Shame on the Redskins

Broken contract: Team jilts Frostburg so owner Snyder can maximize his profits.

June 08, 2000

THEY'RE NO longer singing "Hail to the Redskins" in Frostburg, the town of 9,000 where the football team has held summer training since 1995.

And with good reason.

The team walked out on a 10-year contract with Frostburg so owner Daniel Snyder can hold the workouts at his football complex in Loudon County, Va.

Why would Mr. Snyder do such a thing? For money. He's charging $10 a head for fans to watch players practice -- plus parking. Back in Frostburg, those same pre-season sessions were free.

These aren't spirited football games, but repetitious blocking, tackling, running and passing exercises. Charging fans to watch this spectacle takes chutzpah.

But then Mr. Snyder isn't known for his tact. He didn't return phone calls from town or Frostburg State University officials. As state Sen. John J. Hafer of Western Maryland put it, "He's got an attitude problem."

Once upon a time, the Redskins, under the late Jack Kent Cooke, needed friends in Maryland. So Mr. Cooke moved his summer camp to Frostburg.

In exchange, House Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr. of Western Maryland backed a bill giving Cooke $70 million in taxpayer funds for a stadium in Prince George's County.

As a result, 35,000 Redskins fanatics annually made the summer pilgrimage to Frostburg to watch their heroes sweat themselves into shape. This boosted the town's economy by $2.9 million a year.

That love affair has now been rudely ended. But spurned lovers can be dangerous: Should Mr. Snyder ever need help at his Prince George's stadium, he'll discover that by burning his bridges in Western Maryland, he has torched his ties to Annapolis, too.

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