Did you notice, in the Skins’ official statement on the firing of GM Scot McCloughan, they claimed “the team will have no further comment on his departure”? Is that a cruelly ironic statement or what, the statement coming exactly 11 minutes after the Washington Post published 1,400 words, largely sourced to an unnamed team executive, portraying McCloughan as a disruptive, unrepentant, ineffectual drunk?
Do you think the Skins feel any shame about this smear? (Is that a rhetorical question?) Do you think the Post feels any shame about helping to launder the smear, just to save Dan Snyder a few million dollars?
Do the Skins think that we, and the rest of the media, and the knowledgeable Washington fans don’t know that Snyder’s inner circle at Ashburn consists of just three other people: Bruce Allen, Larry Michael, and Tony Wyllie? Who, then, would you wager spoke these words to the Post? And even if it wasn’t Snyder himself, do you think there’s even the slightest chance he didn’t direct them and approve them?
“He’s had multiple relapses due to alcohol,” said the official, who spoke on a condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment on personnel matters. “He showed up in the locker room drunk on multiple occasions. . . . This has been a disaster for 18 months.”
“He’s been drunk at work,” the team official said. “He’s been drunk at games.”
Are the Skins hoping we’ll forget all context here and just buy this wholesale? That McCloughan and Allen have been locked in a power struggle for a long time, or that the team may have planted advance notice of claims of McCloughan’s relapse with mouthpiece Chris Cooley on a Snyder-owned radio station (Cooley strongly denies this), or that this exact scenario wasn’t predicted long ago by people who know exactly how Snyder operates?
Has anyone forgotten that Snyder has a track record of trying to harass employees into resigning just so he doesn’t have to pay them what’s remaining on their contracts? (Do you think Jim Zorn has forgotten?) And if McCloughan refused to give in and resign, would anyone put it past Snyder to put this stuff out there just to make it easier to justify firing him for cause, and escape the remaining two years on McCloughan’s contract?
But what if McCloughan was drinking? (Exactly to whom would that have come as a surprise, considering McCloughan openly said he never stopped?) Is the appropriate way to handle that, from both legal and moral perspectives, to tell the guy to stay away from the team, then fire him, then anonymously broadcast his problems to the world like this? Is there an ADA violation here? Is there any way this doesn’t end up in court?
And what did the Skins think was going to happen with McCloughan? They know everyone around the league has heard the boozing tales of certain other executives, right?
And why, exactly, did the Washington Post go along with this? How does a newspaper that’s covered Snyder and his organization up close for this long let them feed this shit straight into print? They know the Skins defame people, right? They know Skins brass are liars, yes? At what point is it reckless disregard to carry Snyder’s water?
Why are there four bylines (three beat writers and a non-sports news writer) on this piece? Did the three who didn’t get the anonymous quotes know their names would go on something so remarkably gross? Are they upset about it now?
Which of those reporters was it that pushed back against the very premise of this piece by citing six Skins players who said they’d never seen McCloughan drink in the locker room and that his drinking was never an issue? Was it the same reporter or another, similarly familiar with the daily life of the team, who rebutted the main thrust of the story by noting that McCloughan “had no extended absences from the squad” and “never missed a game, was a consistent presence at spring practices, summer minicamps, and August training camps”?
Does the Post realize that some of its other employees, off the record, have registered their disgust to us?
That they’re ashamed their newspaper was complicit here? Does the Post care as long as it keeps Snyder’s ear? Was it worth it?
Did you ever believe the Skins, the worst-run franchise in the league, could top themselves like this? That, to borrow a potentially appropriate phrase, they could still dig down from rock bottom? Does Dan Snyder understand that shit like this is precisely why his team hasn’t won, and won’t as long as he owns them? If you were a successful NFL executive, and you had your choice of franchises to work for, why would you ever, ever work for Washington?
Put another way: Does Dan Snyder realize that the single biggest reason this horrorshow franchise is perpetually a failure and laughingstock is Dan Snyder?