashing the beloved player as lazy and unintelligent until the fans turned against Arrington. He had members of WRC’s news crew pose as working journalists while staffing the 30-minute infomercials produced by Redskins Broadcasting, which had names like “Redskins Nation” and “Redskins Late Night” and were aired during time Snyder bought on the station and on others in the market. (Click here for a Snyder-produced promotional video for team-owned productions featuring future ESPN anchor Lindsay Czarniak and future NFL Network face Dan Hellie.) Michael never disclosed his or his station’s contractual ties to the team on the air and, more sleazily, tried to hide them by directing viewers who wanted to provide feedback to an email address with an “nbc.com” address, though the network had no hand in the shows’ production.