Redskins President Bruce Allen again revisited the firing of former general manager Scot McCloughan on Tuesday morning, offering an apparent rebuke to the anonymous team official who had talked of McCloughan’s struggles with alcohol to The Washington Post.
Asked by ESPN 980’s Chris Cooley whether anyone with the team had been authorized to say anything about McCloughan to the media, Allen rejected this city’s culture of anonymous leaks.
“First of all, anyone who knows me knows that ‘sources’ and rumors and all of those type of things isn’t part of our game plan at all,” Allen said. “I don’t know what you mean ‘authorized’ to say, but I’m not interested in anyone disparaging anyone who’s a Redskin [or] a former Redskin. That’s not what we do. And it’s unfortunate, especially in Washington, D.C., the nature of media sources. Every day you can pick up the paper in D.C. and there’s a thousand ‘sources’ talking about anything from energy, to the Redskins, to baseball, to the president, to the vice president, and things of that nature. I think that’s a culture of our media industry.”
(I should inject here to say that The Post’s use of an anonymous source in the McCloughan story was examined by The Post’s media critic, Eric Wemple. I have not been told who this source was, and I know nothing about how that quote was gathered. So don’t search this item for any sort of loaded clues or hidden hints about the background, because I honestly have no idea.)
Kevin Sheehan then asked Allen for his reaction upon reading those quotes in The Post, and whether he or anyone else has attempted to find out who gave the quotes to the paper. (Among other things, the anonymous official said that the McCloughan situation “has been a disaster for 18 months.”)
“The next morning after we released Scot I met with the entire staff and told them the type of behavior we want going forward, and the way we handle our business,” Allen said. “I’m not gonna specifically say [the meeting was about] that, but it was a general tone of what is expected of everybody with the Redskins, how to behave themselves. And if anyone ever has something that they think is a valuable quote, put your name to it. I can live with people putting their names to anything they want to say.”
Asked later for more specifics about what was said at the staff meeting, Allen demurred. “If you worked for the Redskins, you would have been at the meeting,” he said, prompting laughter from Cooley and Sheehan, who have rejected suggestions that Cooley is a team employee by dint of his work on the team’s radio broadcast.
Sheehan then returned again to The Post story and the anonymous quotes, which seem to have been a galvanizing detail for many observers. The quotes, Sheehan said, “really drove the bus over Scot figuratively; it left the organization — in the moment — in a bad light. What was your reaction to that,” he asked, “other than just telling the organization this is how it should be handled, because somebody didn’t handle it that way?”
“You know Kevin, it’s interesting; I did not read [the story] the next day,” Allen said. “I didn’t. I heard about it maybe a week after. You have to remember, the timing of the dismissal really was, we’re starting the new league year and the free agents that we were gonna bring in, we wanted them to have a clear view of what our organization is and the people who they were going to be meeting. And it served us well.
“We were extremely busy during those days. You know, I’ve been fired before. It’s not comfortable. It’s not one of the most fun experiences in life, but it is life in the NFL, and the coaches and the scouts understand it, because they have friends throughout the league get terminated every year. So I think we understand the culture of the NFL and the desire to get better every day, and I just think that where we’re at right now, we’re in a good spot. After these going to dive into the draft and bring in our college scouts who have ‘ve] given some people some extra duties for cross-checking and things of that nature, and we’re looking forward to getting some more talent on our team.”
Allen was also asked whether there’s anyone who has the final say on personnel in the team’s current setup. He seemed to reject that concept.
“Well, I know that sounds like the way it is,” Allen said. “Every player will be compared to another player, so when we do a board — whether it’s our free agency board or our college board — there’ll be a comparison between Chris Cooley and Joe Smots. … But those conversations are had in order to build your board and rank the players appropriately.”