Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

We Are All Dave McKenna LIII

Illustration for article titled We Are All Dave McKenna LIII

Here's your daily link to Dave McKenna's brilliant "Cranky Redskins Fan's Guide to Dan Snyder," which we'll be posting until Snyder's dumbass libel suit has a warder looking down on it in the middle of the night.

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We hate to do this. We really do. But today we must direct you to a story by Dan Daly in The Washington Times about Dan Snyder and libel law. In the 1930s, as the Times reports, Bill Fleckenstein, a former Chicago Bears lineman, sued Benny Friedman, a New York Giants quarterback, for libel after Friedman wrote that Fleckenstein was a dirty player in Collier's magazine. Friedman's description of Fleckenstein is a corker of Depression-era Americanese and worth repeating:

[Y]ou quickly realized that his idea of play was loser take all - on the chin. The Cleveland Bulldogs [Benny's first NFL team] were about unanimous after one meeting with Mr. Fleckenstein that he was a specialist at infighting during the scrimmages. As a committee of one I warned him about this before our next match. But Fleckenstein went on impartially pasting the boys when inspiration seized him. It just isn't part of the code to call the attention of officials to a rough gent who's discreet enough to slug under cover. We told Fleckenstein to his face. His reply was instant - sock upon sock.

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Dan Snyder has never been a man discreet enough to slug under cover. But Dan Snyder should also heed the outcome of the suit:

The precedent established by Fleckenstein v. Friedman is that an alleged libel causes no damage as long as it has the ring of truth - that is, "if the published statement could have produced no worse an effect on the mind of a reader" than the actual facts of the matter (as one judge put it). Or to simplify it even further: The writer doesn't have to be 100 percent right; he just has to be in the ballpark.

Any lifelong Redskins fan could tell you that Dan Snyder torched his own reputation long before McKenna's story had any "effect" on the mind of a reader. All McKenna did was add a little humor to the mix, which is much needed when you're writing about a humorless prig.

Sock upon sock until the last. Please help the City Paper with a small donation to the weekly's legal defense fund.

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DALY: Echoes of ‘30s NFL libel case in Snyder suit [The Washington Times]

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