CLINTON, Md. -- Dan Snyder is embarrassed. He feels terrible. He's also hurt, frustrated and apologetic. Name a downbeat adjective, and he's all over it.
The Washington Redskins owner made some rare in-season comments about his team Tuesday, speaking at an event to celebrate the franchise's charitable program to renovate football fields at Maryland high schools. He received nothing but cheers from appreciative students and faculty when introduced, a change of pace from the reception he and his team have heard at FedEx Field during a 2-5 start.
"We feel frustration and are disappointed for our fans," Snyder told the crowd. "Obviously our performance to date is not what we expected, and we hope to turn that around."
Afterward, speaking to a small group of reporters in a parking lot, Snyder elaborated -- although only in general terms. Asked a question that referenced two recent controversies surrounding the team -- the suing of fans who couldn't pay for their premium tickets, and a total ban on fans carrying signs and banners into the stadium -- Snyder addressed neither issue.
"I feel bad for the fans. I feel sorry for the fans, and we're very, very appreciative of our loyal fan base," he said. "We just feel terrible. We're disappointed. We're embarrassed, and we hope to get it going soon."
Although the team says the ban on signs took effect at the beginning of the season, it was announced only recently, coinciding with an increase of negative signs targeting Snyder and front office chief Vinny Cerrato. Asked how he is affected personally, Snyder said: "It hurts."
"It really hurts," Snyder said. "We are really trying very, very hard, everyone at Redskins Park, the coaches, the players. The organization's quite frankly held together well, and I think we've got an opportunity the rest of the season to hopefully get it going. But to date we've let everyone down, including ourselves, and we know that and we're just apologetic. We've blown some games that obviously we think we should have won."
The questions got more pointed as the interview progressed. After 2 1/2 minutes, in the middle of a question about stripping of coach Jim Zorn of play-calling duties, the Surrattsville High School marching band happened to approach the area, playing at full volume. Snyder stopped the question and made small talk about the fact that Tuesday was Election Day while waiting for the band to pass.
Just as the music was quieting down, Snyder said he had to go. He walked away, leaving the question unanswered.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press