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Redskins coach Jim Zorn's reward for failure

As expected, Redskins Coach Jim Zorn was fired today. Much of the media coverage is a look-back assessment of his disastrous tenure and look-ahead speculation about his successor. Almost as an afterthought comes the report that Zorn gets to walk away with roughly $2.4 million. The fact stops me in my tracks. Not because I’m a big football fan, but because it makes me wonder about a country that thinks so little about rewarding failure.

And there can be no mistaking the fact that Zorn is a man who failed miserably in his job. Indeed, as Post columnist Michael Wilbon observed, there were signs from the start that Zorn was in over his head. Hence, the bad decisions, silly plays and lost games. The numbers tell the story: an overall record of 12-20, highlighted by the team’s 4-12 finish this season, the worst in 15 years.

I recognize that Zorn had a legally binding contract that was broken with his firing. I also know that many people think Zorn is due the money because of the public humiliation he endured, or because Redskins owner Daniel Snyder is a jerk who should be made to pay, or because it wasn't all his fault. I'll concede all those points (particularly about Snyder) but I also don’t know how Zorn can feel right about getting millions of dollars when he failed to produce the desired results for his organization. Does he really think he has earned that $2.4 million?

Of course, it’s not just sports. It's similarly outrageous that Wall Street bankers and Fannie and Freddie executives are awarded big bonuses for their bad bets. Perhaps one of the reasons for this country’s troubles is that there’s no incentive to produce results. And that’s something everyone should be booing.

By Jo-Ann Armao  | January 4, 2010; 1:46 PM ET
Categories:  Armao  | Tags:  Jo-Ann Armao  
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It was clear when he was hired that he would fail, his career path (same job interview for promotion to OC and then upgrade to HC) is basically not followed.

He deserves his market-rate reward for failure, I think your gripe is more with the reward for taking the position at all and that is a question to be asked, for sure. But hey he failed less *and* got rewarded less than a lot of Wall Streeters.

Posted by: HardyW | January 4, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Hesitate before writing about which you don't know. When Zorn was hired *everyone* knew he was a rookie coach who would need three years to put things together. The front office did not give him the support or players (see their offensive-line) necessary for him to develop, and they also denied him the third year. Zorn's growing pains were not signs of "failure," they were signs of a rookie coach growing into his own. It's not his fault that Dan Snyder fired him early. In fact, Zorn would prefer to be working that third year.

In short, ownership did not give Zorn a chance to succeed. The issue is faulty ownership and management, not 'reward for failure.'

Posted by: SkinsFaninCanada | January 4, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

No, Jo-Ann, it's our society in general. Nobody is made to own up to their mistakes; it is always someone else's fault. But the higher up you get in the food chain, the more people seem to be rewarded for doing bad things. For Zorn, this was "thanks for trying but just go away" money.

Posted by: cheez | January 4, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

A contract is a contract. If Zorn was not worth the money, Snyder shouldn't ( and wouldn't) have offered it. What is it with so many people today who seem to think they have some authority to decide that someone is or is not 'worth' what they are paid? Zorn was worth every cent. How do I know? Because that is what the contract was written for! He didn't 'steal' it or somehow con Snyder out of it, Snyder offered, and he accepted. Get over it! Maybe YOU are paid too much? If the editors see this article, and decide it is not up to snuff, should Ms. Amaro have to pay back her salary? Lets discuss that! Does she really think she has 'earned' her salary?

Posted by: PHenry2 | January 4, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

And so after being hired by the Post for contract guaranteed, big money to do a job that you thought you were qualified for and it turns out that you are not qualified for and your employer has cut off most routes to success and then attempted to humiliate you into quitting so they would not owe you the contract guaranteed money - then you would take the high-road and quit for the good of the company and for your own moral well being - knowing that the public stigma from this episode will make it difficult to get a new job anytime soon?

I am sure that those who depend on your earnings for food and shelter would appreciate your high moral standing when they are hungry and cold!

Posted by: dotto | January 4, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

since the free market determined everything that was in the contract, so I'm ok with it. A fool and his money will soon be parted ...

Posted by: shanks1 | January 4, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

I don't claim to be a football expert and don't know how some people are chosen to be a coach and others are not. But what is strange to me is that some people are interviewed over and over again and when they're finally hired they are winners - Tony Dungy - yet others get hired - Jim Zorn - and people are left to wonder why.

