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May 9: Karl Swanson

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Final transcript of our chat with Karl Swanson.

From Extremeskins.com Staff

Mr. Swanson, many fans may be unfamilar with you and your role with the franchise. Can you briefly explain a little of your background -- how long you've been with Mr. Snyder, that kind of thing -- and the chief responsibilities you have?

Karl Swanson

Let me give you just a taste of background because it fits in. I have a varied background but it’s basically spread between journalism and marketing. I spent a first lifetime with the Associated Press in various bureaus around the country as a writer and as an editor. I was Senior Editor for a number of years in their New England operation. I did a number of things for the AP.

I transitioned out of that into marketing. I worked for a couple of advertising/PR/marketing agencies working on everything from Volkswagon and BMW to Verizon phones to little high tech companies that you’ve never heard of because they died in the bubble.

Then Dan Snyder bought the company I worked for in Boston. We became part of Snyder Communications. When that happened I was Executive Vice President of the PR arm of -- it was then Arnold Communications, now Arnold Worldwide. I started handling the Snyder corporate communications and investor relations business. When Dan decided to make the bid for the Redskins he asked me if I would be interested in working with him on that and helping him out.

In essence I took a leave of absence from my job and spent six months working with him and the lawyers on the purchase of the team and along the way transitioned from Arnold to being a direct employee of Snyder Communications, being their Senior VP and Director of Corporate Communications.

When Dan was successful buying the team it was decided to sell Snyder Communications and all in that mix I transitioned into a full-time role with the Redskins.

I have direct responsibility for the communication aspects of the team. I’m involved in the internet. I’m involved in publications. I’m involved in the team’s marketing efforts. But it’s sort of a loose organization. We have defined responsibilities but this isn’t a big, big company.

Where Snyder (Communications) had 14,000 in, I think, 17 countries running a billion-plus dollar business, here we have just a handful of people by comparison. There probably are not 150 full-time employees of the Redskins. Now, on a game day we hire 3,500 part-time workers, but, basically the people making up the organization of this near billion dollar company – or however you want to value it – is a fairly small and close knit group of people.

I work directly for Dan, report directly to Dan and have for as long as he and I have known each other.

There are three of us who are direct reports to Dan (in the current organization).

From Chubakah

Let’s talk about why you’re here today with us. Why Redskins Unfiltered?

Karl Swanson

The article that prompted you to ask whether we do this chat actually makes the point that led us to Redskins Unfiltered. Over the course of a 20-minute discussion with the Washingtonian Magazine, the Washington Post was never mentioned by me. You wouldn’t know that from the resulting article.

I, and the Redskins, have no interest in a feud with the Post, though you would certainly think otherwise if you read that article. Certainly we have concerns with some of the things they report, especially when they are deliberately confusing, inaccurate or repeatedly based on an army of unidentified sources, but the Washington Post was not the impetus for the Redskins.com expansion.

FOLLOW

Those are pretty big concerns with the media. May I ask you to address each concern in more detail so fans can understand better some of the team's thinking? What do you mean by deliberately confusing?

Karl Swanson

Let’s take an example of the obstructed view issue at the stadium of the obstructed view seats, which the Post would have you believe was uncovered by diligent investigative work. In truth, we invited their reporter and all the other reporters in town to tour the stadium, see the new seats and other changes. The resulting story in the Post, the Washington Times and on television here contained none of the concerns about obstructed view seats that followed.

After a fan contacted the Post and said he didn’t like his seats because he couldn’t see the field, the Post went large with that, even though their own reporter had already filed a story based on his own eyewitness experience and he saw none of that. To me the deliberate part of this follow up story is the Post reporter who wrote the follow up never asked to see the actual seats the fan was complaining about, never asked if the fan was actually the seat holder and had him prove he’d ever sat in the seats, and never made any attempt to independently verify if the complaints were true.

I don’t know how you explain that.

FOLLOW

What do you mean by inaccurate points that have been in the paper?

Karl Swanson

Your own website has a roster of inaccuracies.

The Nunyo Files

We repeatedly are asked if we have comment on stories and tell the reporter from the Post it’s not true. Yet, they end up in the paper. Recently the Post ran a brief story saying Eric Schaffer, our cap manager, had signed a new contract according to sources. I had told the reporter his sources were wrong when he asked about it, but the story ran anyway.

