Memo to Bob Kraft: When You’re In A Big Hole Stop Digging

IMG_3938There is something wrong with the Patriot management under Bob Kraft. This is shown in the Deflategate matter. Perhaps it is something that happens to a man who has all the money in the world who surrounds himself with obsequious “yes” people and legal advisors who scurry to curry favor with him by telling him what he wants to believe. Add to that a fawning press and adoring fan base then a person like Kraft cannot but help believe his every step leaves a perfumed trace and he not only can do no wrong but is beyond criticism.

Kraft propagated the idea that he ran his team a special way: “the Patriot way.” No “bad boys” were to play for it. (Hernandez was going to see the light.) It was to be the all-American team populated with altar boys led by a tight-lipped Jesuit-type disciplinarian who would show the world that you could win by doing things with the right people. It was to be a team which did the right stuff.

Many in the area fell for the line. Many still believe it. The rest of the sane world knows the Patriots are not particularly special except in one way: they have been involved in a couple of big scandals that show they have not played by the rules.

When I read: “New England Patriots release 20,000-word rebuttal to Deflategate findings” I knew the big con was continuing. The usual manner of describing rebuttal is in pages. Seeing the Patriots describe their counter-report in the amount of words it contained signaled to me that it had little to offer.

Looking at the web I found that amount of words single spaced with an Arial font at an 11 typeface could easily be put on 40 or 41 pages. Not much of a response I’d have to say. But certainly it was put out with much fanfare as if it were lengthy and significant.

It is precisely this type of attitude displayed by Kraft that got Brady into trouble in the first place. The righteousness in asking for an apology; the stonewalling of the NFL investigation; and the general arrogance was way out-of-place. Kraft was thinking of his team and not Brady, who is a player who can be replaced but the team is him.

Only in Kraft-nation would a lawyer insult everyone’s intelligence by writing in his defense of the Patriots: Mr. (John) Jastremski would sometimes work out and bulk up — he is a slender guy and his goal was to get to 200 pounds. Mr. McNally is a big fellow and had the opposite goal: to lose weight. “Deflate” was a term they used to refer to losing weight. One can specifically see this use of the term in a Nov. 30, 2014 text from Mr. McNally to Mr. Jastremski: “deflate and give somebody that jacket.” (p. 87). This banter, and Mr. McNally’s goal of losing weight, meant Mr. McNally was the “deflator.” 

Such slop is written is because Kraft thinks no matter what he says or does his loyal fan base will seize upon it, believe it and repeat it. I have difficulty separating the Patriot fans from the followers of Jim Jones. It is good Kraft need these fans to keep the money rolling in so he does not sell that specially laced Kool-Aid at his concessions.

Here’s something else for the loyal fans to rise up and shout in the defense of the Patriots. The rebuttal to the NFL Wells report says: “The report does not address whether one minute and 40 (seconds) is consistent with the time that it takes a gentleman to enter a bathroom, relieve himself, wash his hands, and leave. In fact, it is.” That’s supposed to be significant? It is pure nonsense put out as part of a defense.

To top all this off the report trots out a guy as their expert, Roderick MacKinnon, a 2003 Nobel Prize winner. MacKinnon in his original introduction to his opinion said he had “no business or personal relationship with the Patriots.”  He “offered his scientific expertise to the team.” It did not take long for that also to turn out to be wrong. He is the founder of a company Flex Pharma in which Bob Kraft’s the Kraft Group has invested. The Patriots are so pathetic they could not get someone with no connections to the team to help them out.

The local true believers will follow Kraft over the cliff like lemmings but it is reported 63 percent of all fans and 76 percent of self-described “avid” fans supported the NFL’s decision to suspend Brady for four games and strip draft picks from the Patriots for Deflategate.” 

Kraft’s problem is he is the head of a team that has now been censured twice by the league for cheating. Here’s what is becoming the Patriots legacy under him: they win the big games and championships but they do so in an underhanded way. For those who believe winning is all that matters Kraft is a hero; for those who think it is how you play the game that counts he is not.

Kraft is fighting for his legacy but trying to defend something with nonsense is just making him look worse. He should accept he is no better or different from any other owner, stop acting foolishly and move on. He should also realize that in defending the Patriots legacy he is compromising that of Tom Brady. Perhaps he does but it does not matter to him.

 

 

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