Posted by: rlj1 | January 4, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse


Rule number one for being a successful writer; write about topics that you understand.

If Zorn could give back the money in exchange for the 2 years of he__ that he has endured, I am sure he would.

2.4 mil is bird droppings compared to what a certain over priced defensive tackle is getting.

Posted by: boomer5 | January 4, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Is this even a thought?? Dan Snyder makes multiples of this every year as the Redskins get worse and worse, and you're worried about a poor schmuck coach who never had a chance keeping a relatively tiny fraction of that?? The rewards for failure for Mr. Snyder are potentially in the BILLIONS. Think about that for a moment (or think about the nearly one billion dollars in tax money that DC handed over to the Lerner family for the worst team in baseball). If you're so fired up about rewarding failure at least pick someone who's really gorging at the trough

Posted by: dmor | January 4, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Its obvious that you have no idea of which you speak. if you have followed the Head Coaching saga of the Snyder ownership, then you'll believe that paying Zorn and allowing him go on to something better for him and his family is the right thing to do. Zorn was a stop gap coach. The coaches that Synder wanted two years ago were either under contract to various networks, or were not interested in coming to work for him. Zorn wanted the Offensive Coordinator position. it was Snyder and Cerrato who decided to throw him to the wolves. Zorn was attempting to follow a well worn path; position coach, to OC, and if succesful, try to get interviewed for a head guy job. Snyder's first mistake; he makes a bunch of them with regards to NFL football; was deciding to hire an OC prior to getting a new Head Coach. No,, Snyder and Cerrato continued to screw up management of the team. Therefore, heck yeah; pay the price. The situation was never a good one for Zorn as a head Coach.

Posted by: sportfishingman | January 4, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

The entire team is being paid millions to fail.

But should people who work for newspapers still receive decent salaries even though readership is down drastically? Should you only be paid for this column per click?

What's the point of this article? The man had a contract. If you negotiate a contract that requires you to pay for failure, you're the dummy, not the person who walks away with millions.

Posted by: loved1 | January 4, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

And how much "undeserved" income are you taking home each week for writing about things that you are clueless about?

The man was offered a high paying job, which, regardless of his record (some of which is Old Danny Boys fault), the man gave it all he had. Don't criticize him for Old Danny Boys mistake in hiring an unqualified coach.

I tell you what, you give back some money that you are paid for writing about things that you know nothing about, and get Old Danny Boy to give the fans back some of the money that he has raped from us, and then we can talk about Zorn’s pay O.K.?

At least he has some class.

Posted by: danny_let-my-people-go | January 4, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure when you write a crap column you give back that days wages. If not you should start with today.

Posted by: CHICO13 | January 4, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Chico 13 gave me a laugh but like others have stated or alluded to, the difference between Wall Street and Zorn/Snyder is that one was a legally binding contract where bonuses on Wall Street are just that, a bonus. At least Zorn wasn't given his contractual salary and then given an additional bonus for failing such as Wall Streeters.

Posted by: jrussell1 | January 4, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

"I also don’t know how Zorn can feel right about getting millions of dollars when he failed to produce the desired results for his organization. Does he really think he has earned that $2.4 million?" With due respect, this is one of the most inane and cluless opinion pieces I've seen in a reputable paper, much less the Post. Zorn may have been in over his head, but at least he tried hard, treated people with respect, and did everything he could to fulfil his end of the contract. Ms. Armao, clearly you are not a football writer or fan, so you may not realize that for every win there's a loss, and not every coach can produce "the desired results" every year - do you suggest that any coach whose team finishes below .500 in a season give back his salary? What a bunch of liberal whiney-babble.

Posted by: mnm9897 | January 4, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

jrussell1, you misunderstand what most wall street bonuses are. They ARE contractual, and they are usually based upon some performance measure. Its not like somebody just hands out millions for the heck of it. Those 'bonuses' were owed to the people who got them for meeting contractual obligations. Kind of like a performance bonus in the NFL.

Posted by: PHenry2 | January 4, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

So in effect you're saying that a contract is a contract... unless it is deemed objectionable. OK objectionable by whom? This was an agreement negotiated fairly and agreed upon by both sides, and even though Zorn may not have won many games, he did live up to the terms of the contract.
It's a lot like saying I went to a movie, sat thru the whole thing, then once it was over I found parts of it to be not as funny as I thought it would be....therefore you HAVE to give me my money back! Absurd on so many levels!

