Scot McCloughan is sell­ing old Red­skins gear for char­ity, and it’s a lit­tle weird.

Ex-Red­skins GM and his wife in­vited auc­tion win­ners to come over and col­lect their stuff

The Washington Post Sunday - - SPORTS - BY DAN STEIN­BERG it dan.stein­berg@wash­post.com Ex­cerpted from wash­ing­ton­post.com/ dc­sports­bog

“It’s bizarre,” Justin Har­vey said Thurs­day night, and I can think of no bet­ter word.

Ev­ery­thing about this saga — Scot McCloughan’s ar­rival in Wash­ing­ton as a per­ceived sav­ior, the Wash­ing­ton Red­skins’ two sea­sons of ap­par­ent or­ga­ni­za­tional com­pe­tence that over­lapped with his time here, his strange de­par­ture, his con­tin­ued ado­ra­tion by fans, his decision to sell some of his lo­cal keep­sakes as a sort of goof, the pas­sion those sales sparked, the $2,000 his keep­sakes raised for char­ity, and the way he wel­comed a dis­il­lu­sioned die-hard fan such as Har­vey into his home this past week for 90 min­utes of talk about the Red­skins and foot­ball and op­ti­mism — seems a bit, well . . .

“It’s bizarre,” Har­vey said again, re­fer­ring to his decision to pay $1,000 for two au­to­graphed McCloughan hats and the night he had just spent with the former gen­eral man­ager and the way that ex-GM had un­ex­pect­edly flipped his feel­ings to­ward his fa­vorite team. “But it was worth it, man. That’s all I can say. It was def­i­nitely worth it.”

Har­vey, a 29-year-old life­long fan, reached his break­ing point somewhere dur­ing this spring’s McCloughan de­noue­ment, which seemed to sig­nal some­thing amiss in the team’s front of­fice. The scales fell from Har­vey’s eyes, and he re­al­ized he was ready to give up on the Red­skins. Not on the play­ers, maybe, but on the team and its pub­lic im­age and its way of do­ing busi­ness. So if he would no longer be buy­ing tick­ets and would no longer be buy­ing mer­chan­dise, he fig­ured he could go out with a bang: by bid­ding on the au­to­graphed Red­skins hats McCloughan and his wife had put on eBay.

The hats, as you no doubt re­call, wound up on eBay be­cause McCloughan’s wife, Jes­sica, had seen how much fans loved some of her hus­band’s sig­na­ture items. She thought they could be his part­ing gifts to some of his D.C. die-hards, a way “to leave a lit­tle some­thing be­hind for the loyal fans.”

“The fans were in­cred­i­ble, they were,” McCloughan said on 106.7 The Fan, when he broke his weeks of si­lence to pro­mote this strangest of auc­tions. “And I re­spect that, and I’ll never for­get it.”

Scot thought some­one might pay $2 for one of his signed hats. Jes­sica dreamed of a $100 clos­ing price. It soon be­came clear they had far un­der­es­ti­mated the mar­ket for the signed head­gear of a former frontof­fice man. En­ter Har­vey, who was in­volved in the bid­ding on both hats — at the same time that he had de­cided to re­treat from his fan­dom.

“I es­sen­tially disowned the Red­skins and be­came a Scot McCloughan fan,” he told me.

That’s why he stuck with the auc­tions even as the price tags sky­rock­eted. If he wasn’t go­ing to shell out hun­dreds of bucks for fu­ture tick­ets, he could pay top dol­lar for some hats, put them in a fancy dis­play case and help a char­i­ta­ble cause along the way.

“This was a last chance, re­ally, to pur­chase a piece of Red­skins lore that I care about,” he said.

Mean­while, with the hat mar­ket pop­ping, the McCloughans went fur­ther: They auc­tioned off McCloughan’s trade­mark light-col­ored suit jacket, the one he of­ten wore to big games, the one Mike Nolan had got­ten him from a Nord­strom in the Bay Area back in his San Francisco 49ers days. The pro­ceeds from the au­to­graphed camo hat would go to the Red­skins Char­i­ta­ble Foun­da­tion, and the pro­ceeds from the tan suit jacket would go to North­ern Vir­ginia Fam­ily Ser­vices, a non­profit that helps vul­ner­a­ble fam­i­lies and in­di­vid­u­als move to­ward sta­bil­ity and self-suf­fi­ciency.

The jacket was, well, let’s call dis­tinc­tive.

“The play­ers would give me crud: You can’t wear that [jacket]. It’s like mus­tard,” McCloughan told Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier dur­ing that ra­dio in­ter­view. “And I’m like, no, it’s tan.”

Chris Mat­ters, a 40-year-old life­long Red­skins fan and ac­tive duty Navy re­servist liv­ing in Nor­folk, was lis­ten­ing to that in­ter­view. He heard how the money was go­ing to char­ity. He heard the way McCloughan praised the fan base. He has ex­pe­ri­enced some of the same emo­tions Har­vey has been feel­ing.

“We had a cou­ple good years where there seemed to be sta­bil­ity, and it all just fell apart,” Mat­ters said.

Mat­ters is a strap­ping 6 feet 3 and 230 pounds, so he won’t fit into McCloughan’s mus­tard jacket, but that’s not im­por­tant.

“I’ll keep [the jacket], and it’ll be a piece of the Red­skins I have,” he said.

The McCloughans are mov­ing to Colorado at the end of this month. So be­fore they leave, they in­vited Har­vey and Mat­ters to come over and col­lect their stuff. Mat­ters — whose wife “thinks I’m a com­plete id­iot” — was set to drive up from Nor­folk on Satur­day.

Har­vey al­ready made his visit. Be­fore he hung out with McCloughan on Thurs­day night, he was ready to give up on his fa­vorite team. But the 90 min­utes changed him. McCloughan praised the fran­chise. He praised owner Daniel Sny­der. (“It’s ob­vi­ous that he wants to win,” Har­vey said af­ter the ses­sion.) McCloughan con­vinced Har­vey that it’s okay for him still to cheer for the Red­skins and that there are rea­sons for hope. They took pho­tos to­gether, and their wives hit it off, and Har­vey thinks the cou­ples will see each other again.

“It was a dream come true,” Har­vey said. “And just talk­ing ball with him, it was just sur­real. That was worth ev­ery frickin’ penny. Are you kid­ding me?”

So bizarre is one way to de­scribe all this. Mat­ters of­fered an­other.

“I mean, we’re such a show,” he said of the Red­skins — all of it, all of us. “And it has noth­ing to do with the foot­ball.”

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF JUSTIN HAR­VEY

Justin Har­vey, who paid $1,000 for two signed Scot McCloughan hats, poses with his wife, Alaina, and McCloughan.

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