Skip to content

Washington knew McCloughan was still drinking when he was hired

Getty Images

Pretty much every aspect of the way Washington has handled the Scot McCloughan situation makes the organization look bad. If it’s true that he was fired due to an alcohol relapse, they shouldn’t have leaked unflattering details to the Washington Post. If alcohol issues were a pretext for firing a man who otherwise was performing his job in an acceptable manner, it’s beyond shameful.

There’s one important fact that suggests the latter view is the accurate one. Less than a month before Washington hired McCloughan, ESPN The Magazine published an article in which McCloughan admitted that he still uses alcohol.

“I’d think to myself, ‘OK, Scot, why not have a beer? It never affected your life before; you went from being an area scout to being General Manager,” McCloughan told Seth Wickersham. “Don’t touch the vodka, don’t touch the hard stuff. But if you want to have a beer, have a beer.’ So that’s where I got to. I stopped going to AA. . . . If I was an alcoholic and had a beer, I’d have two, then four, then six, then  . . . you know, you can’t stop. I can. I can have a beer and I’m fine. I don’t need any more.”

McCloughan ordered a beer while meeting with Wickersham for the interview on which the profile was based.

The article carries a date of December 12, 2014. On January 7, 2015, Washington hired McCloughan.

Either they affirmatively knew that McCloughan was still using alcohol when he was hired, or they engaged in one of the worst background checks in the history of the NFL. Regardless, McCloughan didn’t have a “relapse” while with Washington; he was still drinking when he walked through the door.

And then, with power taken from Bruce Allen and given to the new arrival, McCloughan presided over the team’s first back-to-back winning seasons since 1996-97.

Regardless of how this will play out before the Commissioner and/or in a court of law, the decision to fire a guy for drinking when he was hired while drinking seems inherently, and grossly, unfair. If McCloughan’s drinking progressed to the point that the relationship could not continue, Washington should either have gotten him help or accepted the fact that, when signing him to a four-year contract, they knew damn well that this could happen.

Instead, they’ve tossed him out the same door for drinking through he entered while still drinking. That’s no way to run any responsible business, and the team deserves every ounce of criticism it’s getting from the media, and more.

Permalink 62 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Rumor Mill, Top Stories, Washington Redskins
62 Responses to “Washington knew McCloughan was still drinking when he was hired”
  1. MichaelEdits says: Mar 10, 2017 11:31 AM

    I can’t imagine signing with Washington while being sober.

  2. beavertonsteve says: Mar 10, 2017 11:31 AM

    Mitch Hedberg was right.

    Alcoholism is a disease, but it’s the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic! Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupus! One of those two doesn’t sound right.

  3. feckyerlife says: Mar 10, 2017 11:32 AM

    its kind funny if you read the MMQB article, sounds like nothing had to do with him drinking and everything had to do with him and Bruce Allen not getting along. Actually that article doesnt even mention alcohol

  4. stoneydog1000 says: Mar 10, 2017 11:35 AM

    It’s like firing a bartender for having an after shift beer.

  5. nje22 says: Mar 10, 2017 11:35 AM

    Often disagree with you Mike, but you’re right on here.
    Where does this guy go now?
    They’ve effectively destroyed him professionally and then cut him.

  6. skinsdiehard says: Mar 10, 2017 11:36 AM

    Wrong. He could have told the team that he was “down” to drinking only beer when they hired him. He could have escalated. Players confirmed that he showed up drunk in the locker room before and after games. Pus, Florio, you don’t know how long this went on. They probably did give him a chance to recover and get back on track.

    You just want to believe the worst about the Redskins. That’s all this article is about. It’s not about the facts or truth.

  7. joetoronto says: Mar 10, 2017 11:37 AM

    Who do the Redskins think they are, the Bronco’s?

  8. sumkat says: Mar 10, 2017 11:37 AM

    3 words

    Dan Fn Snider

  9. imyourhuckelberrythatsjustmygame says: Mar 10, 2017 11:37 AM

    Fire Water, Tonto, Fire Water!