Posted by: PeterPamZ | January 4, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Jim Zorn found himself mired in an organization, on the field and off the field, that would have made it impossible for ANY coach to succeed. He deserves his money for simply trying to put up with them all.
Jim Zorn is an entirely decent human being, as anyone who has ever known him will tell you, who has endured a "scapegoating" situation with honor and dignity.
Of course, if what the Redskins are looking for is a guy who will infiltrate other teams' practices with hidden cameras, they really had the wrong guy.
It is to Zorn's credit that he was fired. He doesn't fit in with thugs and those who are willing to do ANYTHING to win. He's just too honorable.

Posted by: cms1 | January 4, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Jo-Ann, one could easily look at the $2.4 million as Daniel Snyder's incentive to do a better job hiring a coach next time. Or an incentive to become better at structuring contracts.

Since when haven't there been incentives to produce results? Contracts, especially in sports, are laden with incentive clauses (home runs hit in a year, Bowl appearances, etc...). You look pretty silly claiming these don't exist all throughout the free market system. If you'd thought at all before writing your piece, you would have realized that you should be griping about the lack of disincentives for failure, which is a problem throughout society.

Posted by: bubbrubbhoya | January 4, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Roamer1 | January 4, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Everyone Snyder has hired has been fired, with the exception of Gibbs who bailed early (didn't he keep his money too?).
So it's no big deal...
What's that fella's name who's coaching San Diego? Yeah. He was here...
There have been plenty of folks who have been so-so here who have gone on to do better things with other teams: what's that kicker's name? Shawn Somebody-or-another - now THAT'S a guy who ought to give his salary back to Snyder out of gratitude - he's gonna play in the play-offs! Wouldn't have happened here.

Posted by: dschalton | January 4, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

In addition to repeating mnm9897's question of whether every coach (and player for that matter) should return their salaries for losing seasons (professional sports would be out of business within weeks), I'd also like to raise the issue that Zorn was being paid essentially to entertain us. He was creating a tangible product that was consumed. Whether that product is enjoyable or not is irrelevant. That product made a LOT of money for Snyder, and in turn, some of that money trickled down to Zorn. The Redskins may have been embarrassingly bad this season, but they were still profitable, and they didn't cause the near collapse of the world economy. I say pay Zorn what he is owed. It's the very least Snyder owes him.

Posted by: prgeyer | January 4, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

The analogy the author attempts to draw in this piece is weak for several reasons.

First, that money was not awarded to Zorn as a "bonus"; it was base pay, and at $2.4 million, it's pretty much the standard rate for an NFL head coach (you wanna gripe about salaries, try picking on the players first). The bonus money that the Wall Street executives received, on the other hand, was well above -- and grotesquely beyond -- the nominal compensation they were contractually obligated to receive. I don't know whether Zorn's contract had any incentive clauses included within it, but one can rest assured that Snyder paid him absolutely nothing even if it did. I understand that even $2.4 million is a lot of money, but what Zorn received does not even remotely compare with Wall Street's excesses.

Second, Jim Zorn's failure as a coach did not in any way contribute to the destruction of the financial system of the United States or any other national institution. As disheartening as it is to see the Redskins go down the tubes, no elderly widows lost her life savings, and the only people in danger of losing their jobs are the players at Redskin's park (but I'm quite sure they'll be okay). It is after all, just a game. Obviously, the same is not true of what happens on Wall Street.

And finally, despite his failure as a coach, I'm sure most would agree that Jim Zorn is an upstanding man of good character. He may not be a good -- or even competent -- playcaller, but he would never involve himself in the kind of moral terpitude that seems to require the sleazeballs on Wall Street to suck dry their employees, shareholders, widows, orphans, and even the American taxpayer.

No, a far better analogy would be between Daniel Snyder and the Wall Street sleaze. Those are his kind of people.

Posted by: Gladiator2008 | January 4, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

This column is a piece of junk....

The United Auto Workers' Union had a "Job Bank" where laid off employees would come, sit and read books AND COLLECT A PAYCHECK.

This is one reason why US tax payers had to bail out General Motors.

Forget Snyder and Zorn. This issue gets much deeper than pro sports and Wall Street.

