By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 9, 2009
The Washington Redskins laid off at least 20 employees at Redskins Park this week and an undetermined number at FedEx Field, according to several sources with knowledge of the situation.
No coaches, trainers or scouts were let go. Cuts included at least one team vice president and members of the legal, marketing, information technology, public relations, cheerleading, game-day operations and Redskins Television staffs, according to several of the outgoing employees. Two members of the football operations staff were let go, sources said.
The Redskins declined to comment. The team's media guide lists 143 positions in its section devo ted to non-football staff.
Several of those let go on Wednesday said Chief Operating Officer Mitch Gershman told them the team was shedding about 30 employees because of financial difficulties caused by the economy and a decrease in revenue.
"Mitch said that the revenue from tickets and season tickets was not where it needs to be," said one employee who was let go on Wednesday. "It's going to be really tough for the people who are still there, because we were all already wearing two to three hats. Now, they're all going to be wearing four to six hats, and the compensation is not changing. I guess that's typical when businesses do this kind of thing, but that doesn't make it any easier."
As a condition of their benefits and severance packages, outgoing employees must sign an agreement precluding them from speaking publicly about the organization or the conditions of their departure. Several did speak on the condition of anonymity, however.
"It was very sad," one of the departing employees said. "We were all just sitting there waiting to see who was next. There were a lot of tears shed."
The departures included several of the longest-serving members of the organization, including some who worked for owner Daniel Snyder previously at Snyder Communications.
Former NFL wide receiver John Jefferson, who served for nine years as the club's director of player development, was informed of his release Wednesday, sources said. Jefferson, whose role was to counsel players, help integrate youngsters into their new lifestyle and help departing players transition to new careers, began contacting players Wednesday night, telling several he intended to pursue a career in real estate. The team also released Jimmy Halsell, who spent two years as a salary cap analyst, from its football operations staff.
Most of the moves were made Wednesday afternoon at Redskins Park, before a contingent of team officials and human relations personnel moved on to FedEx Field to continue the process there, team sources said. It could not be determined how many employees were laid off at the stadium.
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