Asks the Ringer.com
moment Sunday Umoh realized that Ernie Grunfeld had been fired, and that the Facebook article his friend sent wasn’t a hoax or an April Fool’s joke, he called his wife. Umoh broke the news to her: Grunfeld, the Washington Wizards president for the last 16 years, had finally been let go. She let out a muffled scream—she was at work, otherwise it would have been full-blown—knowing one of her husband’s life passions was over.
Umoh, a software engineer who grew up in D.C. and is currently living in Baltimore, created the website www.fireerniegrunfeld.com in 2012 after the Wizards began the season 0-12. He’s since posted 38 times. Each and every article is either a polemic against the team president or a plea to the Wizards owner, Ted Leonsis, to give him the boot. “FIRE ERNIE GRUNFELD,” the site’s banner reads atop a picture of Grunfeld smiling. Written above: “FINISH HIM FINISH HIM FINISH HIM,” and below: “Stop smiling you smug bastard.” There are articles by Umoh comparing Grunfeld to Billy McFarland, the convicted fraudster who founded Frye Festival. There are multiple listicles of every mistake Grunfeld made during his tenure. One post from May is titled, “I’m Back … Unfortunately,” which contains this passage:
When I say this site is depressing I mean THIS SITE IS DEPRESSING! I stay away from it as much as I can but it is calling me back in. I will update Ernie’s Horrifically Bad Decisions this weekend. It must be done. For history purposes. One day 100 years from now this will be turned into a scary story told around a campfire in the abandon [sic] area in Chinatown where Capital One Arena once laid. For the district[.]
Umoh had taken a couple-year hiatus from the site before deciding to return—the discovery in May 2018 that Wizards owner Ted Leonsis secretly extended Grunfeld again forced his hand. Umoh felt he had no choice but to stay woke, even if it meant not staying sane. Self-care is important. Being a Wizards fan is a self-detriment.
“I’m a nice guy, OK?” Umoh said. “And I don’t hope for people to get fired, even though I made a website that’s called fireerniegrunfeld dot com. I’m a nice guy. I’m just being really honest.”