Funny I hadn't see a column in the State Run Media about Job Banks and the UAW.

Posted by: ravioliman6666 | January 4, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

The key difference is that bank pay packages have potentially negative social consequences in that they encourage bank executives to load up on risk, and the public ultimately bears part of the cost if the risk does not pan out because finance is a necessary national function. By contrast, the Redskins are a private member of a 32 team cartel where there is no negative social consequence to paying their employees a heap of money. In exchange for assuming the duties of head coach, Zorn was promised a three year guaranteed deal. If Zorn and Snyder had wished to craft a more incentives-laden contract, they could have, but they chose not to. Given this, your analogy fails.

Posted by: Dellis2 | January 4, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

This is all you could find to write about today? A deal is a deal. Both Snyder and Zorn understood the risk associated with this contract going in. Moreover, Zorn's boss, Mr. Snyder, did not put him in a position to be very successful. This is the same team that selected a punter in the second round of the draft. Maybe you should have done a story on that!

Posted by: HeloShark | January 4, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Hey I can't hate on Zorn or anyone else who gets a golden parachute. The folks who negotiate these deals w/o penalties for subpar performance are the culprits. Joe Smoe gets canned and is eligible for un-employment payments providing the company didn't fire him for cause. They can nickel and dime the peons but the company chiefs are making out like bandits. And is it any wonder that this is the case since the regulators of such deals (compensation committees, HR excecutives, etc) all benefit these sweet deals when they get canned.

Posted by: snake_taylor | January 4, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the previous post by snake_taylor. How many times have we seen Executives who are failures and who make bad decisions still get golden parachutes, or worse yet, still manage to stay in charge. The peons are the only ones who are accountable and get fired. Executives push accountability down, fail to provide a vision or strategic insight and when they screw up fire people underneath them. At least in the NFL they have the guts to fire people at the executive level of organizations, with the millions they make I don't think we should shed a tear for them.

Posted by: mksk1 | January 4, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

hiring Mike Shannahan will fix things,
just as long as he brings the top QB in the league with him.

Mike had a pretty good record when John Elway was on the team. Not so much after Elway left.

Posted by: BrianX9 | January 4, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

So you think Snyder is a jerk? Have you ever met him?

I think the author has vaganosis, and the stink of it has rubbed off onto this opinion piece.

Posted by: BO__Stinks | January 4, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

This woman obviously knows nothing about football or Wall Street.

Posted by: sold2u | January 4, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

This was a disappointing article. The author misses several points about Coach Zorn.

First, Zorn was hired to do a job for 3 years. That's pretty standard stuff in this industry. If the Redskins had turned out to have found the "greatest coach of all time!", then Zorn would still have only been entitled to $2.4MM for next year. As seemingly poor as many of Dan Snyder's decisions have been, I doubt he picked Zorn as the head coach EXPECTING Zorn to fail. So, it's a bet gone bad on a coach.

Second, it's certainly NOT a freebie give-away. This is in no way similar to paying bankers massive cash bonuses when they just blew up the company (and were bailed out by taxpayers). The suggestion that the two are comparable is terribly misinformed and smacks of incitement. Snyder picked a coach who honored his contract, even after Zorn was made to look impotent by having play-calling responsibilities taken away. Remember, the Redskins may be a poor shade of the 1980's teams ON the field. But, off the field, the Redskins are a massive money machine, not a failing company.

Third, "there are no incentives to produce results" is just ignorant. The coach dedicates his life to this job. It's not a 9-to-5, show-up-late type of job. This job is an all-consuming position that probably took over EVERY aspect of Zorn's life. My bet is the man can't go to 7-Eleven to get a cup of coffee without being inundated with suggestions on how often to run the football. He'd probably give $1MM back just to have some privacy. $2.4MM is nothing for an 80 hour a week job that carries a higher profile than all but one other position in Washington. Give the man some credit - the job is harder than it looks, and I seriously doubt the author of this article could do half as well as Zorn.

Don't get me wrong - he deserved to be fired. He doesn't deserve to be ridiculed.

Posted by: Practicewhatupreach | January 4, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

The "country" didn't reward Jim Zorn. One person did: the owner, Dan Snyder. If Snyder wants to spend money on Zorn or, for that matter, even on the tooth fairy, what business is that of yours?