  10. mogogo1 says: Mar 10, 2017 11:38 AM

    This is destined to get very ugly in court. Several players have already been asked about the locker room reports and none of them admitted to seeing anything unusual. One even said he’d never heard of McCloughan’s past drinking problems which would suggest it wasn’t even a topic of idle conversation around the locker room.

    If he sues them for slander Dan Snyder is going to have to do better than “Me and my top executives saw him drunk all the time but it was always when the entire team and coaching staff were in the showers.”

  11. steeelfann0155 says: Mar 10, 2017 11:38 AM

    Oh, so the Redskins give a guy a chance to work and get over his drinking, but he doesn’t stop. So it is the Redskins fault and not McCloughan. Once again, the victim society reigns and personal responsibility not mentioned. Hats off to the Redskins for giving him a chance when others would not.

  12. sabrastang says: Mar 10, 2017 11:40 AM

    Its the Redskins…. go figure. (Redskins Fan)

  13. accipiterq says: Mar 10, 2017 11:42 AM

    If it was debilitating, doesn’t that fall under the auspices of a handicap, at least in the legal sense? There has GOT to be some sort of legal repercussion against Washington, if that’s the case, correct?

  14. riflemanlax says: Mar 10, 2017 11:42 AM

    Fire Dan Snyder.

    As an Eagles fan it’s easy to lob bricks. But still, football fans don’t deserve the kind of shenanigans that come from poor owners. That guy is a clown.

  15. dlr4skins says: Mar 10, 2017 11:45 AM

    I bet there’s more to this story on the Redskins side. Even his wife tweeted some interesting things in the past. You make it sound as if McCloughan was approaching sainthood when in fact it was more like a high speed train not even on the tracks.

  16. darcrequiem says: Mar 10, 2017 11:45 AM

    Setting aside how pathetic this situation looks. He shouldn’t be drinking. Alcoholics shouldn’t drink at all.

  17. dagon27 says: Mar 10, 2017 11:45 AM

    He’s so good at his job, he’ll get something again. He might have to sit out the 2017 season. Even if he’s partially to blame (i.e. his drinking was adversely affecting his work), Washington bungled this situation so badly that they are the clear villains here.
    That 2014 Wickersham article is a fascinating read. McCloughan should sit down with him again in a few months – I’m sure he’ll have a few interesting stories to add.

    ———-
    nje22 says:
    Mar 10, 2017 11:35 AM
    Often disagree with you Mike, but you’re right on here.
    Where does this guy go now?
    They’ve effectively destroyed him professionally and then cut him.

  18. ricko1112 says: Mar 10, 2017 11:46 AM

    Dan Snyder has turned this once proud franchise into a laughingstock. Now, the Redskins finally have a GM who seems to know what he’s doing and the perception of Washington finally began to change. Suddenly, BOOM! Some teams just can’t seem to help themselves. It’s much easier to have low expectations than it is to stand the pressure of excellence. Some organizations aren’t mentally strong enough to handle success. The Bill, Jets, Knicks, Jags, etc.

  19. drcap says: Mar 10, 2017 11:46 AM

    It will take some time for the lawsuits to play out, but when they are done, McCloughan will never need to work another day in his life.

  20. jbutina says: Mar 10, 2017 11:47 AM

    SM sounds like a typical alcoholic denier . . . “its ok because i can still function” . . . BS . . . and, the Redskins did not show him the door simply because he was drinking, it was because it was definitely effecting as HE chose not to show up to the combine and HE chose not to be there for the start of FA . . . those where the last straws in the eyes of the Redskins front office.

  21. unclebluck says: Mar 10, 2017 11:47 AM

    In Buffalo we have a dumpster fire that has raged for years. We have had more than our share of bad coaches and GM’s. I dont recall any of them being treated/let go in this manner.

  22. lowesislander says: Mar 10, 2017 11:48 AM

    How do you work for the Redskins and NOT drink?

