First, I apologize for it taking some time for me to get some of the comments from the initial piece about the Redskins ticket issues posted. I'm on the road and I just can't get to them as fast as I'd like. The need for me to approve comments pertains to just the initial comment that each poster makes and, after that, they go up on the site immediately.
For the same reason, I haven't been able to respond to comments as quickly as I like to so I'm going to address some issues here in a separate post.
Was it wrong for the Redskins to sell tickets that should have gone to waiting list fans to brokers? Absolutely. Was Dan Snyder aware that it was going on? I doubt it. Is Snyder responsible for the high-pressure atmosphere that led to some salesmen breaking the rules to meet quotas? Absolutely.
And, on to the second article in the series, did the Redskins both create a major PR blunder and come down with too heavy a hand in some of their cases involving individuals holding premium seat contracts? Absolutely. Does that mean that they should let people out of signed contracts because they ask to be? Absolutely not. What's the purpose of a contract if it can unilaterally be cancelled? Should the Redskins offer tickets to those who have paid their judgments in full? Absolutely.
I posted a question to reporter James V. Grimaldi's chat yesterday and it didn't get answered. These two bits of information are crucial in judging the Redskins' actions. I asked them in my original post and one was partially answered, the other not addressed at all:
- What do other NFL teams do in such situations? We did find out that nine said that they take no legal action when people default on premium ticket contracts and two said that they do. The other 18 either had no comment or did not respond. For such a well-researched piece, this was some pretty shoddy reporting. It would be simple enough, for example, to jump on line or get on the phone and see if any cases are pending or settled in Kansas City or in the city of Philadelphia. These cases are on the public record. The Post's failure to do this fuels my suspicion that they did not want to find anything that did not fit their agenda, a practice that I though was limited to just their political coverage.
- Nobody interviewed a neutral lawyer to find out whether or not giving a pass to people who signed contracts would hinder the team's ability to go after corporations who default on million-dollar contracts? I don't know one way or the other. The failure of the Post to try to obtain some pretty basic information is fishy.
Again, the Redskins don't come out of this smelling like a rose. And while the Redskins did uncover the ticket bundling scheme on their own it's good that the Post got it out to the public as that will help ensure that something like that is unlikely to happen again.
But the Post clearly wanted a sensational story here. In the eyes of some, they got it. I certainly hope that it makes people think twice, maybe three times, before committing thousands of dollars per year to club seats many years into the future. I do have to say that hhe front-page picture of the weeping fan on the Redskins-decorated couch was a bit over the top.
In the end, people who foam at the mouth at the mention of Dan Snyder's name have one more reason to do so. And the Post may have temporarily boosted its sagging subscription numbers. The Redskins will review their practices and maybe make some changes for the better.