I told him the morning it was published that his sources were still wrong and today, they still are wrong. So, go figure.

The editors (at the Post) read the paper. I assume when we make complaints or comments to the writers that the writers go to their editors and say here’s what the Redskins want or don’t want. Why they would chose not to look into it themselves, I don’t know.

It goes to this whole question of sources.

FOLLOW

Speaking of sources, what do you see as an “army of sources,” as you mentioned earlier?

Karl Swanson

The primary beat reporter for the Post took over about 15 months ago. Since then his stories have cited about 650 unidentified sources. We actually started counting because it got to be kind of a joke here about how many people are out there. It’s about 650 to date. That’s amazing when you consider how often those sources are wrong.

But, here’s what’s really confounding. The usage of sources like that is in direct contradiction to the Post’s own policy on how to use sources, which I’d be happy to give you a copy of if you want it some time. It says, and I’m going to roughly paraphrase, if someone won’t allow themselves to be identified, the paper should tell the reader as much as possible about the sources and their reason for not being identified.

It also says if someone is trying to persuade the paper to publish something but not use their name, the reporter should disclose those motivations and if a source clearly has an ax to grind, that should be disclosed. But when it comes to us, the Redskins, just plain sources seems to be acceptable on the sports pages.

How about that?

From TheDane

What are some of the key challenges you face as an organization when it comes to disseminating information? How has this changed over the years in the NFL? Is the challenge greater in the NFL than it is in the traditional business world?

Karl Swanson

It’s certainly not just the Redskins. I think everyone in sports is really challenged by the instant news that talk radio, ESPN, web sites demand and create. Rumors become stories before we, as the organization, have ever heard the rumors, then spread and spread and spread and take on a life of their own. Sometimes you wonder whether it’s even worth trying to address them because they are so far gone and have entered into folk lore that they’re just out there.

That doesn’t exist in the business media (or) in other parts of the media. There’s not a Wall Street Journal web site that is tossing stuff out. The business shows on T.V. do more traditional reporting and do checking their own facts and living with the story they, themselves, write.

It seems in sports the appetite of fans is so voracious that basically a reporter can report a rumor and say, “But I didn’t report that, I just said what somebody else was doing.” That’s a challenge.

It’s great fun. It’s great fun for the fans. It’s great fun for the media. It’s actually great fun for us sometimes depending on what the topic is. But when it’s things that are so off the charts, it becomes very frustrating because you can’t put that genie back in the box. Then the stories perpetuate themselves where people ask you (questions about the rumor) and even if our answer is that’s not true or that can’t happen or whatever the answer is, it’s still a story where the Redskins denied any interest, where there was no interest in the first place.

So, that’s a challenge.

KDawg

As Redskins fans we hear time and time again – and actually John Riggins said some of this today on Sirius radio -- from opposing teams fans, and occasionally 'Skins fans who are "out of the loop" that Mr. Snyder is still running the show behind the scenes personnel wise, and any personnel moves go through him (no matter what Coach believes). I would like to see that myth finally put to rest from someone in the know.

Riggins basically said Gibbs was a puppet to Snyder. Is that one of the rumors you were talking about?

Karl Swanson

We’ve got a lot of urban myths around here. Clearly John Riggins hasn’t spent much time with Coach Gibbs recently or he would think differently about a comment like that.

The meddling Dan Snyder kind of like the unicorn of the NFL. Dan Snyder is the least meddlesome boss I’ve ever worked for. He sets the directions. He says where he wants the program to go, or in this case where he wants the team to go, but then he has people that work for him and it’s their job to do it.

He doesn’t stand over my shoulder or anyone else’s. He doesn’t call us in everyday to say what’s happening, what’s happening. He leaves it up to the people he hired to implement things TO implement things. If you disagree with the way he’s laid out (direction) you’re perfectly free to go in and say, “I don’t think that’ll work.”

But, if you do that, you probably should have a better suggestion than just I don’t think it’ll work. If you mess up – which I’ve messed up plenty of times – (you) say sorry, and I better not do that again. I think that’s characteristic of everything here.

He doesn’t believe he can coach this team better than Joe Gibbs can. He doesn’t believe he can pick personnel better than Vinny Cerrato and the scouts can. He doesn’t believe he can do a lot of the things that the people here were hired to do. He doesn’t watch film with the scouts. He’s never watched a piece of film on a player in his life and wouldn’t know what to look for if he did, and he’ll be the first to tell you that.

