Earlier tonight, the Washington football team released a statement on behalf of GM Scot McCloughan’s wife Jessica, apologizing for having sent tweets accusing an ESPN reporter of trading sexual favors for access. But just a few hours before releasing the statement, Washington PR svengali Tony Wyllie told both Black Sports Online and Pro Football Talk that the Twitter account was a fake and that the team had reported it to NFL security. Here is how Black Sports Online recounted their conversation with Wyllie:

SVP of Communications for the Redskins Tony Wyllie tells BlackSportsOnline exclusively that it definitely a fake account and they have contacted NFL security to have it shut down.

That is an exact statement from the team.

The obvious takeaway here, once McCloughan apologized for the tweets, was that somebody lied. Either Tony Wyllie lied when he said the account was a fake, or McCloughan lied and told Wyllie the account didn’t belong to her, or there was, perhaps, a third, more benign explanation that isn’t apparent to me.

Advertisement

In an attempt to do due diligence before accusing anybody of lying, I called Wyllie up on the phone. I am in an area with terrible cell phone reception, so all I heard was Wyllie repeating, “Hello? Anybody there?” So I followed up with an e-mail, which turned into 12 emails, in attempt to get to the bottom of the situation. Here is our correspondence, unedited.

From: kevin.draper@deadspin.com

To: wylliet@redskins.com

Subject: McCloughan Statement

Time: 8:35 p.m.

Hi Tony,

I was the one that just called you on the phone, but I’m in an area with bad reception and I guess you couldn’t hear me.

Earlier today it seems that you talked to both Black Sports Online and Pro Football Talk regarding the McCloughan tweet. While both organizations reported that you said that account was a fake, neither of them ran an actual statement from you. Can you let me know what statement you gave them?

Thanks
Kevin

__
Kevin Draper
Staff Writer, Deadspin
510-300-xxxx

From: Tony

To: Kevin

Time: 9:16 p.m.

“I deeply apologize for the disparaging remarks about an ESPN reporter on my personal Twitter account. The comment was unfounded and inappropriate, and I have the utmost respect for both the reporter and ESPN. I regret that my actions have brought undeserved negative attention to the Redskins organization and its leadership. My comments in no way reflect the opinions or attitudes of the organization and I regret that my behavior has in any way negatively impacted the team and its loyal fan base.” – Jessica McCloughan

Sent from my iPhone

From: Kevin

To: Tony

Time: 9:22 p.m.

Hi Tony,

Thanks for the response, but I’m looking for the statement you gave PFT and BSO when you told them the account was a fake, and being forwarded to NFL security for investigation.

From: Tony

To: Kevin

Time: 10:23 p.m.

What is your telephone number?

Hey KevIn,

Our email at work went down.

That was our first statement.

Here is the second one

“I deeply apologize for the disparaging remarks about an ESPN reporter on my personal Twitter account. The comment was unfounded and inappropriate, and I have the utmost respect for both the reporter and ESPN. I regret that my actions have brought undeserved negative attention to the Redskins organization and its leadership. My comments in no way reflect the opinions or attitudes of the organization and I regret that my behavior has in any way negatively impacted the team and its loyal fan base.” – Jessica McCloughan

Sent from my iPhone

From: Tony

To: Kevin

Time: 10:23 p.m.

I see it now in your signature.

Sent from my iPhone

From: Kevin

To: Tony

Time: 10:29 p.m.

Yeah, it’s 510-300-xxx, but I’m guessing it won’t work because I am in the hills in a place with very bad service, but please feel free to try!

And what I’m wondering is what the first statement actually was. Neither BSO nor PFT published a statement or anything from you in quotes, they just paraphrased what you said. I am trying to figure out how this story went from a fake account to Jessica apologizing in a couple of hours.

From: Tony

To: Kevin

Time: 10:33 p.m.

That is accurate among PFT and BSO

We made two statements.

I will reach out to you in the am.

Sent from my iPhone

From: Kevin

To: Tony

Time: 10:44 p.m.

Hi Tony,

I am trying to run a story on what exactly happened before the morning. To be clear, this is what PFT wrote:

Redskins Senior Vice President Tony Wyllie tells PFT that Jessica McCloughan did not post the tweet, it came from a fake account, and it has been forwarded to the NFL’s security department.

And this is what BSO wrote:

SVP of Communications for the Redskins Tony Wyllie tells BlackSportsOnline exclusively that it definitely a fake account and they have contacted NFL security to have it shut down.

You are saying that both of these recollections of your conversations are accurate, correct?

If they’re accurate, it seems that somebody lied here. Either you lied when you said the account was a fake, Jessica McCloughan lied and told you it wasn’t her account, or there is something else going on here that isn’t clear to me. Do you have an explanation for this apparent lie?

From: Tony

To: Kevin

Time: 10:58 p.m.

Kevin

Our last statement stands. If you have any further questions call me tomorrow.

Have a good night!!

Tony

Sent from my iPhone

At 11:27, I received a phone call from Wyllie. He was unhappy that I called him a dipshit and incompetent in my previous post, but our conversation was cut short after less than a minute by the aforementioned service problems.

From: Tony

To: Kevin

Time: 11:27 p.m.

Kevin

You can disagree all you want and I can respect that but I don’t appreciate the insults and personal attacks. I’m being professional and would like the same from you.

Sent from my iPhone

From: Tony

To: Kevin

Time: 11:29 p.m.

Have a good night. Let’s chat tomorrow

Sent from my iPhone

From: Kevin

To: Tony

Time: 11:40 p.m.

Hey Tony,

Sorry the phone call didn’t work; I’m at my parents’ house and have never gotten service here.

I understand that you don’t appreciate my namecalling, and I won’t deny that it’s a bit childish. That said, I’m just trying to get the answer to a simple question: why did you tell BSO and PFT that the Twitter account was fake? Either you lied purposefully, or you passed on a lie you were told, or there’s some other explanation. Which is it?

We also took our conversation to text message (it’s a west coast time stamp):

We still have no idea who lied here, but maybe Tony—who once compared my colleague, the legendary Dave McKenna, to the Egyptian government and the Skins to protestors in Tahrir Square (this actually happened)—will clear it up tomorrow morning. Hope springs eternal!

Advertisement

Update (1:25 p.m.): I just got off the phone from a short conversation with Wyllie. He explained that when initially looking into what happened, Jessica McCloughan told him that the Twitter account did not belong to her. He believed her, which is why he told Black Sports Online, ProFootballTalk, and other news outlets that it was a fake.


E-mail: kevin.draper@deadspin.com | PGP key + fingerprint | DM: @kevinmdraper