The "country" is no worse off for anything Zorn gets. The "country" doesn't care whether Zorn gets it and spends it, or whether Dan Snyder keeps it and spends it. It's not as if the money disappears.

Posted by: rowerinva | January 4, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

What these liberals don't get is that unlike the types who are offended at the big compensation packages, lost is the struggle that each executive has to make to get to where they are. It is a ton of hard work, in most cases top business schools, and slaving on the job for years to aspire senior management. They deserve the millions, if thats what the labor market pays. If you are so offended, you should have thought twice about skipping school, doing dope and underachieving at a community college. God bless America and Capitalism.

Posted by: Political_Stratgst | January 4, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

In reading this article, it has become apparent to me that this writer is unaware of the atmosphere, circumstances and background under which Jim was hired. He was brought to Washington to become the offensive coordinator. The entire coaching staff, with the exception of a couple of positions, was already hired and in place. I think this was the first time in professional football history that the last position to be filled was the head coach. The owner wanted total control of the team. Dan Snyder, in fact,
out-Marshalled George Preston Marshall in his control of the team. I don't Zorn in the least for the team's failure the last couple of years. He should have been given better given more support by the higher ups, but instead had to endure Snyder's constant interference with all of the football operations. In the hiring process, there was not one established football coach in his right mind that would accept the job under the conditions that Snyder and Cerrato demanded. I would suggest that this writer do her homework before "booing" the money that Zorn walked away with. He derverves every penny and he will need every penny to re-establish himself in the NFL! I am a native Washingtonian (DC)who relocated to Seattle and still am a devoted 'Skins fan to this day. I am also a Seahawk fan and am very familiar with Jim Zorn. I don't think he is head coach material, tho. I do, however, feel that he is very good at being an assistant, and he probably rose to his level of incompetence, not to be disrespectful. With that being said, he was not given a full unbridled opportunity to prove that he could be a head coach. After the debacle in DC, he probably will never know. I wish Jim well and hope he will be hired by another NFL franchise. He deserves that much after what the Snyder-Cerrato regime has done to him.

Posted by: rontutt | January 4, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Please. Instead of begrudging Zorn the money his contract owes him, it's Daniel Snyder, who has run the team aground, who ought to have his share of the NFL's yearly profit sharing withheld for his contemptible mismanagement. He's ruined Zorn's career- the man is radioactive and will be need at least a year out of football to before he's hirable at any respectable level. He may never recover, and he handled the situation with class. He's also sunk the Redskins deep into a talent hole.

PS- Here's one huge difference between Wall Street executives and Jim Zorn- Zorn didn't contribute to a financial mess that has cost investors and tax mega-billions. The Redskins will make almost the same money at 4-12 they would have 9-7 or 10-6 because the NFL's economy is almost pure socialism internally while operating very, very well in an capitalist economy- a neat trick.

Posted by: cyberdyne | January 4, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

"Perhaps one of the reasons for this country’s troubles is that there’s no incentive to produce results. And that’s something everyone should be booing."

Yeah. But since most people consider themselves secret failures it's good for them to have a not so secret failure get more than his or her due.

AND - how is it a struggle to consistently make bad choices and continue to be promoted to even the head job? Dunno. Must be a conservative thing.

Posted by: therev1 | January 4, 2010 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Snyder negotiated a three year deal with his eyes open. He gambled that if Zorn turned out to be good, he wanted him under contract for three years, not, say, two. Everyone who does this knows that they will owe the balance of the contract if they find out they hired the wrong person or they find someone so much better they want to breach the contract anyway. There's nothing to see here, folks.

Posted by: JoeT1 | January 4, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Well like all the other Coaches that were under Dan Snyder..

They will make great Coaches elsewhere.

Where they have adult management support.
That do not sue ticket holders.
Remove Comfortable Seats.
Create Blind Spots to have more seats.
An owner that is not wimpy.
An owner who understands and enjoys the game.

That is why I am now a DC United Fan..
and still a Washington Senator fan..
..when ever they come back to WDC.


