Fired? Hardly

January 22, 2013, 1:45 pm
Share This Post

“You’re Fired” is the signature line from “His Hairness,” Donald Trump. It’s also the dreaded theme line for “Black Monday,” the NFL’s season-ending house cleaning of coaches, GMs and other team player personnel after the last game of the season.

On Monday, December 31 2012, the Cleveland Browns' Pat Shurmur, Eagles' Andy Reid, Lovie Smith of the Bears, KC Chiefs' Romeo Crennel, Buffalo Bills' Chan Gailey, San Diego’s Norv Turner, Ken Whisenhunt of Arizona and Mike Mularkey of the Jacksonville Jaguars were told to clean out their desks, lockers, vacate their V.I.P. parking spaces, and turn in the playbooks they helped write and coach from.

This group was told, “Thanks for your combined record of 41-87 in 2012, but you're fired.” In addition, a number of assistant coaches, GMs and other football personnel staff were told that they had received the ultimate challenge flag, and after further review, they no longer had jobs.

No matter how tough it is to lose a big-time coaching job, I think it’s about time to extract the word Fired from the vocabulary of professional and big-time collegiate sports.

Here’s why. In the real world when you lose your job, there is usually a security person or HR representative with a cardboard box asking you to pack up your desk, hand in your cell phone, key card, laptop and your dignity as you are shown the door. It all happens pretty quickly whether you are in a termination class, of one or thousands who are fired by e-mail memo from corporate HQ.

The vast majority of people who lose their jobs don’t necessarily know where the next paycheck is coming from but they know that the discussion with the spouse/family isn’t going to have a happy end. A fairy godmother won't be showing up waving a magic wand with a big fat severance check attached.

The NFL’s “Black Monday” and other high-level sports job terminations aren’t close to the definition of fired  that many real life workers have to deal with. In the big time world of sports, those relieved of their duties have the following safety nets which don’t exactly define fire:

Most of us don’t have guaranteed contracts or agents who have negotiated iron clad deals on our behalf. Nothing is more comforting than knowing you have a few years of income coming your way even though you don’t have your coaching job anymore.

Even if you never work again almost all player personnel people are covered by league wide pension plans. As we know most businesses are seeing deep cutbacks in pension plans for their rank and file employees.

Immediate Rehire 
Hi, I’m Andy Reid “Fired” by the Philadelphia Eagles and I was out of a job for an incredibly stressful 7 minutes.

Media Glare
This is a positive for the regular guy who doesn't have to deal with a bunch of media hounds outside his house wondering what he’ll do next. For the big time names this can actually help keep them in the public eye on the way to their next job.

I don’t have the perfect word to take the place of “You’re Fired” in the sports world.  Let’s try these on for size:
You’re Pensioned
You’re Vacationed
You’re Pastured
You’re Red Flagged
You’re Severanced
You’re Going to be a color analyst

The best news of all is that “The Donald” doesn’t currently own a pro franchise. Walt Michaels was the last coach to hear his signature “You’re Fired”  when Trump cashiered him in 1986 as coach of his USFL New Jersey Generals.