Reporter asks Leonsis about Ernie Grunfeld

September 25, 2013

(Luis M. Alvarez/AP)

Ted Leonsis seems to have a great deal of patience with his general managers. Fans and media members seem to differ on whether that’s the best strategy. This week, one reporter put that question to the owner.

“One of the ways that people tend to describe Ted Leonsis is even-keeled,” WUSA’s Dave Owens began. “Ernie Grunfeld, your GM, people have been calling for his head for years and years. The patience of Ted Leonsis with a guy who’s got almost 200 more losses than wins, what it is about him that you see that made you say I’m not gonna get rid of him, I’m not gonna fire him, I’m gonna stay with Ernie?”

Dang. That’s harsh.

“Well, it’s a plan that we articulated together,” Leonsis answered. “This is my fourth season owning the team. Whatever circumstances there were beforehand, they didn’t deal with me. And Ernie is very well respected around the league. We’ve blown the team up, John Wall is our most tenured player, and I worked with Ernie and we articulated a plan and we’ve been executing the plan together. This is an important year for the franchise. We want to take a step forward and we want the team to play better and qualify for the playoffs. And I have a lot of confidence in the front office and the coaching staff and the players that we’re taking the right steps and measures, that we can be a playoff team.”

“You say this is an important year for the team as they make that next step,” Owens said. “What if that doesn’t happen?”

“I’ll have to cross that bridge when I get to it,” Leonsis said. “I’ll have to see what the circumstances are, just like we do with every team, and every owner does. How does the season turn out and what happened? But certainly right now, I’m very very happy with the job the front office has done.

“Ernie on the hot seat?” asked Owens, who has a lot more chuztpah than I do.

“We’re all on the hot seat,” Leonsis answered. “I’m on the hot seat. If the ratings aren’t good, you’ll be on the hot seat, too. I mean, we live in very accountable businesses, and we’re all accountable.”

Dan Steinberg writes about all things DC sports at the DC Sports Bog.
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Dan Steinberg · September 25, 2013