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Shanahan calls Mortensen report "totally untrue"

By Dan Steinberg

On Tuesday, Donovan McNabb was asked about the Chris Mortensen report that the Shanahans had to cut their playbook in half for him.

"That is hilarious to me," McNabb said.

Mike Shanahan isn't laughing. When Comcast SportsNet's Kelli Johnson directly asked Shanahan about that Chris Mortensen report, the coach fired back.

"Totally untrue," he said. "I mean, for you even to bring it up is really...I'm just kind of shaking my head. Because it's rumors. Rumors circulate, through all the years. I haven't talked to a lot of people. Because you get relationships with people, 10 or 15 years, and rumors come out of different people. And you just kind of shake your head and you go on."

Not a lot of wiggle room in "totally untrue." If I'm Chris Mortensen, I maybe attempt to defend my report here, because both men you're talking about have directly said it's not true.

For the record, the idea that either Shanahan or his son was behind the Mortensen report has been driving John Feinstein this week, as he wrote in his blog:

Someone whispered to Mort that McNabb couldn't learn the playbook. I don't think it was a player and I don't think it was another assistant--unless he was acting under orders. I believe it was someone named Shanahan. And if it was, Shanahan is a despicable human being and, yes, I think he's using racial coding and yes I think he should be fired....

If the Shanahans were NOT the source--which I don't believe--Mort should have called them to say, 'true or not true?' If they denied it, there's no story. If they 'no commented,' and you HAD to go with the story--ESPN puts ridiculous pressure on these guys to produce alleged 'news,' all the time--you quote Mike Shanahan as saying 'no comment.'

Kelli Johnson also asked Shanahan whether he's been exposed to the onslaught of media commentary on the whole benching topic.

"You get a few, here and there," Shanahan said. "But I was away most of the week and didn't get a chance, for obvious reasons, to listen to that. I didn't think it was in my best interest to listen to that at the time. But you understand what's going to happen when you do make a decision like that."

By Dan Steinberg  | November 12, 2010; 10:38 PM ET
Categories:  Media, Redskins  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Trent Cole: McNabb not difficult to defend
Next: McNabb Benching Story Enters Final Day

Comments

Feinstein has a huge vendetta against the Redskins so really you just have to disregard anything he says because he is so biased. I mean, the dude covers golf for a living, why does his opinion even resonate in other sports that people actually follow? Plus he gives interviews on the radio while driving around causing accidents. The dude is a menace.

Posted by: Parlett316 | November 12, 2010 10:56 PM | Report abuse

The next question in ShannyGate:

Who did Chris Mortensen quote and when did he quote them?

(P.S. Dan. Your newspaper is quite well known for figuring out who's lying and who's telling the truth. Time to get Bob Woodward on the story?)

Posted by: CommonSenseDude | November 12, 2010 11:22 PM | Report abuse

I've been thinking about the Shanahans and their two-minute offense.

- They decided to go for it on fourth and ten with more than three minutes left while down by three.

- They put Rex Grossman in with 1:45 left and when down by six.


Coach Shanny & Son - I am having trouble grasping your offense also. Could it be a cardiovascular issue?

Posted by: CommonSenseDude | November 12, 2010 11:45 PM | Report abuse

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/news/story?id=5795495


Check this out. Rick Reiley rips Feinstein a new one. What an idiot...

Posted by: Wizbullets88 | November 13, 2010 12:07 AM | Report abuse

people like feinstein are the reason racism will never end.im sure the reason shanny benched mcnabb and said he dident know the 2 min off. is cause hes racist!no its because he was awful in the 2 previous drives.for feinstein to claim mcnabb being benched was a racist act is unwarrented and just as igorant as any racist thought.

Posted by: keghauling | November 13, 2010 1:45 AM | Report abuse

Feinstein has gone after Coach John Thompson for years for his 'Hoya Paranoia' tactics...he targets whomever he pleases...racism hardly needs Junior to stay afloat.