  23. gbanman says: Mar 10, 2017 11:48 AM

    This organization is like a reverse car wash… come in clean and leave dirty. Snyder and his henchman used these same smear tactics on Gregg Williams back in ’07 and on Zorn in ’09. I thought it was next to impossible for the fan base to despise seomeone more than Vinnie Cerrato….Bruce Allen somehow proved me wrong. The ownership and yes men executives are as low class, shameless, and filthy as you’ll see. What a disgrace to professional sports.

  24. lazywaste says: Mar 10, 2017 11:48 AM

    This, just like your other article about how the Washington team looks bad for knowing he was still boozing it up is your opinion. I’m not a Washington fan, I’m just a lowly Browns fan – but my opinion totally disagrees with what you wrote. It’s the fault of the PERSON still boozing it up for why he got fired. Start blaming the person not the team.

  25. realfootballfan says: Mar 10, 2017 11:49 AM

    Bingo. I pointed this out yesterday. How are you going to hire somebody who said brazenly that he wasn’t going to stop drinking even if some people thought he had a problem and then fire him later for drinking, and then have just about everyone that matters most on the team, the players, saying his drinking was not a problem? Just Washington being Washington. My guess is that he had had it with the office politics that you have to be an ostrich to not see is the biggest part of the Snyder franchise since he got there from Cerrato to Allen, and they decided to smear him and show him the door instead of start acting like a real franchise.

  26. harrisonhits2 says: Mar 10, 2017 11:49 AM

    “If it was debilitating, doesn’t that fall under the auspices of a handicap”

    So now alcoholism is a “handicap” ?

    No, its not. Its an addiction, one that starts through voluntary behavior, and one that continues through voluntary behavior.

  27. ipskipskyblue says: Mar 10, 2017 11:49 AM

    He did an interview on WTEM right after his introductory presser and said the same exact thing. On the station Danny boy owns, he said that. Snyder is getting sued big time for this dumpster fire.

  28. qbarrel says: Mar 10, 2017 11:50 AM

    That’s OK – I think Snyder was drinking when he hired Mike Shanahan.

  29. upperdecker19 says: Mar 10, 2017 11:52 AM

    I don’t often drink beer…..but when I do……I do it while employed by the Redskins!

    Regards,
    The original most interesting man in the world (not the crummy new guy)

  30. dawgpoundjedi says: Mar 10, 2017 11:52 AM

    Wrong. He could have told the team that he was “down” to drinking only beer when they hired him. He could have escalated. Players confirmed that he showed up drunk in the locker room before and after games. Pus, Florio, you don’t know how long this went on. They probably did give him a chance to recover and get back on track.
    —————————————————-
    I think you need to do some closer reading. The articles mentioning player opinions all said that those players that talked about the situation said that he was NEVER drunk in the locker room and always appeared sober and able to do his job.

  31. therealraider says: Mar 10, 2017 11:57 AM

    skinsdiehard says:
    Mar 10, 2017 11:36 AM

    Wrong. He could have told the team that he was “down” to drinking only beer when they hired him. He could have escalated. Players confirmed that he showed up drunk in the locker room before and after games. Pus, Florio, you don’t know how long this went on. They probably did give him a chance to recover and get back on track.

    You just want to believe the worst about the Redskins. That’s all this article is about. It’s not about the facts or truth.
    ————————————————-

    “Players confirmed he showed up drunk in the locker room before and after games”

    Who doesn’t have a buzz before and after a game? Technically the players and coaches are on the clock. Everybody else is there to enjoy themselves and pat each other on the back.

  32. bvolke says: Mar 10, 2017 11:59 AM

    Really understanding by the Redskins organization. No one wants to be an alcoholic and handling things in this matter only makes the person want to drink more. It’s a problem that deserves patience and understanding.

  33. PFT's Most Censored says: Mar 10, 2017 12:01 PM

    Keep it classy Washington

  34. tdshouldbeinthehall says: Mar 10, 2017 12:01 PM

    joetoronto says:
    Mar 10, 2017 11:37 AM
    Who do the Redskins think they are, the Bronco’s?
    ———
    Funny, I don’t remember the Redskins beating up on the Raiders for the last decade.

