Former Washington Redskins tight end Chris Cooley apologized to former general manager Scot McCloughan one day after the executive was fired, but vehemently denied he was used as a spokesperson for owner Dan Snyder.
During an ESPN 980 segment in February, Cooley noted that McCloughan had suffered from a drinking problem in the past. The executive indeed battled alcoholism during previous stints with the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks, and an official with direct knowledge of the Redskins situation said his firing was due to alcohol abuse.
Speaking Friday during another ESPN 980 appearance, Cooley denied that Washington’s management had told him to resurface the accusations regarding McCloughan’s battle with alcohol, via Dan Steinberg of The Washington Post:
No one told us to do the (original) segment, told me to do the segment. Can I be more clear on that? We threw out a lot of possible reasons that he could have been silenced. That was one of them. … I used Scot McCloughan’s name and alcohol in the same sentence, and I was wrong. I regret that. I have regretted that. This blew up to be way bigger than I expected it to be, and by the way, it blew up in a report that was in no way shape or form the context that we had suggested. … I’ve apologized to Scot; I feel very sorry that my name’s associated with this. I feel regret that my name’s associated with this. I’ve apologized to the organization.
Some noted that Cooley used to be a team employee, a notion he flatly denied.
I was, from 2004-12, when I played tight end for the Washington Redskins. But after I was cut in camp in 2013, and not brought back, I have not been a team employee since. ESPN 980, this radio station, pays me. They pay me for this radio show. They pay me for the game-day broadcast. I receive all payment through a radio station. In fact, I have a boss named Chris Johnson, who I respond to when I’m sick, when I have vacation days, when I have something going on. I respond to no one at Redskins Park. I do the show every day. They pay me to be an analyst. I am not a team employee in any way shape or form.
Redskins president Bruce Allen released a statement immediately after McCloughan was fired Thursday:
The Washington Redskins have released Scot McCloughan from the organization effective immediately. We wish him success in his future endeavors. The team will have no further comment on his departure. The organization remains confident in our personnel department as we execute our free agency plans as well as prepare for the upcoming NFL draft.
McCloughan’s replacement has not been appointed.
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