Posted by: Issa1 | January 4, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Stick to the other topics you cover lady. You have no idea about how Zorn and Campbell
were undermined at every turn, by an oewner who thinks you don't need offensive line depth, by players eho let themselves be blocked into the kick returner, or intercept and then let themselves be stgripped of their loaf of bread for a touchdown, and field goal kickers who blow extra point field goals, and as the final fiasco = drop a sure interception that hitsa them in the chest. It's a wonder Zorn didn't commit suicide this year - he EARNED his contract money. I suggest the POST do a survey asking if Snyder is the NFL's worst owner. They can count on my vote yes.

Posted by: bert5 | January 4, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Im just stunned The WAPO hires jokers like you to "blog" the most vapid of comments. Oh, wait, they need page hits to sell to advertisers.

When does this joke operation shut down for good?

Posted by: zap123 | January 4, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse

The problem with a strictly "pay-for-performance" compensation model is supply and demand. If you have no depth in your offensive line and there are only a few quality veteran linemen available in free agency, you pay them what they want, or you suffer another embarrassing season. If however, you have a plethora of running backs and want to pick up a new one, you determine what you want to pay and any prospective RB can like it or lump it. NFL contracts do contain performance clauses but ultimately, a free market determines compensation, not the media's opinion.

Posted by: BeowulfthePolitician | January 4, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Jo-Ann -- stop wasting space in the paper with your less than sensible commentary. Do you realize how much money Daniel Synder has? I would agree with you if it were about college coaches walking away with millions, but this is professional sports! Walking away with millions is how it works in the sports industry! Get a life! Please!

Posted by: friendlyeagle | January 4, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

This piece is an embarrassment. It's poorly written and reflects a shameful ignorance of it's subject matter. You don't have to be a "fan" to have a clue.

Posted by: orientyourself | January 4, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Jim Zorn is not being rewarded for failure. I don't think you TRULY recognize or UNDERSTAND that Jim Zorn had a legally binding contract. Jim Zorn was willing to honor his contract, which was to be the head coach of the Washington Redskins. The Redskins were not willing to honor their contract to have him as the head coach of the Washington Redskins. Jim Zorn is not being rewarded for failure. The Redskins are being penalized for not honoring their contract.

Posted by: Turbo84 | January 4, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

wow, just wow. why do people hate so hard on jim zorn?

Posted by: BMACattack | January 4, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Stop taking shots at Zorn. Zorn had to work in a dysfunctional organization. Look at the parade of coaches in and out of Redskins organization. This is the price Snyder pays for being a failure. If you had a binding contract would you quit? Probably not.

Posted by: FredKnowsBest | January 4, 2010 8:43 PM | Report abuse


As soon as the US taxpayer bails out the Washington Redskins because of Jim Zorn's contract, then you can complain about his salary. If you are a season ticket holder, which I highly doubt based on the obvious lack of football acumen displayed in this column, you might - might - have more reason to complain. As it is, Zorn had a legally-binding contract, the terms of which he was perfectly willing to fulfill. Snyder opted not to. To suggest Zorn has no class because he will accept the remainder of the money owed him is both unfair and disingenuous. Are you honestly saying that if you were owed $2.4 million you'd turn it down because you didn't believe you earned it? I highly doubt it.

Of course, you're also the same woman who called Tiger Woods a coward and offered other unsavory opinions about him. It's obvious you know nothing about athletes or about what it's like to have members of the opposite sex throw themselves at you at every turn.

I think this all comes down to the fact that you realize that never in your life will anyone offer you $2.4 a year to do anything.

Posted by: SupportAndDefendTheConstitution | January 4, 2010 8:47 PM | Report abuse

The author of this column should immediately be terminated. Her incredible display of incompetence is far reaching and infecting the reputation of the Washington Post. Her complete lack of understanding about contracts and her envy of people that make more money than she does is obvious. Please do not allow this woman to write anything for the Post again. In fact, an apology should be made for allowing such drivel.

Posted by: Callaboo | January 4, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised to see something this lame written by a Washington Post employee and published on its web site.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | January 4, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised that Rhee-defender JoAnn didn't drag teachers into this scribbling.

Posted by: edlharris | January 4, 2010 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Comparing Zorn's $2.4Million from the cash-rich Redskins to Wall Street bailouts from cash-strapped taxpayers doesn't make your writing more credible or dramatic, it just makes your intellect more callous and less credible. I rarely waste time commenting on garbage writing, but like the brutal accident on 495 that I just can't take my eyes away from, I can't help myself. I hope your editor makes you sit in a corner for an hour to punish you for the bandwidth you wasted on this drivel. If this makes it to print I'm canceling my subscription. Seriously.