Posted by: kahlua87 | November 13, 2010 1:55 AM | Report abuse

Sports Journalists are like politicians. They stir the crap and we all get excited and when the day is done they're having a drink together.

Posted by: richs91 | November 13, 2010 6:25 AM | Report abuse

Fire Feinstein, he's dead wood, the Post needs to get a younger set of sports columnists, preferably male.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | November 13, 2010 7:09 AM | Report abuse

It's laughable that Shanahan should call anyone else a liar -- pot meet kettle?

Posted by: Vic1 | November 13, 2010 7:26 AM | Report abuse

I'd love to see somebody look at bye week reporting. My guess is that's when journalists come up with really odd stories that will carry their pages until game time. The Post opts for McNabb's benching. When McNabb was benched I bet Post writers all let loose a collective sigh of relief, Shannahan had given them a story.

Feinstein's fire Shannahan is nothing more than a signal that the story was loosing strength and couldn't be carried through. So, when in doubt, play the race card.

The bye week, bye bye to facts and real stories, hello to innuendo and gossip.

Posted by: 44fx2901 | November 13, 2010 7:32 AM | Report abuse

Putting Rex in to run the "2 minute drill"
really was a non factor. WHY...BECAUSE THE O LINE WAS LIKE A SIEVE...AND THE DEFENSE WAS ON HIM BEFORE HE COULD EVEN LOOK FOR A RECEIVER. McNabb had the same issues all game...and there is NO REASON TO THINK THE OUTCOME WOULD HAVE BEEN ANY DIFFERENT WITH HIM IN THERE.
As for Shanahan having to cut the play book in half because Donovan could not learn everything..is ABSURD!! Just more rumors
started by that tabloid..ESPN..to create controversy. Anyone ever listen to McNabb speak? He is very intelligent..and would have no problem learning the whole book.

What is disgusting is for anyone in the media to make such an allegation..and not name the source. If you make the statement..back it up with who said it!

Posted by: blazerguy234 | November 13, 2010 8:03 AM | Report abuse

ESPN also quoted anonymous sources when they did last week's story on how much Vikings players don't like Brad Childress. And once again, I believe it was Mortensen who was doing the trashing.

Someone needs to tell those character-assassinating twits at ESPN to stop it. If ESPN's "sources" can't step up to a microphone to air their grievances, then everyone, Mortensen included, should just shut up.

Posted by: loulor | November 13, 2010 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Where is the GM in all of this. Natta! The man is just a figurehead. Snyder still runs the team.

Posted by: boyn4884 | November 13, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Feinstein didn't need to go after Shannahan for racism, there are plenty of other obvious examples throughout the NFL. Just to drag up this oldie but goodie, why are blacks under-represented amongst coaching staff? Whites far outnumber blacks, and in disproportion to their overall representation in the sport. Turn to QB, a position of power and control, again overwhelmingly white, and in disproportion to the total racial make up of the professional sport.

So, while I might agree with those who say the Shannahan story is a beat up, I would argue that the race issue is alive and well in the NFL.

Posted by: 44fx2901 | November 13, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

This seems to me a pathetic story. It seems that the Redskins have been the laughing stock for years, now with the current front office and SOME signs of becoming a respectable organization these stories now come. Let's face it the media is determined to keep the Redskins as a joke until Danny sells the team. Snyder is hated and the media won't let this team be anything more than a joke.

Posted by: rpenman65 | November 13, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

This seems to me a pathetic story. It seems that the Redskins have been the laughing stock for years, now with the current front office and SOME signs of becoming a respectable organization these stories now come. Let's face it the media is determined to keep the Redskins as a joke until Danny sells the team. Snyder is hated and the media won't let this team be anything more than a joke.

