If Danny Snyder had his way, he'd buy all the media outlets in the world in an attempt to thwart any critic of his 'play-thing' franchise or the man he calls "darling" when looking into the mirror each morning. And bloggers? Well, Lil' Danny would gladly employ ex-water-board "technicians" if he could.
Not to say Snyder hasn't already tried to propagandize all things Redskins, with his media conglomerate, Red Zebra Broadcasting, gobbling up radio stations throughout burgundy and gold nation. In July of '08, Red Zebra acquired several stations, including DC's WTEM Sports Talk 980, which he affiliated with ESPN. Recently, Snyder axed two stalwarts of DC sports radio, Brian Mitchell and Smokin' Al Koken; rather, their contracts were not extended because they were hired before Snyder's regime.
Some readily point to "that damn economy" as an out of the box excuse for the dismissals. With the weak signals, poor coverage, and declining listeners to boot, Snyder & Co. have supporting arguments, continued trouble with Six Flags notwithstanding. What declining venture will Snyder invest in next?
The removal of Mitchell and Koken has caused a stir among DC sports heads. WaPost columnist, Leonard Shapiro, alludes that both were fired for past criticism of the franchise, Mitchell especially, stemming from his on-air feud with the owner's "pet," Clinton Portis.
Jarrett Carter at Stet Sports argues that Mitchell had worn out his welcome. A talking head need not be a mouth-piece for the organization, but picking fights with players isn't helping anyone ... except bloggers of course.
The tragedy for DC sports, already in a good old fashioned rut, is the loss of Koken, who'd been with the station forever. Shapiro points out, fans have been done a disservice with Koken, a top-notch hockey analyst, no longer available for the Caps' playoff run.
As Dan Snyder has been named the third worst owner in the NFL by Sports Illustrated, this is just another example of how he is out of touch with fans. Koken has more than 25 years of service to the DMV sports scene, and he's still at the top of his game. If Big John Thompson is pissed that Al Koken will no longer be smoking over the air waves, then you should be too.