His job here is exactly what has been described in football terms as largely when we’re making a significant signing he negotiates the deal that is brought to him by others. On the business side of the organization he sets out the goals of where we want to go and then lets the heads of his various departments or initiatives go implement those.

It’s not much more mysterious than that.

E-Dog Night

There's been a lot of consternation from fans and the media about the Redskins front office setup, particularly in the player personnel department. Why have the Redskins resisted the traditional General Manager structure, and is there any chance we will see a seasoned GM hired by the organization in the near future?

Thank you,

Evan,

Washington, DC

Karl Swanson

Everyone here is very happy and very confident of the structure as it exists here.

The whole GM question is interesting because only about a third of the teams in the NFL have a GM. Yet there’s this perception that every team has a GM out there that is working away. The Eagles and the Patriots have the same front office structure the Redskins do.

They seem to be doing ok for themselves. We think the structure works for us as well.

From Pez

Since it seems that the Redskins are choosing to relay news directly to the fans via the website, rather than using the standard media outlets (WP, etc), What are your plans for the future in relation to redskins.com?

Karl Swanson

We are not in any way abandoning traditional news outlets. They’ll still cover us and we will do everything we need to do to support them in that. That’s not it at all.

The whole effort that is being called Redskins Unfiltered is basically a result of the convergence of technology and timing. We looked about five years ago into putting video on our web site. At that time the cost of the equipment, the bandwidth, everything associated with it was well, well over a million dollars.

We put that on the shelf.

Fast forward to this January when Coach Gibbs said he wanted to find ways to speak directly to the fans and connect with them more closely. He went on radio to do that, and since he’s the president of this team, we looked for other ways we could do that. We revisited the issue and discovered, which anyone who buys computers or works with computers will tell you, oh my goodness, in five years the cost of doing this has dropped dramatically.

We looked into it a little further and said, “Well, coach, this can help us supplement what you want to do.” There’s no secret. The frustration of holding a 15-minute press conference to talk about reasons why we let Antonio Pierce and Fred Smoot move on in free agency, it gets reduced to two sentences or three sentences in a newspaper and 20 seconds on T.V. and you look at it and go, “But I had so much more to say.”

We said why don’t we just video in the short term and go live and let the fans watch the press conferences themselves. So, this is just basically an effort to let our fans see and hear the sights and sounds behind the news they see, hear and read from here at Redskins Park.

So if there’s a news conference it’ll be on Redskins.com. When the coach holds his post practice media session, it’ll be on Redskins.com. Fans can then take in the entire interview without the inherent media filter that stands between the team and the fans.

Along the way will we supplement that by doing interviews and little feature stories if you will? Absolutely. Why not? It’s fun. It allows the people to see things they’ve never been able to see before and never would.

I’ll give you a couple of examples.

Last week when we signed Santana Moss. We couldn’t announce that we signed Santana Moss, but we said, you know what, let’s let people know. His agent is here. Three minutes after his agent walks out the door of this building, it’s going to be on ESPN and everyone else the agent chooses to call, because that’s the way it works. So, let’s interview the agent, because the agent can say, “My client is going to sign a contract.”

And we did, so, anyone who saw that knew at 3 or 4 in the afternoon that we’d reached a contract agreement with Santana Moss. Oddly enough, the next morning, the Washington Post had a story that said the Redskins reportedly have reached a new contract agreement with Santana Moss.

Well, your guys, because I know you discussed it on your site, knew about that 12 hours earlier. That’s fun.

By the same token, we’re in the middle of putting together some little back stage things here. We’ve put tape up of just a raw practice – sights and sounds. We’ve had one of our strength coaches sort of go through the weight room. We’ve got a fun, fun piece that we hope to have up in two parts later this week of the equipment room.

You get to see how they make a helmet. You get to see who’s got what size shoes. You get to see the washing machines and the dryers and what not. Is it going to win an Emmy? No.

But if you’re a fan of this team, it’s kind of fun and kind of cool to know what goes in to all this stuff.

From Andyman

Why couldn’t you release the fact that Moss had signed? Why doesn't the team release contract details, since they usually become public anyway?

