WASHINGTON — When the Redskins finally fired GM Scot McCloughan Thursday evening, barely three hours into the 2017 Free Agency period, the aftershocks were always going to be substantial.
But the backlash against the team has been absolutely devastating.
There are many facets to this particular falling out. For one, the Redskins have lacked credibility for decades, and nobody gives them the benefit of the doubt after their many, many public gaffes. What’s more, McCloughan is incredibly well-regarded as a talent evaluator, and, though he had his misses as any GM would, he brought in a handful of excellent players and helped lead the team to its best two-year stretch in decades. Finally, he is also very well-liked all around the league, and with the anonymous leaks coming from inside the organization painting him as a bad guy, just about nobody outside of Washington is defending the team.
Not only are the Redskins coming off looking horrible, having taken the lowest of low roads, but McCloughan is coming off looking remarkably well for a guy who, by all (anonymous) accounts, showed up to work drunk repeatedly. He and his family have mostly remained quiet throughout the whole debacle, with only a few low-key public remarks made so far.
But more than anything, this reeks of “same old Redskins.” The team is reeling, having let free agents Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson and Chris Baker all leave for other teams, and quarterback Kirk Cousins, who had the franchise tag placed on him for the second season in a row but has yet to sign it this year, is reportedly more interested in leaving than staying.
Fed up with the disastrous offseason and overall state of the team, Redskins fans have planned a “March on Ashburn” for Friday and Saturday mornings. By early Thursday, the march had garnered only mild support, with fewer than 20 people signed up to attend. But as Thursday’s events unraveled, the event gained traction and fans got riled up. By 7:30 a.m. Friday, more than 260 people had signed up for the march on Facebook, and nearly 900 more listed themselves as “interested.”
There was such support for the rally that the original one-day event was extended to a two-day march, allowing fans who wish to protest but have to work Friday morning the chance to gather on Saturday morning. Each rally is scheduled to start at 8 a.m. and go until 11 a.m.
Keep in mind, all of this is happening in March. Fans are protesting the team five months before it takes the field. The general manager was not present at the Scouting Combine — sometimes referred to as the “Super Bowl for scouts” — and team president Bruce Allen said it was due to family matters, adding McCloughan would return to work once he was finished handling those matters. Just a few days later, mere hours after free agency officially started — when front offices make ever-important decisions on the immediate and distant futures of their teams — the Redskins fired the man supposedly in charge of personnel decisions.
It is, in every sense of the phrase, an unprecedented disaster.
Not surprisingly, another “D” word has been splattered across social media in recent hours: “dysfunction.” And then just about every known synonym came right after it.