[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="380" caption="Why did Michael pump up Vinny?"][/caption]
In case you weren't sure what that sound that you heard early this afternoon was, it was Dan Snyder getting thrown under the bus by his friend George Michael, the former sports anchor for Channel 4 in Washington.
Or was it?
Michael appeared on 106.7 The Fan on Mike Wise's show. You can read a partial transcript here at Dan Steinberg's Sports Bog and there's a link to where the podcast will appear there, too (it wasn't up as of this writing).
You can catch all of the juicy details there, like why Gregg Williams wasn't hired as head coach (he and Snyder hated each other) and why Snyder had such a bad public image (he got off to a poor start and he never recovered). But I find two aspects of this quite interesting.
One is that, according to Michael, Vinny Cerrato isn't the problem. When asked if he thinks that Cerrato is a capable personnel man, Michael said, "Oh, there's no ifs buts or ands. I mean, I know that for a fact, I know that from other people around the league."
Michael said that Cerrato is in charge of the draft while Snyder handles the "big things" like free agency. All of the mistakes get pinned on Vinny, who is "painted as a bozo" and "a zero when it comes to public relations and building relationships."
So, according to George, we have it all wrong. The way most see it Vinny is a bumbling moron and Snyder's main crime is keeping him around. But one would infer from Michael that the Redskins would be better off if Cerrato was given more authority, not his walking papers.
While we let the concept of more Vinny being better than less Vinny sink in, let's move on to try to figure out why Michael gave this interview. He didn't just roll out of bed this morning and drive out to Fairfax to the 106.7 studios and knock on the door and ask if he could come on the radio to air the Redskins' dirty laundry.
There is no reason to think that Michael is mad at Snyder and did this to get back at him for some past slight. The fact that Michael no longer is on the air is not Snyder's fault. Who knows what happened behind the scenes but Michael repeatedly referred to Snyder as his friend throughout the interview.
I find it odd that Michael said something like "I can't believe I'm saying this" at several points during the interview. He doth protest too much. The man is no nave. Wise isn't exactly Mike Wallace when it comes to being an interviewer who can get people to say things that they didn't intend to say.
The one who comes off smelling like a rose in the portion that Steinberg featured was Cerrato. Was Michael sent out by Snyder to prop up Vinny's image? I know that sounds conspiratorial but when you look at what was said, it's not a huge leap to come to that conclusion.
So why trash Snyder in the process? To make it look real. When you look at it there really isn't much new there. Snyder a PR dufus? We've known that from day one. In charge of "big things"? Well, duh. He glares at players after losses? LaVar told us that the other day.
Michael delivers another message for Snyder. "What Dan wants is accountability. He wants accountability." And then he goes on to bash Jim Zorn for not accepting accountability by saying that things were "getting better" after the Lions loss.
I know that Michael's interview is going to be cheered far and wide for telling the "truth" about Snyder and the inner workings of the team. While what he said was most interesting, I have to wonder if it all was an odd PR ploy by the supposed target of the criticism.
EDIT: My friends at Hogs Haven have the podcast of the interview set up; go here to check it out.