Karl Swanson

A couple of reasons (we don’t). First, we’re not supposed to until the contract has been filed and accepted by the league, which can sometimes take an afternoon or even overnight or whatever. For a practical matter we resist announcing a contract that doesn’t have someone’s signature on it. The agent who’s representing his client, he can do whatever he wants.

We’re well aware that sometimes that results in there being stories in the public on Monday saying someone’s been signed to a contract and we put out a press release on Wednesday that says the Redskins announce they’ve signed somebody to a contract. We know that. We wish it wasn’t that way but we’re just following the NFL rules and following our own preference that we have a signed contract in hand before we announce we signed someone to a contract.

The contract terms is maybe we’re peculiar. We believe that a player’s contract is his private business. Yeah, we know they get posted by the Players Association, we know there are lots of ways to find out, we know the players and agents tell people what the contract terms are and represent them in any way they see fit. Sometimes that’s uncomfortable for us, but at the end of the day we don’t think it’s our business to be releasing personal information about our players or employees.

From Portisizzle

Was WR Mike Williams ever on the Skins radar? Smoke screen? Or are the Redskins content with the current receiver corps?

Karl Swanson

I’m not the personnel guy, but, we drafted the player that we wanted to draft in the ninth position. Rogers was the top rated defensive player on our board.

From TheDane and Chubakah

Are there any plans to mend this perceived rift between the Washington Redskins and the Washington Post? Or are the Redskins content to continue pushing the Redskins' current straight-to-consumer approach?

The sports editor is quoted in the Washingtonian as saying the team is on an “Orwellian” quest to control or spin information. What do you think about that, as it relates to the team’s relationship with the newspaper?

Karl Swanson

I think “Orwellian” is fascinating, so I can’t resist dubbing Emilio (Garcia-Ruiz) the Wizard of Oz. Someday we may see behind the curtain. I say that because the Redskins don’t really know Emilio or any of the editors assigned to oversee the Post beat reporters. I’ve probably only spoken to Emilio two or three times since he took the job almost three years ago.

I’ve never met or spoken to the day-to-day Redskins editor. Emilio has never been to Redskins Park, nor have the other editors, yet they direct an organization that writes almost daily about the doings here. So I think your members should encourage them to come out for a visit.

His predecessor, George Solomon, was a regular visitor to the team and we talked almost weekly. I didn’t agree with him on many subjects, but he worked very hard on his due diligence. There’s no columnist assigned to regularly watch or comment on the team and I think that’s a shame on a beat that has as many fans as we do. We’re subjected to what are basically drive-by attacks in columns with sketchy basis or no basis at all.

FOLLOW

Can you explain what you mean by such columns in your view?

Karl Swanson

I’ll give you an example. Before the draft Sally Jenkins wrote a column about what a lousy job the Redskins do in late rounds of the draft, adding that our team hasn’t produced many starters from the draft. Her example was based on 4 of 17 players drafted in the past three years.

She’s wrong.

The number (of starters) is five and that’s nearly 30 percent of our draftees who are starters in the last three years. Actually, if you count (Andre) Lott and (Ladell) Betts, who at times have been starters, the number goes to 7 and the percentage rises to nearly half. If the premise of her column is right, then the facts should be right.

But, I think that’s what happens when you write on the fly. Sally hasn’t been at Redskins Park in years. I believe she lives in New York City.

(The columnists at the Post are) game day people. I don’t know when Tony (Kornheiser) was last here. (Mike) Wilbon was here I believe a year ago when Joe Gibbs returned. UnWise Mike has been here twice that I’m aware of. (Thomas) Boswell is actually out here most frequently even though now he’s pretty much tied up with baseball. He used to come out every three or four months.

From RyansRangers

How much was the audio/video part of of Redskins.com Dan Snyder’s idea or Joe Gibbs idea? It seems to me that Joe Gibbs was getting frustrated at the misquotes and "filtered" news the fans were receiving.

Karl Swanson

We wouldn’t be shooting a workout if Gibbs didn’t say yes. We wouldn’t be shooting in the weight room if the coaches didn’t say yes.

From TheDane

What are your thoughts on the return of Joe Gibbs to the Redskins? How have you seen his impact on his organization?

Karl Swanson

The excitement that was created in this building when people found out that Coach Gibbs was returning was every bit as high as outside the building. His legend preceded him. Anyone who works in this building, any time you walk through this lobby, there are three Super Bowl trophies sitting there and everybody knows where they came from.

