Well, this was a fun day, no? Big Redskins win, everyone's excited, Dallas on the horizon, Jim Zorn singing about milk, Reliable Source getting ready to report the news that Gilbert Arenas just got engaged, perfect weather, and everyone's talking about....a radio show segment about a newspaper reporter?
Yours truly was momentarily caught up in the great radio silence of Sept. 22, but now that the editors have said their piece, explaining that no one from the Post accused anyone from the Redskins of anything, I'm going to go ahead and publish this bizarre transcript from "Inside the Red Zone" with Vinny Cerrato, the EVPFFO of the Redskins. You can also read more about it on The Redskins Blog.
Today was the second episode of Cerrato's new program on ESPN 980's, and the first segment jumped right into the good stuff. George Michael, who co-hosted last week's debut episode, came back on this morning's show, which was co-hosted by Frank Hanrahan. The topic was a segment during which he and Cerrato had discussed the job security of Raiders coach Lane Kiffin with the NFL Network's Adam Schefter.
Frank Hanrahan: George Michael joins us on the phone. Good morning George, I hear you got some housecleaning to do, is this correct?
George Michael: Well Frank a little housecleaning, because I understand that there's been some confusion about something that we did on Friday. Good morning Mr. Cerrato, I would assume you're in a good mood
Vinny Cerrato: Good morning, King. What was it, WABBL rock 'n' roll? [Laughter]
Michael: WABC, ok? Ok look, here's the deal, I hear that there was an accusation of a very serious word, and the word being "tampering," which I found to be utterly outrageous. So Vinny, I told you on Friday I didn't want to get you in trouble. We talked about Lane Kiffin, the coach of the Raiders, and it's been suggested, or there was a call or a question, were you involved, were you guilty of tampering.
Cerrato: Right. Do you want me to explain it first? Jason La Canfora....
Michael: Do we have the tape so we can hear it?
Cerrato: Yeah, we got the tape. But we'll just say Jason La Canfora, he called the NFL to ask them are they not gonna charge the Washington Redskins with tampering. And let's listen to it and then I'll read the tampering rule.
On tape, Cerrato, last Friday: Hey Adam, let me ask you, what's the latest update on Lane Kiffin? Is he getting on the plane to go to Buffalo today?
On tape, Michael, last Friday: Lane Kiffin, the question that Vinny's talking about, Lane Kiffin, the coach at Oakland, is rumored to be on the verge of getting fired as we talk this morning. There's rumors that he might go to Syracuse. Adam?
(Adam Schefter response, explaining how precarious was Kiffin's situation.)
Hanrahan, back live: All right, so that's what happened on Friday. So take us through, Vinny, what's been going on since then.
Cerrato: Ok, let me read the tampering rule. It says about head coaches: "During a club's playing season, no club may request permission to discuss employment with a head coach for the current or future season." Last time I checked, Frank, we do have a head coach, and there was no discussion there of anything to do with a head coach or job opportunities. All it was was discussing his opportunity with a guy from NFL Network, Adam Schefter, who that's his job is to talk about these things. And that's what we discussed, about him being fired, which will probably happen today from what everybody's reporting. And there was also mention that I read on Pro Football Talk about him possibly going to Syracuse. So I don't see why Jason La Canfora would call the league office to charge us with tampering.
Michael: Vinny, Vinny.
Cerrato: Yes George?
Michael: Let me ask you this. If it were tampering--and that is a very serious thing--if it were tampering, what would happen to the Redskins?
Cerrato: Well, this George: If we were caught tampering, we would lose draft picks and be fined heavily. Look at the New England Patriots, Minnesota Vikings, a lot of teams that have had these things happen lately. You're gonna get fined heavily. So this guy, one of the reasons I want to do this show, George, is to give my opinion on these things, so when things come up I can voice my opinion. But when a guy is trying to hurt the franchise of the Washington Redskins, I'm gonna stand up and I'm gonna defend the Washington Redskins. Because there is nothing that happened on that, this is just a guy attacking us, and I wish that he would just be professional like the rest of his colleagues that cover the Redskins. Period.
Hanrahan: Vinny, my question is how did you find out that...?
Cerrato: The NFL called.
Hanrahan: Ok, they called you? And what did they say?
Cerrato: They just thought it was kind of a joke. They were just giving us a heads-up that Jason La Canfora called and wondering....I mean, it was ridiculous, you know? Maybe he should be out at practice watching practice, George.
Michael: Hey Vinny, the thing is, that you had a serious accusation. But what I hope the audience understands, and I tried to keep you away from, we never once talked about anything other than the fact that, "Hey, is the guy going to Syracuse, what will he do next?" but it had nothing to do with the Redskins. I never said it.
Cerrato: Not a thing to do with the Redskins, George, not one thing.
Michael: I mean, we never once mentioned the Redskins, and I think the public just needs to know that. And I'm not gonna apologize for something I didn't do, and so I feel bad that it came up. I just don't comprehend how someone could call the NFL when there was nothing said whatsoever.
Cerrato: Right. Yeah. I totally agree with you, George, and it's not the first time that this guy's done those kind of things.
Michael: All right, hey Frank, thanks for letting me join you, I wanted to clean up the mess a little bit.
Hanrahan: You got it, man
Cerrato: Hey George, you cleaned it up. We swept it, we swept it up and threw it out.
Cerrato referenced this issue during at least two additional segments, once telling a caller "We had a thing on Friday on the show where Jason La Canfora called the NFL office to accuse the Washington Redskins of tampering....It's my job to stand up for the organization when somebody wants to attack it personally, and that's what I felt I had to do." He specifically praised Thomas Boswell and Mike Wise for writing "good" articles, and when someone named Jason later called in with a question, Cerrato said "I thought maybe it was Jason La Canfora calling."