Jack Abramoff: Dan Snyder Isn’t A ‘Brat,’ He’s An Awesome Guy

November 2, 2011 1:10 p.m.

There aren’t all that many public figures in Washington with a worse reputation than Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder. Disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff is one of those figures.

So it’s unlikely to help Snyder that, according to Abramoff’s new book, the media has given the Redskins’ owner a bum rap. Abramoff writes that he found Snyder “decent, honest and straightforward” and not the “imperious brat the media had portrayed him to be.”Abramoff recounts how his lobbying team had a “seemingly unlimited ability to dispense sports and concert tickets to the Hill” that “left scores of representatives and staffers thinking we were Ticketmaster.” He says that the amount they spent on event tickets was “astounding” and that there were years they spent in excess of $1.5 million of event tickets alone.

Abramoff says he got his “incomparable double suite” at the Owners Club at Fed Ex Field after he sent a memo to Snyder just one month after he took over the team in 1999. Writes Abramoff:

I was one of his larger customers, but I had a number of frustrations with the amenities of the facility. Since my primary purpose was to entertain clients and the powerful people who could impact their lives, and since I was spending a fortune, I didn’t hold back on my critique. One of my main suggestions was that he convert the choice location the press commanded close to the field to prime suites and catapult the media to the upper reaches of the stadium. The final item on my long list of suggestions was that he should try to change the offensive name of the team.

Although the Choctaws had long ago assured me that a team named the Redskins didn’t bother them, I figured I would take a shot a trying to undo this insult. In my letter to Snyder, I asked him how we would feel if the New York team were called the Jew Boys, or worse. Moreover, I knew that all Native Americans resented the use of the feathered headdress in the team band’s uniform. I asked how he would feel if the New York Jew Boys band had a uniform of black hats and prayer shawls. I further argued that, were he to make this change now, he would immediately establish himself as a moral leader in our nation’s capital, and garner the respect of those who were likely to look askance on him.

Snyder called me within hours of receiving the letter, and reviewed each point with me. He was kind a gracious, not the imperious brat the media had portrayed him to be. He said that he sympathized with my points about the team’s name, but he had been a Redskins fan since he was a kid, and he couldn’t bring himself to change it. His business acumen led many to think he was only a cold-hearted, cutthroat shark, but he was nothing but decent, honest and straightforward with me. A few seasons later, I was given first choice of the new suites in the former press section and our expenditures at Fed Ex Field grew exponentially.

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