In my varied career have worked with a lot of very important people, very compelling people. As a reporter I covered presidents and came face to face with them. I’ve been with business leaders. Joe Gibbs projects in his quiet personality all the traits, all the really compelling traits that you see in all those kind of successful people.

He’s calm, he’s confident, he’s considerate, he’s genuinely interested in people, but make no mistake about it, when the season starts, he’s coaching a football team. He is single minded in that pursuit. It’s extraordinary to see. I’m thrilled as probably every fan reading this is thrilled that I’ve had the chance to see this coach do this job and I’m very lucky that I’ve been able to talk to him about it and watch him up close because it is inspirational.

FOLLOW

His quiet personality and seeming lack of ego Gibbs displays, does that way about him rub off on the organization? Does the organization take on that personality as opposed to some of the brashness associated with Snyder? Or is it kind of a closer mix than people may think?

Karl Swanson

I think it’s a closer mix than most people may think.

Make no mistake about it, when Coach Gibbs wants to make a point and looks you in the eye, he’s got some steely gaze going there. It’s very clear when he’s making a point. But he’s a great guy. If you can say that you can make some judgment about people based on who they surround themselves with, you can do that in Coach Gibbs’ case.

Because Don Breaux, Joe Bugel, Jack Burns, Gregg Williams, down the line, when coach talks about character guys, coach is talking about everybody.

From Todd

It seems to me that the NFL likes to keep their websites uniform in regards to content and features. How much "regulation" do you face from the NFL's web department? Are there strict rules or rules at all about how candid stories can be and do they have to be pre-approved by the league first?

Karl Swanson

We have complete autonomy. There are no rules. The only sort of agreement all the teams have come to with the NFL is that all of us will display at the top of our home page that banner that contains links to NFL sites and every other team. Other than that we can do whatever we’d like.

The NFL makes available to us if we choose to use it things like highlight clips, they’ll send along interviews if they’ve done an interview relevant to the team, but it’s completely up to us if we choose to use it or not.

From Snyder Dan

How do you feel about the saying "there is no such thing as bad publicity"?

Karl Swanson

Interesting. There is certainly some merit to that saying. But it’s certainly not a way of operating that we subscribe to. We don’t anticipate that everything that’s written about us, or even everything we do is rosy. We’ve made mistakes. We’ll make more mistakes along the way and we’ll be appropriately criticized for them. But, those aren’t things we set out to do with the underlying thought that, “At least they’ll spell our names right.”

From Snyder Dan

Does working for a man who made millions in marketing make your job as PR Director more or less difficult?

Karl Swanson

Let me answer it this way. He and I speak the same language. He’s a marketer. I’ve done my time as a marketer. We’ve worked together for a long time. I think the shared experience makes the relationship work smoothly and a lot faster than it otherwise might.

From Snyder Dan

How do the Redskins manage the process of news cycles and maximizing exposure? How much of a factor is it when deciding on when to make announcements?

Karl Swanson

News cycles are trying hard to disappear given ESPN, given the internet, the web sites, so managing them isn’t quite what it was back in the days when I did PR pre-Redskins. Do we time announcements? You bet. We time them sometimes because we’re asked to. If we know or we believe that radio stations or T.V. stations are going to want to do live spots, we’ll schedule it for their convenience.

We believe that doesn’t hurt us at all, but we know they are going to cover us anyway. If they’d like to go live we’ll try to schedule it to help with that. Newspaper deadlines we don’t have a huge problem with because our practices and things sort of run earlier than newspaper deadlines.

Do we try to manage news around news cycles? Yes, but not in a very sophisticated way. If we’ve signed a player and have a press conference, if we could control it in a perfect world, there’d be no other news from Redskins Park that day, so as to highlight the news conference.

But the reality is once the season starts there are multiple stories from here every day and we’d be naïve to think we could sort of block out one and stick to it as they say in politics, “Stick on message all day long.”

Our message is we’re trying to win games.

From Riggins44

Mr. Swanson, it seems that the team may be using sites like Extremeskins to communicate with the fans. In this high tech world, how have fan sites like this impacted the PR dept?

P.S. Is Cerrato the best dressed guy in the FO? He wears some nice starched white shirts.