  35. getyourownname says: Mar 10, 2017 12:01 PM

    “it’s beyond shameful”

    This label could be applied to most of Little Danny’s, and now Sycophant George’s, actions.

    Regardless, I doubt it will tamp down the infamous typical Skins’ fan tendency to lose sight of reality when looking at their team, starting with logicalvoice (the obvious alter ego of Danny).

  36. cmtumd says: Mar 10, 2017 12:02 PM

    18 months. That is the total amount of time Washington was able to resist being a total train wreck of a franchise. Not saying McCloughan was without blame but the way this whole thing along with the Cousins situation has been handled is astounding.

  37. blackqbwhiterb says: Mar 10, 2017 12:05 PM

    this offseason was supposed to be a big step towards making this team really competitive- they have draft picks, cap space, and a GM with an exceptional eye for talent….. As soon as the Cousins contract matter wasn’t handled, but allowed to just stew since the season ended, it was obvious something was up……now we know what…

  38. xpensivewinos says: Mar 10, 2017 12:06 PM

    The Redskins did not handle this well and I’m sure many lawyers are salivating to head up this lawsuit.

    That said, McCloughan reminds me of that great Ozzy Osbourne story where his wife tricked him into going to the Betty Ford Clinic in order to “learn how to drink responsibly.”

    Meanwhile, Steve “I Always Look Like I Woke Up In A Dumpster” Bannon is thrilled that someone else’s drinking is being focused on for a minute…….

  39. getyourownname says: Mar 10, 2017 12:06 PM

    harrisonhits2 says:

    So now alcoholism is a “handicap” ?

    No, its not. Its an addiction, one that starts through voluntary behavior, and one that continues through voluntary behavior.

    *******************
    It’s not an absolute, and there are certain evidentiary hurdles to overcome, but generally you’re wrong as a matter of law, and employees usually have a right to sue employers if terminated for alleged alcoholism.

  40. werliaros says: Mar 10, 2017 12:13 PM

    The only value that Bruce Allen has to any NFL franchise is to the St. Lois/LA Rams. One screw up after another and somehow things just don’t stick to him. Amazing!

  41. thesmartestmanever says: Mar 10, 2017 12:15 PM

    Well if the players didn’t see it……. I dare any of you to show up to work with beer breath then blame your boss or firing you. Get away from the rock pile and return to your glass houses.

  42. thermalito says: Mar 10, 2017 12:17 PM

    who cares let the guy drink. He’s the best talent evaluator in the game.

  43. realfootballfan says: Mar 10, 2017 12:20 PM

    As far as him suing, I don’t even think he will. His dad came from the Al Davis Raiders, so I just don’t think he raised a son with that on his mind. He’s a meat and potatoes type who doesn’t bask in the glory and genuinely loves the work of picking players. He knows he can get another job like that or just go back to consulting, which was what he was doing when Washington hired him. This was a rift which came to a head. If you know anything about his background, he loves this time of year but sat the combine out, so there was some kind of ultimatum given I’m thinking from his side about the nonsense going on behind the scenes as everyone with eyes can see what he was doing for that team. His agent’s words on the subject to PFT and the reports that he was still talking to players on his own time away from the team pretty much confirmed that to me. It’s been 20 years and they just had their first back to back winning seasons ever under Snyder for Christ sake. That speaks volumes.

  44. jsuch2 says: Mar 10, 2017 12:22 PM

    Often disagree with you Mike, but you’re right on here.
    Where does this guy go now?
    They’ve effectively destroyed him professionally and then cut him.

    **********************************************************

    Back to Seattle

  45. r8dernation says: Mar 10, 2017 12:22 PM

    If I had to work that close to Trump, I would drink a lot too.

  46. idun215 says: Mar 10, 2017 12:27 PM

    Drinking isn’t something that can cause you to not get a job. I’m assuming Redskins mindset was that he was drinking a beer during his downtime and off days or at a restaurant. What they fired him for was drinking while on the job showing up at the job drunk and smelling like alcohol.

