ASHBURN, Va. - Upset Redskins fans gathered outside of the team's Virginia training facilities Friday to protest the decision to fire General Manager Scot McCloughan.
46-year-old McCloughan served as GM for the past two years and had a four-year contract when he was fired. His termination ended speculation about his future that had clouded the organization in recent weeks.
Chad Rich, the protest organizer, said that the team’s lack of focus and its move to fire McCloughan prompted the demonstration, labeled the "March on Ashburn". Rich said the protests will continue tomorrow morning at the Ashburn facilities at 8 a.m.
A disgruntled fan who came for the demonstration called the small group of about a half-a-dozen, some of whom were holding pitch-forks, a "good start." He said the best way to protest the team's direction was to boycott the team and to stop buying team merchandise.
A female fan who was holding a large sign that read, "Fire Bruce," said the choice to fire McCloughan was a example of the team's upper management meddling in football decisions. She said the team's direction influenced her to give up her season tickets.
Team president Bruce Allen announced the firing on Thursday. "The organization remains confident in our personnel department as we execute our free agency plans as well as prepare for the upcoming NFL draft," Allen said in the statement, adding that the team will have no further comment on McCloughan's departure.
The Redskins did not give an official reason for McCloughan's firing.
Before joining Washington, he served as senior personnel executive for the Seattle Seahawks and GM of the San Francisco 49ers. McCloughan resigned from his Seahawks post in April 2014 for personal reasons. He and the 49ers agreed to a mutual termination of his contract in March 2010, which Jed York called a "private personal matter."
McCloughan's firing puts Allen and vice president of football administration Eric Schaffer in charge of making free agent signings. It's unclear what the front office structure will be moving forward.
In the opening hours of free agency, Washington signed defensive tackle Terrell McClain and safety D.J. Swearinger to multiyear contracts. The Redskins lost receiver DeSean Jackson and defensive end Chris Baker to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and receiver Pierre Garcon to the San Francisco 49ers.
After the Redskins extended Gruden's contract Monday, quarterback Kirk Cousins remains in limbo. They placed the franchise tag on Cousins for a second consecutive season while buzz circulates about a trade or a long-term contract.
FOX News Sunday host Chris Wallace also felt the frustration with the team, telling FOX 5’s Steve Chenevey that he was “in mourning” about the recent moves made by the Redskins.
"But we're losing the off season here. You know, we're losing wide receivers. We're losing defensive lineman we're losing general managers. It's not good," he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.