Posted by: rpenman65 | November 13, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Chris Mortensen was on the The Rude Awakening morning show here in Atlanta talking about the whole playbook,conditioning,two minute drill, Kyle Shannahan quote situation; now Mortensen cited "sources" that told him that the Shannahan's have been unhappy with McNabb since training camp so somebody is obviously lying, i'll be on the Rude show monday morning(during the 7am hour) to talk about the game and the whole Shanny/McNabb situation.

Posted by: dargregmag | November 13, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Feinstein didn't need to go after Shannahan for racism, there are plenty of other obvious examples throughout the NFL. Just to drag up this oldie but goodie, why are blacks under-represented amongst coaching staff? Whites far outnumber blacks, and in disproportion to their overall representation in the sport. Turn to QB, a position of power and control, again overwhelmingly white, and in disproportion to the total racial make up of the professional sport.

So, while I might agree with those who say the Shannahan story is a beat up, I would argue that the race issue is alive and well in the NFL.

Posted by: 44fx2901 November 13, 2010 7:32 AM | Report abuse

It's amazing people this unintelligent are able to still operate a computer. There is no direct correlation between the skills required to be a professional athlete and the skills required to be a professional coach. And that's where you premise is way, way, way off.

The number of black players is irrelevant in proportion to the number of black coaches. Blacks are disproportionately better athletes in pro football largely because they are disproportionately faster. However, speed doesn't help you become a good coach. Brains and motivational skill do, that's why you see a percentage of black head coaches which are more proportional to the demographics of our country than to the demographics of the athletes themselves.

This isn't rocket science.

Posted by: Barno1 | November 13, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Feinstein is the one who should be fired. Mike Wise writing that the benching might pick at old racial wounds is cheap, lazy journalism but flat out calling Shannahan a racist without any objective basis for doing is ample reason for the Post to cut ties with Feinstein. He's been a loose cannon for a few years now.

Posted by: feeney | November 13, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Feeney, at most papers Feinstein would already have been fired by now. The Post will never do it, but they ought to. What he has done is most certainly a fireable offense. You shouldn't be able to publicly accuse someone of racism when there is no basis whatsoever and expect to keep your job.

Fire Feinstein

Posted by: Barno1 | November 13, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Barno1 | November 13, 2010 12:06 PM |

you should be fired from posting on the board

Posted by: hessone | November 13, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Barno1, you're white, I mean write, I mean right to say that speed doesn't make you a better coach, but I is not so intellijnt az you.

Posted by: 44fx2901 | November 13, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Who is this John Feinstein and what qualifications does he have to be commenting on our football team? He seems to have an axe to grind with the Redskins. Mike Shanihan has done wonders in the short time that he has been here with not a lot to work with. He holds players accountable, and he gets good results. FIRE FEINSTEIN!!!

Posted by: VegasJim | November 13, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and by the way Barno1, you might want to look up selection bias. Football players, by your own admission, are not representative of the US population as a whole. Why would one expect football coaches to be representative of the US population and not coaches? Rather, I would expect those who manage in football to be drawn largely from ex-players who have expertise in playing. Surely, you are not going to argue that football coaches be drawn from some other pool of prospective employees.

Posted by: 44fx2901 | November 13, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Used to be that sports reporters had only to post the score, who did what, etc. Many were dependent upon the teams & leagues they covered to provide them everything--meals, goodies, travel sometimes...and "inside information". They became toadies, pets of the sport, "beloved" by the fan base and even sometimes--because they didn't have to concentrate on other "reporting" aspects--good writers. Beyond that though, gossip mongers rather than "reporters"--although writing something they heard without checking it out was, and remains, a staple. Rarely do sports reporters know anything about sports law, the business of sports, sports psychology, etc, etc. And, as the print media keeps receding, don't expect any new wave of younger, challenging types. The current prototype: Mike Florio who'll also throw onto his blog anything and everything he can curry from as many outside sources as plausible. Hey, it's like baseball: if these guys are "right" 30% of the time, they're way ahead of the curve.

