A fairly small national story has nevertheless become huge news in Washington, with the Christmas week departure of several key business-side employees, including recently-arrived COO Brian Lafemina.
As explained by Thom Loverro of the Washington Times, the firing of Lafemina and three other executives came in the aftermath of complaints registered by Lafemina over last month’s controversial acquisition of linebacker Reuben Foster. The move, reportedly masterminded by team president Bruce Allen, triggered an avalanche of criticism, and Lafemina reportedly communicated to Allen and owner Daniel Snyder concerns that had been communicated by corporate ticketholders. It became, per Loverro, the “tipping point” in a relationship that was otherwise doomed from its inception.
It’s not a surprise, given the clear and obvious influence Allen possesses over Snyder. The hiring of Lafemina led to speculation that Allen could finally be in trouble, and it’s entirely possible that Allen immediately hatched and mobilized a plan to rid himself of this threat to his authority and position.
Allen’s skills as a football executive have consistently resided in a vat of ambiguity; his abilities as a politician are unquestioned. Allen plays to an audience of one, and he plays it well enough to continue to hold his position even as everything about the team crumbles. No playoffs since a one-and-out in 2015, dramatically reduced attendance (Lafemina’s biggest accomplishment may have been ending the chronic lie about a season-ticket waiting list), and a growing sense of apathy in D.C. and irrelevance beyond.
So Allen has now managed to fend off perceived or actual threats in the form of Scot McCloughan and Brian Lafemina. It’s currently believed that Allen will remain in place for at least another year and, as a practical matter, for as long as he can maintain whatever spell he has spun on the one man in D.C. with the power to send Allen packing.