Karl Swanson

I think Vinny is a hell of a snappy dresser (good laughter). That’s funny.

If the question to me implies that Vinny has done a chat with Extremeskins and I’m doing a chat with Extremeskins, that’s largely a result of being asked. We don’t get many requests. When we do get a request, there’s no question that we weigh what’s the benefit. The benefit of doing this with Extremeskins that they have repeatedly and successfully conveyed to us that they are the largest, most professional and best informed site and members in the Redskins internet community.

I think that’s true.

Now, if you’re asking if we monitor fan communities, the answer is absolutely. We live in a little fish bowl at Redskins Park. Until fairly recently the only view on a regular basis of the outside world’s views of our performance were what we read in the newspaper. Fan communities didn’t exist three years ago, four years ago.

That (newspaper coverage) gave us certainly a view of ourselves but it didn’t give us the fan’s view of us. By going and visiting a forum and reading what people are saying, we at least can have some semblance of an accurate picture of how we are doing.

FOLLOW

Has anything you’ve seen on a fan site that you’ve read and has made an impact on the team that you’ve done something about it or tried to do something about it?

Karl Swanson

What the fan sites do is they help, for me and I’m one who reads them frequently, is they help sensitize me to a fan’s point of view as we move forward and to be able to say to Vinny, for example, that we’re having a briefing for the media on our draft direction, that maybe you should talk about this. Or maybe you should make it clear why we’re doing that, because I have some sense that the message isn’t getting through to the fans.

So that, to me, is the great value. It’s a finger on a pulse and a pulse that cares enough that participate in the discussions.

At the same time does it sometimes make me want to pull my hair out and go, “My God, that’s not what’s going on at all.” But there’s nothing we can do about it. Here’s a good example on your site and the media and every where else. There was so much pre-free agency discussion about wide receivers, about cornerbacks. We ran out as fast as we could and signed Casey Rabach.

It’d been no secret that center was a need. It had been said several times. I used to read sites and go, “LOOK AT WHAT WE’VE SAID. CENTER IS A NEED.” Only one person in the media got it and wrote that could be a likely move by us. It was Joe White of the AP. Which he’s done the past two years in a row, correctly predicted who our free agents would be, by doing his homework.

From Die Hard

We are witnessing the evolution of Redskins.com. And thus far, it's drawing excellent reviews. However, there have been some concerns raised by fans that, ultimately, the team may eventually decide to force its visitors to pay a membership fee to access all these wonderful features. Is this in fact the intention of the team?

Karl Swanson

No. That is contrary to every bit of research tells you about internet sites. It’s one of the things that newspapers are struggling with right now that they’re spending significant amounts of money to give away what they are used to charging for.

That’s not part of our plan. We see the internet as just the way you connect with your fans.

From Die Hard

When writing articles about the Redskins, the national media often accredits "unnamed team officials" to certain quotes or information. Do these "unnamed sources" have authority- granted by the coaching staff - to leak the information? Or are all leaks considered in violation of trust and the team would like to eliminate any leak?

Karl Swanson

I think you hit the nail on the head. It is a violation of trust. This is a team. This is an organization. Even if you don’t agree with an established direction, if you haven’t convinced someone that your way is right, to then sneak around and try and undermine or build yourself up with some sense that (you) have inside knowledge is wrong.

If this team has something to say, we’ve all got names and we’ll put our names next to it. We’re not in the investigative business (to go looking for who is leaking). We just think it’s a shame that someone here who presumably is working here because they believe in the organization and what it’s trying to do and where it’s trying to go, instead has their own private goals on a higher level.

From Om

One concern some Redskins fans still seem to have is that Dan Snyder might “get impatient” if either 1) the team doesn’t start winning in the short term, and/or 2) that he may start feeling “left out" of the football decision-making mix, and that it could lead to a rift between Snyder and Gibbs. As someone who has known and worked with Mr. Snyder for a long time, can you speak to those concerns?

Karl Swanson

There is no need for concern.

Coach Gibbs and Dan have a great relationship and I don’t think he has ever felt left out and certainly he has no reason to feel left out now.

From TK IV II I

Mr. Swanson, can you point to the exact circumstance that started the fued between the Redskins organization & the Washington Post?

