In the eyes of the Washington Redskins, Pro Bowl tight end Chris Cooley fumbled on his blog because he used his hands instead of his head.
A photo of a portion of the Redskins' playbook for their game against the New Orleans Saints was posted on Cooley's blog Sunday, according to a report in The Washington Post. As part of the blog post, Cooley briefly analyzed the play of the Saints' defensive ends and discussed the numbers of players used in defensive packages, the Post reported. (The Redskins rallied to beat the Saints on Sunday, 29-24.)
Cooley's actions had Redskins coach Jim Zorn scrambling for the best offense to defend his playbook.
"My first thought is to just make a team-wide statement and talk about it," Zorn told the newspaper late Monday. "It's not just Chris, anybody can do that, and we've just got to make sure that these guys are using" common sense.
The incident "is quite interesting, I think for all coaches in today's technology-sound world," Zorn told the newspaper. "At any level, not only the NFL level, but at any level there's MySpace, Facebook, there's blogging. I just think it's something that most coaches have never had to deal with or have dealt with. This will be my first experience. There's no rules, there's no laws."
"I think Chris used a little bit of poor discretion using that type of prop, if you will," he went on to say.
While there's no trace or mention of the playbook blunder on his blog, Cooley did apologize for the appearance of a penis on his blog.
"That was by no means our intention and we did not want to offend anyone," he wrote in his apology. "The picture wouldn't have been up for so long, but we were in the middle of winning a big game."
Certainly, professional athletes often get a free pass for their outlandish behavior. But this episode has got to have managers in a myriad industries worrying about whether they should be monitoring their employees' blogs for sensitive or embarrassing information. And I am guessing the consequences to both the organization and the individual will be a bit more substantial than a "statement" or a "talk."