The best news about waking up yesterday morning was knowing I could safely turn on the radio or the TV without hearing the words, “Who do you like in The Super Bowl?” I really and truly don’t care who you like or who anyone on radio or TV likes or, to be honest, who I like in The Super Bowl—or any event—before it is played. If I make a prediction and I’m right it is usually because I had a 50 percent chance of being right. Same if I’m wrong.
I thought the Packers would win on Sunday. Whooeee I’m an expert. I also thought they’d lose to The Atlanta Falcons. Whoops, I’m an idiot.
Years ago, when Annika Sorenstam was getting set to play at Colonial against the men, her appearance was getting almost as much attention as a Super Bowl. Then again, The Super Bowl probably got more column inches and more TV time than what’s going on in Egypt so maybe Annika v. the boys didn’t quite rise to that level.
As luck would have it I was promoting a golf book that month—my book on the U.S. Open at Bethpage. A number of national shows wanted me to come on and talk about Annika and my publicist spent a lot of time cutting deals: John will talk about Annika but you have to ask at least one question about the book. One show that had asked for me PRIOR to Annika announcing she’d play Colonial was a CNN show that was on in those days at 11 p.m. The booker wanted to have me on the day the book was published and insisted we not book any other national shows that day. In return, she promised an entire segment on the book. Since The Today Show was otherwise occupied with cooking segments, we accepted.
The host, I think, was Aaron Brown. To make a long story a little shorter, he completely pissed me off by ignoring the book throughout the entire segment. He even promo’d the segment by saying I was coming on to talk about Annika. When I was hooked up to him by satellite while the show was in commercial I said to him, “You promo’d Annika, I’m glad to talk about her but you know I’m here to talk about the new book.”
“Yeah, yeah, we’ll get to it,” he said, leaving me very close to walking out because I knew I was about to get screwed.
The entire segment was Annika. Finally he said, “So John, what’s your prediction on how she’ll do?”
I’d been well-behaved until then but the ‘who do you like in The Super Bowl,’ question put me over.
“Aaron I think making predictions is silly,” I said. “What does it matter what I think? Let’s just wait until Thursday and we’ll find out then. I can’t think of anything more boring than so-called experts making predictions.”
“Well I think a lot of the fun in sports is making predictions,” he answered in a pouty tone.
“Fine then, you make a prediction.”
At that point his producer DID finally throw the book cover on-screen and Brown grumpily mentioned it. As soon as we were in commercial he said, “What the hell kind of answer was that on the prediction?”
I said, “what the hell kind of segment ON MY BOOK was that?”
I took the earpiece off without waiting for an answer. The next day, “Mr. Brown’s assistant,” called my publicist demanding my phone number for, “Mr. Brown.” The publicist already knew what had happened so she held out on the phone number (I’d have been glad to talk to him). When the publicist offered e-mail, the assistant said—according to her—“Do you realize who Aaron Brown is?”
Speaking of which, just to show I’m consistent on the subject the one week a year I don’t do Tony Kornheiser’s show is the first week of the NCAA Tournament. He insists everyone who comes on goes through a bracket. I find this at least as dull as, “who do you like in The Super Bowl,” so I pass on it which annoys Tony no end.
I digress. The game was excellent and my colleague Sally Jenkins has a great column in today’s Washington Post on how out-of-control everything that surrounds the game has gotten. It won’t change. The NFL defines the word excess in every way. The game was the most watched TV show EVER. So why would they change anything?
One of the more amusing sights in Dallas had to be Dan Snyder and his little entourage making the rounds on radio row on Friday afternoon. Apparently, having been ripped from stem-to-stern after the announcement of his bully lawsuit against The City Paper, Snyder and his genius PR guy Tony Wyllie (who Snyder says suggested the lawsuit; if so he should be fired for coming up with the single stupidest idea since indoor baseball) decided to go on the offensive AGAIN so they could dig the hole a little deeper.
Of course every radio show was more than willing to have Snyder on. He came with a scripted message: HE HAD to file this lawsuit because The City Paper’s Dave McKenna had ‘gone over the line,’ when he had ‘made fun of my wife who has been battling breast cancer.’ Go back and read the story. There are two sentences about Tanya Snyder and they refer ONLY to her going on TV to talk about her new-and-improved husband as part of the Danny-over-DC PR campaign to convince Redskin fans who were completely sick of the guy that he was a brand new man.
That’s IT. No mention of breast cancer and certainly no making fun of Tanya on any level. Snyder simply made that up. In doing so, he used his wife, who no doubt has been through a lot fighting the disease, as a human shield against his own critics. That’s beyond cynical.
Step two was playing the Jew card again. At one point he said, “You know, Tony, who is African-American, called this Rabbi in LA….” First, who cares that Wyllie is African-American? What relevance does that have here? Second, the quote from the Rabbi was beyond offensive to people who really have dealt with anti-Semitism and invoking the Holocaust in any way to defend the actions of a billionaire bully-boy (I realize the Rabbi didn’t see it that way but that’s the way it came out) is beyond shameful.
Throw in the fact that Snyder owns a team that he insists on continuing to call The Washington REDSKINS and the notion of him complaining about any bias is either laughable or completely hypocritical or both. When Chad Dukes went on the local non-Snyder-owned radio station in DC had the temerity to bring that up, Snyder bristled.
“Obviously you don’t know the history of the Redskins,” he said. “We’ve won lawsuits. Even bringing that up is silly.”
Really? So now you, Danny Snyder, are judge and jury on what is offensive to Jews AND what is NOT offensive to Native Americans. Do you get elected to that job or do you get it by acclamation? By the way, winning a lawsuit doesn’t make anything right, it just makes it legal. It is legal for private clubs to discriminate against people. That doesn’t mean it is right. As for history: most of us know the history: The Redskins were founded in Boston and nicknamed ‘Redskins,’ in honor of the colonials who dressed up as Indians on the night of The Boston Tea Party.
That was a LONG time ago. Back then it was also okay according to society to call African Americans, ‘coloreds.’ This is 2011. What was right eighty years ago isn’t right now and that’s not political correctness.
The funniest bits were Snyder going on about his father having been in the media—“I love the media,”—and then taking one gratuitous shot after another at anyone and everyone in the media: “You know how The Post is, they love taking shots at me. That’s the way a lot of old media is. But you know we’re doing great in radio.” (Shades of the morning pitchmen at ESPN here; I half expected him to tell us who the next cheap shot was sponsored by). There was more: To Mike Wise, who actually tried to ask him a couple of follow-up questions that went beyond his script, “I know how you media guys are, you defend one another all the time no matter what.”
Yes, he loves the media.
I was about to write the words, ‘enough about Snyder,’ but what’s the point. He’s going to force me to write about him again soon because he’s going to continue to simply make things up to justify who he is. And, unlike some of my good friends, I’m going to respond when he does.