Posted by: eckzomarckz | January 4, 2010 9:42 PM | Report abuse

This really is one of the dumbest things I have read about the firing of Coach Zorn. To say that he "failed miserably" is a bit of an over statement and whether he did not, which as Armao points out she has no idea, is besides the point. He was gaurenteed a salary for services rendered and he was paid as per the agreement. To try and equate this agangement with Wall St brokers and Executives is false. The outrage over those compensation packages is thagt they were paid perfromance BONUSES. They were paid for BONUSES for failing, where as Coach Zorn was paid for doing his job. I'm sure the idea sounded good in your head when you first though it up but next time take a minute and think the agruement you present through.

Posted by: bhickson | January 4, 2010 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Okay, I'm not a huge 'Skins fan (I'm a Giants fan, but growing up in DC, I do have a huge amount of Art Monk love), and I'm not an expert or fanatic when it comes to football.

But here's a list of coaches since Dan Snyder bought the Redskins.

Under Dan Snyder:
1999 - Dan Snyder buys Redskins
2000 - Norv Turner fired midway through a winning season, Marty Schottenheimer hired
2001 - Marty Schottenheimer fired (despite an excellent back half of the season)
2002 - Steve Spurrier hired
2003 - Steve Spurrier resigns
2004 - Joe Gibbs returns to coach
2007 - Joe Gibbs retires again
2008 - Jim Zorn hired
2009 - Jim Zorn fired

5 coaches in 10 years. Dan Snyder is expecting a miracle, or Fantasy Football results. And you're begrudging Jim Zorn his contractual obligation? Snyder has wasted so much more money over the years I can't be annoyed about this.

Zorn has his family to think of, and if firing him meant he got the payout, then bully for him for putting up with all the garbage. At least he *DID* something tangible, unlike the Wall Street self-thought-demi-gods who simply trashed the economy.

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | January 4, 2010 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Of course he isn't worth it. None of them are. No football "hero," no coaching "genius," is worth a tenth of what he earns. They get it because foolish fans -- many of who don't earn a hundredth as much -- throw away their money supporting "their" team.

Wake up! Wise up! The Redskins aren't YOUR team! They're Dan Snyder's team!

Posted by: donnolo | January 4, 2010 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Have you seen DC's new team uniforms?

Posted by: MikeLicht | January 4, 2010 10:27 PM | Report abuse

So many other commentators have captured my thoughts completely . . . but perhaps the 3 most important. 1) Zorn had a "contract" in the system of laws that regulate business that mean something--it has too. 2) Under the free enterprise system you can sell your services for what you get--Zorn did. 3) It was not enough for working for "The Heart of Darkness" --Dan Snyder.

Posted by: TAGZ | January 4, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse

JoAnn, is that the best photo you have of yourself?

Posted by: Skeptic21 | January 4, 2010 10:40 PM | Report abuse

There is a huge difference between Zorn's contract with the 'Skins and the big bonuses to which you refer....the taxpayers did not bail out the 'Skins. This was private money, contractually obligated because the Daniel made a huge hiring mistake.
The outrage regarding bankers' bonuses is properly intense and likely involves employment contracts the must be honored. But like most employment contracts, there are likely 'change-of-control' clauses that change the contract...something out vigilant government officials overlooked as a way to void those bonus provisions when the government bailed them out.

Posted by: ralphmango | January 4, 2010 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Folks, seriously, don't be giving her too much credit or grief. Her job is to get people to look at website pages. Stay awhile. Look at ads. Don't fool yourselves into thinking the Post or any other publication that sells ads is doing anything except figuring out how to get you here and spend time looking at ads. Period. Not her, not Wilbon, nor anyone else says much of anything that you havent already thought up yourself. Her blurting out nonsense gets us to write comments here like she needs a talking to, and Snyder, etc. In the mean time, ad rates go up because more eyeballs are staring at this page. Her job was to blurt a little bit of anything. Mission accomplished. She gets to feed her kids or whatever. Blah. It's completely absurd on its face. Who cares. Anyone can say anything they want whenever they want.

On top of it all we get to bear witness to Snyder. Awesome.

