02-29-2012, 06:08 PM
It got lost in the excitement of the divisional round, but there was an amazing story in the Kansas City Star, published on Saturday , about the*allegedly*negative environment from top to bottom in the Kansas City Chiefs' front office. The Kent Babb-penned piece outlined a culture of paranoia that reportedly led ex-head coach Todd Haley to believe that his phone was being tapped and his office was bugged. In addition, the move to general manager Scott Pioli in 2009 started a plan of secrecy in motion that prevented non-football employees ? even those who had worked for the team for decades ? from accessing certain areas and entire floors of the team's head offices. Staff members with office windows facing the team's practice fields were directed to keep the shades in their offices drawn, and security guards would interrupt phone calls if necessary to tell employees to close those shades. This applied to team president Mark Donovan as well ? he told Babb that he kept his shades drawn in an effort to let employees know that one was not more trusted than others. Three department heads have sued the Chiefs for age discrimination, and according to the Babb piece, people don't know who to trust anymore. But it's the Haley story that is perhaps the most interesting and disturbing. Before he was fired in mid-December, Haley was to the point where he was checking his office for bugs and believed that his personal cellphone had been tampered with. Haley walked into the public relations office at Chiefs headquarters on a Thursday in early December. Four days before he was fired as the team's coach, he wanted to talk about what life was like inside this organization. But he didn't know who else might be listening. Looking up toward the ceiling, he darted into a back hallway before hesitating. Then he turned around, going back through a door and stopping again. Haley suspected that many rooms at the team facility were bugged so that team administrators could monitor employees' conversations. [...] This past year, Haley stopped talking on the phone and repeatedly checked his office for listening devices. After being fired, Haley didn't respond to interview requests; many former staffers said they signed confidentiality agreements upon being let go. The Chiefs said there's nothing to substantiate Haley's fears, but some believed that anything was possible. "I don't think that anything would surprise anyone, really," said a former employee who worked for the Chiefs for more than two decades. "That's how Scott wants it." Haley wasn't the only one. According to several former employees who spoke to Babb, people in the Chiefs' front office were directed to be careful what they said and who they spoke to. [ Related: Romeo Crennel passes test to become new Chiefs coach ] According to the piece, it was Pioli's obsession with minutiae that put everything on the wrong foot.