Skins owner Dan Snyder can be a big fucking prick, as we've documented thoroughly. Rick Maese's new article delving into Snyder's ownership does contain extraordinary anecdotes of Snyder being an asshole, but other stories—in an earnest attempt to provide balance—suggest that while Snyder does care greatly, he just sucks at dealing with people.
Maese claims that he spoke with 19 various former employees, most of them anonymous, from the Skins and Snyder Communications, Snyder's lucrative marketing business. The Washington Post report had a couple of Dan Snyder stories for the ages, like his substitute for holiday bonuses one year (emphasis mine):
While the Redskins have never been shy to pay millions to football players, former employees who've also worked elsewhere in the NFL say salaries for the rest of the operation lag behind many teams. Ex-staffers reported cutbacks during the recent recession — multiple employees reported receiving bags of apples one year in lieu of holiday bonuses — but Tony Wyllie, the Redskins' senior vice president of communications, noted that a lot of companies tightened their belts during the recession.
Another account involves Snyder requesting that the team's defense be more innovative in a weird way:
Snyder had tired of defensive coordinator Mike Nolan's bland play-calling. "Too vanilla," he called it, and to illustrate the point, he left a gallon of ice cream on Nolan's desk. Nolan chuckled, but later that season, the owner still wasn't pleased and sent more ice cream, three five-gallon drums this time, with the note: "I wasn't joking. I do not like vanilla."
While there were other employees who called Snyder "openly hostile" and "moody," most of them did agree that he deeply cared about the team's success. However, Snyder's passion trampled over basic social skills and his willingness to cede decisions to his front office. He's writing the checks, and he wants what he wants, but he's just such a dick about it. A desire for success doesn't mean that respect and common decency go out the window. Snyder's demands created a "culture of fear," according to one anonymous source.
Former running back Clinton Portis had supportive things to say about Snyder and didn't understand the hatred towards the owner:
"I think so many people are intimidated by Mr. Snyder and think he's a jerk. In reality, he's actually a fun guy," Portis said. "Half the world hates you, half the world loves you. Your players love you. You don't find that ironic that players never speak bad about Mr. Snyder and everyone else can't stand him?"
Those players didn't have to answer directly to Dan Snyder, though.