Karl Swanson

I don’t think there is a feud. We’re trying to do everything we can to field a winning football team. They’re putting out a newspaper every day to cover the team. That’s their job and we’re doing our job. We have some concerns about the way that plays out sometimes and we’ve shared those concerns with the writers privately.

At the end of the day the Washington Post and every other news outlet is going to do what’s best for them given where they are trying to go with their business. They don’t have to stand up in front of 90,000 home fans 10 times a year and hear an audible vote on how they are doing.

We do. And we’d like those to be cheers.

From AtlSkin

Karl, could you tell us what Lavar’s frame of mind is, at the moment?

After that whole blow up he seemed to stick to his guns about no one caring. Does he still feel that way? I have to imagine he realizes that that's not the case and it would definitely help the public perception if he would come out and say it was all a misunderstanding.

Karl Swanson

I can’t speak for Lavar. He’s here every day working out and doing rehab. Every time I see him he’s happy and smiling and we exchange words and joke. But I can’t pretend that I know what his frame of mind is or was or will be.

CLOSING STATEMENT

Karl Swanson

This started out with Redskins.com. Maybe that’s a good place to bring it back full circle. What we’re going to try to do with Redskins.com is not that dissimilar to what Extremeskins tries to do with chats and even the conversation among fans. That’s to broaden the discussion.

In our case, to open up the windows and let some more light in and give fans an opportunity to see the team in ways that’s never been possible before. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun for us. It’s going to be a lot of fun for the fans. I know it’s going to be a lot of fun for the players because they are going to get exposure that goes beyond the stats on the field and the uniform they wear.

Ask yourselves how many players you recognize, because you never see them without a helmet. There’s a piece up today about Ade Jimoh. Here you’ve got a player that you’ve seen in uniform, you’ve seen on the field and all of a sudden you’re seeing him in a T-Shirt, walking out of work and telling you what his day was like.

Is that spin from the team because an employee of the team is asking the question? You decide for yourself. I say it’s just good fun. It’s a nice thing to see. There are going to be rougher days and there are going to be better days, but the difference is going to be that we’re going to do our best to let everybody be part of those days.

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That is the whole chat. Please feel free to comment within.

This was a pretty long chat and I will work on the full transcript as soon as possible to have up the clean version later this evening.

Art.

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In hindsight, it would have been nice to get his thoughts on the team's relationship with Lenny P specifically and national media personalities in general, but all in all, a surprisingly good interview

Thanks to extremeskins for making it happen

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Originally posted by Snyder Dan

In hindsight, it would have been nice to get his thoughts on the team's relationship with Lenny P specifically and national media personalities in general, but all in all, a surprisingly good interview

Thanks to extremeskins for making it happen

Yes, I probably should have gone there, but I tried to avoid a lot of "me" time in this chat since some members were a little peeved at me for taking up all the Vinny time :).

I didn't see your question until we'd just signed off, else I'd have gotten it.

Art.

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Redskins fans are lucky to be a part of this website. I mean wow, you guys get access to Cerrato and Swanson.

Who is next Joe Gibbs?!?!?!:cool:

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Originally posted by portisizzle

Redskins fans are lucky to be a part of this website. I mean wow, you guys get access to Cerrato and Swanson.

Who is next Joe Gibbs?!?!?!:cool:

We've asked and we've asked for some other very ambitious chat requests as well. Keep in mind one thing Swanson said -- this is not the official quote, so don't use it until I quote him precisely:

When we are asked by a site like Extremeskins, the benefit is they are the largest, most professional, best informed site and members in the Redskins internet community, is what they tell us. And I think that's true.

We got these chats because of the membership and your interest and willingness to hang around here. We'll get Gibbs for the same reason. We'll keep asking and pushing for more and it'll come, when it and if it does, because of you.

This is the one thing I'm most happy about here.

The membership gives us credibility.

We'll continue to leverage it and do our best to make sure we keep it :).

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Excellent, excellent job. That was a great read, and it's always great to hear things that we suppose turn out to be true. Straight from the horse's mouth.

Thanks to everyone, including everyone's questions. :cheers:

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Mods-

I think you should package this interview up in a nice email and shoot it over to the WP.com. Let them know where (X) fans are getting their inside info now. Then thank them for maybe not using so many unnamed sources.

