Redskins Sue Cash-Strapped Fans, Win Millions

Team has sued 125 fans, made $2 million
By Drew Nelles,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 3, 2009 10:32 AM CDT
Fans sit in the rain before a preseason NFL football game in Landover, Md., Saturday, Aug. 22, 2009, between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Washington Redskins.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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(Newser) – Over the last 5 years, the Washington Redskins have won $2 million in judgments after suing 125 season ticket holders who wanted out of their multiyear contracts, the Washington Post reports. Many say they’re loyal fans who simply fell on hard times, but the Redskins insist that lawsuits are a last resort. "We are supposed to pay our bills,” says one distraught fan forced into bankruptcy by the team's actions. “I ain't trying to get out of anything."

Even if they pay their debts, ticket holders don’t get their seats back after defaulting, and at least 16 tickets recovered from sued fans have been resold. Individual judgments have run as high as $209,351.The Redskins say such lawsuits are standard for sports teams, though many other major franchises say they don’t sue fans. "I wish we never had to sue anybody,” a team rep says. “But this is a business.”