12.31.13

High Anxiety During Mike Shanahan’s Final Day At Redskins Park

Posted in Gridiron, Sports Journalism at 12:57 pm by

After a 3-13 season and rumored friction between his employer and franchise QB, there’s nothing surprising about Monday’s dismissal of Washington head coach Mike Shanahan. Even so, the behavior of Daniel Snyder’s staff during Shanahan’s farewell press conference makes the public relations tactics of James Dolan seem entirely reasonable by comparison. Or at least slightly less batshit insane. From the Washington Post’s Kent Babb :

Reporters weren’t allowed to stand in the parking lot between the media building and the team facility after Snyder and Shanahan arrived. The team assigned two public-relations interns to patrol the area, assigning them walkie-talkies and instructions to keep doors and window shades closed. Reporters therefore watched and shot video through uncovered windows and slits between curtain and sill, and when one of the shades came detached from a doorway, a team employee tried to reattach it with several strips of Scotch tape.

As GM Bruce Allen’s press conference was winding down, a television reporter with a history of asking confrontational questions raised his hand and was handed a microphone, at which point communications director Tony Wyllie signaled to end the meeting. The reporter, WUSA-TV’s Dave Owens, waved off the team employee trying to retrieve the microphone; Wyllie then walked over and, after a brief tug of war, pulled the microphone from Owens’s hand.

As Mike Shanahan prepared to leave, his Audi was moved to a curb near a side exit. Security guards patrolled the lot like Secret Service agents, presumably to prevent a reporters’ rush on Shanahan’s car — though, after his news conference, there was little interest in such an advance. As the guards waited, their eyes scanning the mostly empty lot, a team employee said the situation was no longer a PR issue; it was rather a security measure.

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