-Bufford

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Excellent interview, guys. :cheers:

I wish I knew this chat was happening or I would've asked Swanson if he knew if Gibbs has spoken to Taylor recently or not, or if he is even trying to contact him anymore. :)

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Wow that was a great, great interview. Kudos all around and thanks to Mr. Swanson. I think it is just amazing that Emilio doesn't frequent the park nor does any other reporter. To me, and maybe that's just because I love the Skins so much, to have that access at any time I would want it, I would be there every damn day. That was a very interesting tidbit. The Post needs to wake up, and wake up fast and do the job they get paid to do.

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I just want to thank you mods and owners for putting all of this time and effort into interviews like this. I got into this interview even more than the Cerrato one, great questions everybody.

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WOW! Great fly on the wall information... I love the way he knew when they were at the park etc.. was the best part...

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Originally posted by Bufford

Mods-

I think you should package this interview up in a nice email and shoot it over to the WP.com. Let them know where (X) fans are getting their inside info now. Then thank them for maybe not using so many unnamed sources.

-Bufford

:laugh: Mr. Swanson sure is a straight shooter. Thank you so much, Art, Extremeskins

God I love this site!

I hope WP reads this. I haven't read or been on their website for over a year. I used to read The Chat House when ever they had it. I just can't stand the negativity from that paper anymore.

Thanks again Mr. Swanson for your time.

Here's to us making the playoffs and a hopefully a Super Bowl real soon! :cheers:

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Amazing job guys.

We got it so good as fans. There are fans of 31 other teams who wish they had this type of access.

We should be forever grateful.

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We got these chats because of the membership and your interest and willingness to hang around here. We'll get Gibbs for the same reason. We'll keep asking and pushing for more and it'll come, when it and if it does, because of you.

Great job by everyone involved with making this Q&A happen.

To my fellow Extremeskins members:

You guys/gals like these interviews and Q&A's ???

Then what are alot of you doing with that "Make a Donation" button under your name?

As "Carl the greenskeeper" from CaddyShack would say: "How bout a little somethin' for the effort?"

I'm not a mod or a staff member, just a run of the mill poster.

You have to admit that this is the best site/community for Redskins' fans. Show 'em some love.:)

Thanks again to Blade,Diehard, Art and all the other mods and staff for the hard work.

HTTR............

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Great read. Long read. Longer if puter acting up. Thanks alot folks for this. Outstanding stuff.

:I think "Orwellian" is fascinating, so I can't resist dubbing Emilio the Wizard of Oz. Someday we may see behind the curtain. I say that because the Redskins don't really know Emilio, or any of the editors assigned to beat reporters. I've only spoken to Emilio two or three times since he took the job two or three years ago. I've never spoken to the day-to-day editor of the Redskins beat.

Emilio has never been to Redskins Park, nor have any of the editors. Yet they direct a paper that writes about the team almost every day. So I think your members should encourage them to come out for a visit.

His predecessor, George Soloman, was a regular visitor and we talked almost weekly. I didn't agree with him on many subjects, but he worked very hard and did due diligence. There is no columnist assigned to regularly watch and comment on the team. I think that's a shame on a beat that has as many fans as we do. We're subjected to what are basically drive-by attacks in columns with sketchy basis or no basis at all.

Q: (Follow)

What do you mean exactly?

A: I'll give you an example. Before the draft, Sally Jenkins wrote an article about how the Redskins do a lousy job in the late rounds of the draft, adding that our team hasn't produced many starters from the draft. Her example is based on four of 17 players drafted in the past three years. She's wrong. The number is five. That's nearly 30 percent of our draftees who are starters in the last three years.

Actually, if you count Lott and Betts, who at times have been starters, the number goes to seven and the percentage rises to nearly half. If the premise of her column is right then the facts should be right.

But I think that is what happens when you write on the fly. She hasn't been to the Park in years and I actually believe she lives in New York City.

The columnists at the Post are game day attendees. Wilbon was here a year ago when Joe Gibbs returned. UnWise Mike has been here twice that I'm aware of. I can't remember when Kornheiser was last here. Boswell has been out here more than the others. He used to come out here every three or four months.

Ya know, for some reason, I find this just a tad irresponsible. :rolleyes:

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Amazing, amazing work guys. Thanks for everything and keep up the good work. It'd be great to have Dannyboy himself here one day, or even The Coach. I can see it happeneing, just a matter of time.

:cheers:

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