  47. xbam says: Mar 10, 2017 12:29 PM

    All Hail! lol

  48. danoregon says: Mar 10, 2017 12:34 PM

    There are workplace laws that have been violated. I have to think McCloughan wins a lawsuit for disparagement, etc. The only thing that might keep him from suing though, is wanting another job in the NFL.

  49. a1b24312 says: Mar 10, 2017 12:39 PM

    The spin machine up and working! Only in “Washington”.

  50. fwippel says: Mar 10, 2017 12:40 PM

    Usually, it’s a good idea to get all the facts before passing judgment on a situation like this.

    But since it’s the Redskins, and since people who run certain media outlets refuse to saying anything non-negative about the Redskins (and will continue to do so until they change their horribly offensive name), it’s perfectly fine to pass judgment without having all the facts.

    ESPN is losing money hand-over-fist because of bias (though I’m sure they haven’t figured that out yet). Don’t think it can’t happen anywhere else.

  51. sportnorcal says: Mar 10, 2017 12:43 PM

    This feels like a smear campaign, even if he was drinking they showed a complete lack of class using it as an excuse.

  52. edon8334 says: Mar 10, 2017 12:47 PM

    I’m really starting to believe this franchise is cursed. maybe the name should be changed..along with the owner. It’s embarassing to be a redskins fan right now..and another year of Kirk Cousins…just great! smh

  53. PFT's Most Censored says: Mar 10, 2017 12:56 PM

    Somewhere Shanahan and RG3 are laughing at this and sharing a beer together. What a dumpster fire Washington is.

    –Eagles Fan

  54. PFT's Most Censored says: Mar 10, 2017 12:56 PM

    Where ya at Logical??

  55. k0mbucha says: Mar 10, 2017 1:04 PM

    @ steeelfann0155 says:

    Oh, so the Redskins give a guy a chance to work and get over his drinking, but he doesn’t stop. So it is the Redskins fault and not McCloughan. Once again, the victim society reigns and personal responsibility not mentioned. Hats off to the Redskins for giving him a chance when others would not.
    ___________________________________

    You made a very unbiased reasonable comment and I am amazed at how many thumbs down you got. Must be the people who don’t claim responsibility for their own actions.

  56. dukeblue12 says: Mar 10, 2017 1:10 PM

    There’s literally no acceptable answer for the organization to put forth

  57. youdrivemenutseagles says: Mar 10, 2017 2:02 PM

    Oh. So the Redskins are treating the execs the way they’d treat any player. I’m ok with that.

  58. ramsfandango says: Mar 10, 2017 2:10 PM

    The Washington Post depends upon leaks to write almost anything. That rag has such a bad reputation that it has lost almost all credibility.

  59. nyfootballgiants says: Mar 10, 2017 2:57 PM

    Here’s the thing. IF they truly were firing him for his alcohol use/abuse – it would never have gotten out.

    Something happened that hasn’t been reported – and the Skins are clearly making this personal.

    In my career, i have had to fire many people – and our philosophy was, once you no longer worked for us, you weren’t our problem. There is no need to make negative comments about someone after they have left.

    They have hung him out to dry for a long time before pulling the cord. Clearly its personal… And sad

  60. arrowdead says: Mar 10, 2017 4:11 PM

    This dude is delusional. he’s an alcoholic who rationalizes that he can have a drink. That has never worked ever. DUDE YOU CAN’T DRINK ANYMORE.

  61. purpleguy says: Mar 10, 2017 5:39 PM

    You can’t fire someone for being an alcoholic, as that’s a violation of the American’s with Disabilities Act. You can fire them for drinking on the job though. Unless he was fired for consuming alcohol during work hours or not showing up for work, he should sure their rear-ends.

  62. tonebones says: Mar 16, 2017 6:55 AM

    I don’t think it’s the draft beers that got McCloughan fired. It’s the NFL drafts that got him fired. I think we’re all assuming something that might be way off. How many playoff games have they won lately?

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!