The following is a statement by Redskins owner Daniel M. Snyder on the passing of Washington Wizards owner Abe Pollin:
"Abe Pollin was a great owner for Washington, as well as a personal friend. His legacy will live through his teams and the arena he built, and just as importantly, through his commitment to his family and to Washington. My thoughts and prayers go out to Irene and the rest of his wonderful family."
The following is a transcript of Redskins owner Daniel M. Snyder's interview on ESPN 980 shortly after learning of the passing of Abe Pollin:
Your reaction to the news?
"Andy, first of all, I am sorry for your loss. It's a big loss for Washington. I always thought so highly of Abe, even before I owned the Redskins, going to the Cap Centre rooting for the Big E and Wes Unseld and all that. He's just been a great part of the community for so long, a big leader, and someone I've admired. It's a big loss for Washington."
When did you start going to Bullets games?
"Oh gosh, I've been a lifelong fan. I went to the Bullets right after the Cap Centre opened. It's been a long, long time now -- decades and decades. Abe is someone that all of us always have admired for his passion and what he did in the community. Our heart goes out to his families. He took that unbelievable risk on the Verizon Center, which we all admired from a risk perspective of what he did -- rebuilding a part of Washington. And we'll always, always remember that."
What did you take from him that you now use in running the Redskins?
"I think number one, from being in sports now, I have such an appreciation for his desire to win. I think that from time to time the unfair criticism--the guy was a number one fan and someone that desperately wanted to bring another championship to Washington and you have to admire that. He was passionate. He was one of the first people to write me a letter when I first got the team and welcome me."
Do you remember what was in that letter?
"It was more of a welcome. It was very warm. He understood--so well--sports and what it means to the fans. He was great. Heart goes out to his wife and his kids. This is a difficult time."
Did you and Abe ever talk about how to deal with criticism from fans and the media?
"You know, not really. Not in great detail. He was always an optimist. Not really. From my perspective, I think everyone knows how bad I feel for the fans of the Redskins right now. Obviously, we've disappointed everyone and feel really sorry. It is what it is. We've just not performed, but from our perspective we'll get this thing going, but right now is a time of grief. I was stunned to hear that he passed."
What is your longest standing memory of Abe Pollin's years as owner of the Caps and Wizards?
"When I was a little kid, we moved to New York for a while. We had an uncle that passed, so we lived with my grandmother. We moved in and my father was working a little bit in New York. We would go across the street and get the newspapers as soon as they came out in the middle of the night -- they were playing Seattle -- just memories of all the quotes and then watching the championship. It goes way back. If you're a Washingtonian, you have to have loved Abe Pollin."