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Dan Snyder’s Law Suit: Never Mind

Redskins owner, Daniel Snyder, has decided to drop his lawsuit against Washington City Paper officially ending his attack on the 1st amendment of the constitution.

If you need background on his actions that became a cause célèbre for lovers of free expression in America, you can find my finely honed criticisms over this matter here, here and here.

I don’t think this legal action was going to work out well for him. First, free speech rights regarding public figures are pretty sacrosanct in American courts (see Falwell vs Flynt). Plus, DC has a statute that allows for prosecution for law suits aimed to intimidate freedom of speech. The Snyder legal team’s approach to this was not to question the merits of such a case were it to have been enforced, but to claim the DC City Council had no right to pass such a law.

Of all the things Snyder complained about regarding City Paper’s scathing synopsis of all the goofy things the Redskins owner has done through the years- he had pretty much dropped his outrage for all elements of the article except one; the impression the piece gave that Snyder himself, was personally involved in “slamming,” the practice of changing people’s phone services without their knowledge, back when he ran Snyder Communications many, many years ago. An out-of-court settlement was reached at the time in which Snyder admitted no wrongdoing. City Paper conceded they may have left the impression Snyder himself was involved in slamming practices but insisted they did so without malice.

Wisely, a word not ordinarily associated with Dan Snyder, he backed down. The pre-season-opener announcement cleared the decks for a new era of good feelings as he seemed to sense the Redskins may actually be a decent team this season and further distractions on the frivolous law suit-front would be counter-productive.

Bravo, Snyder. This is almost as big a victory for free speech rights as the 28-14 Redskin win over the Giants was a statement about how good and how loved his team could be if he just stops meddling with the front office and causing self-inflicted public relations wounds.

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