Posted by: iliwai34 | November 13, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

You can always tell when a member of the Deadskins management team is lying. Their lips are moving!

Posted by: cbtole2 | November 13, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Dan you're turniing into nothing but a gossip queen. I'm frankly sick of your coverage. It's petty and does not benefit the team or fans in any way. Report something positive, or put a positive spin on a potentialy nagative story. Life is more enjoyable that way...you're better than that. Let this go, please. I like to read good stories in the post. If I want gossip, I'll go to tmz. And quit turning coaches against players, I only care about wins and losses!

Posted by: gogolpost | November 13, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Because Junior Feinstein went to Duke. And as any good Duke alum will tell you "We are never wrong". In this instance I find Feinstein's comments interesting and appropriate. I wonder why no one from the Shanahan camp has called Junior or Mortensen a liar? Better yet, Feinstein is on the same espn radio station every week, owned by the head Redskin, that employs John Thompson, Doc Walker, Zaban, Sheehan, Tony Kornheiser, Shanahan , et al. Why didn't one of these homer$ ask Shanahan and Chris Mortsen directly who was telling a lie? Geez, the things people will do for money....

Posted by: matrixcl55 | November 13, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Because Junior Feinstein went to Duke. And as any good Duke alum will tell you "We are never wrong." In this instance I find Feinstein's comments interesting and appropriate. I wonder why no one from the Shanahan camp has called Feinstein or or Mortensen a liar? Better yet, Feinstein is on the same espn radio station every week, owned by the head Redskin, that employs John Thompson, Doc Walker, Andy Polin, Steve Zaban, Kevin Sheehan, Tony Kornheiser, Shanahan , et al. Why didn't one of these homer$ ask Shanahan and Chris Mortsen directly who was telling a lie or where Mort got his infamous quote? Geez, the things people will stoop to for a dollar....

Posted by: matrixcl55 | November 13, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and by the way Barno1, you might want to look up selection bias. Football players, by your own admission, are not representative of the US population as a whole. Why would one expect football coaches to be representative of the US population and not coaches? Rather, I would expect those who manage in football to be drawn largely from ex-players who have expertise in playing. Surely, you are not going to argue that football coaches be drawn from some other pool of prospective employees.

Posted by: 44fx2901 | November 13, 2010 12:39 PM

Ex-players, yes. Ex-NFL players, no. Joe Gibbs, you may have heard of him. Hall of Fame coach. Never played in the NFL. Coaching comes from the selective pool of former players. This includes former NFL players, former college players, and yes, former high school players.

Many college coaches go on to be NFL coaches, but you can't become a college coach without a college degree. Black males make up less than 3% of Americans with at least a bachelor degree. This makes the pool of possible black candidates for college head coaches relatively tiny compared to white candidates. This has nothing to do with racism on the part of teams.

Posted by: Barno1 | November 13, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

I believe that this phenomenon is known as "projecting". Most likely, Feinstein has his own doubts about McNabb but is uncomfortable with the psychological implications of those doubts, i.e. they suggest racial stereotyping on his part. Accusing the Shanahan's of his (Feinsteins's) own personal failing enables him to feel superior; the louder and more public the accusation, the more Feinstein feels absolved of guilt.

Posted by: trebor0012 | November 13, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

I believe that this phenomenon is known as "projecting". Most likely, Feinstein has his own doubts about McNabb but is uncomfortable with the psychological implications of those doubts, i.e. they suggest racial stereotyping on his part. Accusing the Shanahan's of his (Feinsteins's) own personal failing enables him to feel superior; the louder and more public the accusation, the more Feinstein feels absolved of guilt.

Posted by: trebor0012 | November 13, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

In a perverse way Barno1 the dearth of blacks with at least bachelor's degree should make black males in higher demand as coaches, given their supply. Still, however, your argument is a total non-starter. Yes, I've heard of Joe Gibbs, thanks, but hardly the point. No all coaches had college careers; not all college coaches have college degrees though that less likely at upper division universities; you still haven't taken on the other issue about black quarterbacks. Then again, you just don't want race to be an issue and desperately try to distract from the fact that race continues to be an issue in the NFL. Wise's much despised article makes that point all too clear.