Posted by: yabbadabbadoofus | January 4, 2010 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Ha, ha, ha. You actually believe we might have some remnants of a meritocracy, or that you can shame our conscience? Not with this crowd of loser citizens hooked on conveniences, sports idols, TV idols and Survivors, text messaging and killer war games on their PCs. We have no conscience, no need for one with all these wonderful things at our finger tips. Deserving ain't got nuthin to do with it.

Merit no longer has a place in this culture. Indeed it's about what you can get or con your way into that brings envy and respect.

Consider Obama's election. He pledged to "redistribute the wealth", or reward the undeserving, and he got elected. Healthcare reform got passed in the House and the Senate, which rewards those for not buying their own healthcare insurance. The Chinese, and future, unknown and unborn generations will pick up the tab. And you pout about Zorn not deserving his $2.4 million? Millions don't care.

Obama just pledged $10 billion a year to the third world countries to help the poor dears fight global warming (it was -13 here last night and I AM getting tired of this global warming).

"Deserve", "earn"? These are legacy words that have no relevance today. It's about what you can steal from your big bad employer or this mindless government. C'mon into the 21st century.

Posted by: bbwk80a1 | January 4, 2010 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Fire Snyder.

Posted by: mxyzptlk1 | January 5, 2010 1:15 AM | Report abuse

"And there can be no mistaking the fact that Zorn is a man who failed miserably in his job."

You think so?

I don't think I will ask your opinion on anything else.

Posted by: gary4books | January 5, 2010 5:05 AM | Report abuse

Please learn a little more about what services a professional sports coach provides. Then, learn a little more about about what services a bank is supposed to provide. Mr. Zorn provided the services he was contracted for. The banks engaged in behavior that would have prevented them from providing contractually obliged services without taxpayer help.

As far as contractual obligations, Mr. Zorn did not fail. The banks did. Very different stuff.

I could go on and on about the differences in social responsibility and importance of a sound banking system vs. pro sports as a form of entertainment but it's more than what's required to comment on this clueless piece of writing. I would suggest not undermining your employer's credibility more by commenting on things that you clearly don't understand and aren't interested in.

Posted by: Cavan9 | January 5, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Ms Armao is quite the curmudgeon isn't she? Last week she was apparently unaware of the existence of telephones and high speed secure internet lines in Hawaii. This week she's an "expert" on pro football, I'm about as far from being a Redskins (or Oakland Raiders) fan as can be imagined, but it's clear that Dan Snyder and Al Davis need to be fired, not the poor schlubs they hire as coaches in organizations where the dysfunction starts at the very top.

Posted by: jaltman1 | January 5, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

"I also don’t know how Zorn can feel right about getting millions of dollars when he failed to produce the desired results for his organization. Does he really think he has earned that $2.4 million? "

Consider the fact that in his daily public display of failure, whether of his own making or helped along by a dysfunctional organization, Zorn pretty much scotched his chances of ever earning another high-paying head coaching job in the NFL, let alone an assistant head coach/coordinator spot. I would say that yes, Zorn probably feels that he has earned the money.

Maybe you should be asking if the person who allowed The Post to print on their front Sports page yesterday that "San Diego lost on Sunday" feels entitled to the cash they received for failing in their job?



Posted by: jayrockers | January 5, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Ms. Armao,
I disagree with your thinking for the many reasons which the other posters have nicely articulated. To compare Zorn to Wall Street bankers is absurd. Despite being undercut by Snyder time and again (and not having an offensive line to speak of), Zorn did his job honestly and judiciously. The Wall Street bankers engaged in business practices which they knew had the potential to severely disrupt our economy.

Posted by: eric22 | January 5, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

By writing the above drivel, you have proven that you have neither the intellect (please see all of the above comments) or the writing talent to deserve employment at a credible newspaper. Will you now turn down your next paycheck?

Posted by: majiksea | January 5, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Compared to The Washington Post Editorial Staff, and especially compared to Joanne Armao (spit on ground to get foul right wing stench out of mouth), EVERYONE does their job well.

Stick to being a bootlicker for War and crying about children and attacking Obama Ms. Armao.

Armao is a dunce only Fred Hiatt would hire.

Posted by: wapoisrightwingrag | January 5, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Agreed--America is too quick to reward people for failure. Case in point: you're going to get paid for phoning in a few hundred pointless words about somebody getting paid a salary legally owed to them.

Posted by: jmcshab | January 6, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

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