Chris Cooley works for Washington. So does Scot McCloughan. On Tuesday, Cooley found himself treading into territory that could create problems for him internally.
The comments came while Cooley, who has a radio show on Daniel Snyder-owned ESPN 980, attempted to understand why McCloughan has been prevented from talking to the media.
“You start to wonder, what the hell is going on here?” Cooley said, via Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post. “And I start to look at this and say, ‘Do we not trust what Scot McCloughan is going to say to the media, and is that why he’s not allowed to talk to the media?’ And if we don’t trust what he’s going to say to the media, why don’t we trust what he’s going to say to the media? Now, if you look at the history of Scot McCloughan, I think the one thing that you’d immediately start to flush out as to why we don’t trust what he’s going to say is that he’s had a drinking problem over his entire career. And so you ask right away, is he drinking?”
It’s not an entirely unfair point, and Cooley added enough conditions and provisos to ensure he won’t be sued. But people like Snyder and CEO Bruce Allen — not to mention McCloughan himself — may not be thrilled with one team employee (Cooley also works on the team’s game broadcasts) speculating openly and publicly that the General Manager of the team, who has a history of alcoholism, is drinking again.
It’s one thing for scouts and coaches from other teams to gossip about the issue (and gossip they are); it’s quite another for a co-worker to muse into an open microphone about something so sensitive and potentially problematic for the franchise.
The situation provides another example of the dangers of team- and league-owned media. Cooley needs to be able to express opinions regarding issues of interest to the franchise. As an employee of the franchise, however, candor can have all sorts of unintended consequences.