Posted by: 44fx2901 | November 13, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

"not all college coaches have college degrees"

You cannot coach in Division 1 without a degree. That is a fact. This nonsense that it's only at elite schools is just that: nonsense. The fact is very few black men have college degrees and this makes the pool of eligible black coaching candidates tiny. What further proof do you want that blacks are not being discriminated against in the coaching ranks? Do you want to believe, despite no evidence to suggest so, that there are all these black men with degrees who can't crack into coaching? Do you want race to be an issue so badly and desperately that you'll ignore all the facts that suggest the real issue is the size of the pool of applicants, not the employers hiring the applicants?

Posted by: Barno1 | November 13, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

You want to see real racism in Football, lets talk about the lack of Hispanics and Asians in the NFL.

BTW, most players who go into coaching don't become much more than a position coach. If we wanted to really study that issue, we would have to look at position coaching as well. For example, if you look at the Redskins staff its 7 African Americans, 14 white dudes (with far too many with tard spiked hair).

And to the line of thought that we won't end racism until we get rid of the oversensitive PC types of the Regan generation. I agree with you. But we also have to get rid of the racists. /sarcasm

Posted by: alex35332 | November 13, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

>>Shanahan calls Mortensen report "totally untrue"

This is from a guy who knows a thing or 2 about lying.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | November 13, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Let it go people! Move on with your lives for gosh sakes! Let's focus on the GAME - the FOOTBALL game. At least no one is talking playoffs. The fact is Shanahan is coach until Snyder says different, and McNabb will be here or not next year - all Donovan's choice. So McNabb wants to lay well, Shanny wants to win, and we want our team to win. So quit the carping and get behind your team. It's all good. Donovan has earned a bunch of fans here he didn't have before, including me. For me, school's out on Shanahan at least until John Riggins dusts off his Col. Kurtz material from the Marty year.

Posted by: bfjam | November 13, 2010 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Are we still talking about this?

Posted by: tristesse27 | November 13, 2010 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone seen Bruce Allen. I think he is distancing himself from all this mess. He is saying to himself what have i got myself into with this nut Shanahan

Posted by: stephenwilson2003@yahoo.com | November 13, 2010 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Feinstein,Wilbon,Korny ...your flight is ready.

Posted by: ridgely1 | November 13, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Feinstein is losing credibility by the day. He thinks he is the story these days. Another reporter/blowhard who got too big for his britches. Go ask Karl Dorrell and Rick Smith if they think Shannahan is a racist.

Posted by: sjp879 | November 13, 2010 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Well this means Chris Mortensen's job is in jeopardy, not that of Shanahan's. Did he made up that story. No not inspired by Mike Wise but Chris might have had his "reliable source" which he is not compelled to reveal.Hence his job is secure. And all Shanahan's have to do is to blink rapidly to any questions asked to prove their innocence. I would love to see what was the body language of junior and senior Shanahan/s when he/they vehemently denied the allegation. I would also love to see both Shanahan's in the same room with Chris Mortensen. And to top it off, one can always put John Feinstein in the same room as well. That would resemble "SAW IX: The new beginning"...well sort of...

Posted by: KarK | November 14, 2010 12:41 AM | Report abuse

Did anyone else just hear the blatant racial coding by Troy Aikman? "If Donovan McNabb is watching, you CAN have a tie in the NFL" -Troy Aikman

I am so sick of racists like Aikman using code words like "tie" to say McNabb is a dumb black guy.

Posted by: Barno1 | November 14, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

McNabb was dumb for not knowing you can have a tie. Any 3rd grader who owns a copy of Madden knows that.

Posted by: alex35332 | November 14, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

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