A Word on Karl Swanson
May 5, 2010
Few men I have met support the old adage "I would rather be respected than liked" better than Karl Swanson.
The Washington Redskins long-time Senior Vice President of Public Relations and owner Daniel Snyder's top lieutenant at Redskins Park, Swanson stepped down from his position this week.
Much has been written about Swanson over the years, precious little of it flattering. On a scale of 1 to 10 on the Liked Scale, I think it's safe to say Karl Swanson would barely move the needle. What I find amusing about that is, in the privacy of his own mind, I think that might just please him.
Karl doesn't do maudlin so I wouldn't go there even if I thought it appropriate. But I do think he might appreciate this little vignette, as recalled through the eyes of someone who was paying attention ...
The initial meeting between internet fan site Extremeskins ("ES") and the Washington Redskins happened to fall on the day the Redskins' 2005 regular season schedule was announced.
I was one of four ES representatives on hand that day, and if memory serves, there were somewhere in the neighborhood of ten Redskins reps.
Three of us ES types were at the big conference table (the fourth opted for an easy chair off to one side—that's how he rolls), along with three or four team Suits and a couple of intern types.
Arrayed around the room, standing against the walls and in front of the big picture windows overlooking the practice field, were another half-dozen or so team reps, wearing everything from $2500 suits to $25 polos.
And against one wall, by himself, in business casual and comfortably ensconsed in an easy chair, was Karl Swanson. I'm pretty sure he had an unlit cigar in his hand whole time, but that could just be memory filling in the blanks with what the minds' eye says should have been there.
Karl didn't have much to say that day. Which was understandable, given it was he who brokered the meeting and got that unlikely assemblage in the room in the first place. If the merger was going to work, the fanboys and the Suits were going to have to be able to find common ground. Only so much Swanson could do at that point, and I had the impression he was simply sizing up and assessing the interaction between the message board geeks and the professional football franchise.
Or I suppose he could have just been bored out of his mind ...
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