"Do you know who I am?"
Well, I am not going go into a lot of detail as to what was said. If you are interested in the topic, you've read and heard it all already, but here is my take on Kraft's scorched earth blast against Roger Goodell and the NFL. Here in Pittsburgh, if you are old enough, you have heard tree generations of Rooneys talk about how the overall interests of the National Football League are far more important than the interests of any one individual franchise. It seems to have been a sound way to do business and it has certainly served to make the NFL the most powerful and successful sports league in America, if not the entire world. Kraft sure thumbed his nose at that notion in his diatribe yesterday. If the "League Comes First" attitude of the Rooneys and Maras still exists out there among the other 31 lodge brothers that comprise NFL ownership, it would seem that Robert Kraft may find himself all alone on an island, and he may be fighting a very lonely battle out there. Roger Goodell's father was a US Senator, and I am sure that he taught young Roger that before you do anything big, be sure that you have the votes, and I am guessing that Roger Goodell "has the votes" from among his bosses.
A few months ago I might have thought that Goodell would lose his job over his handling of this (and other) issues(s). Now, I wouldn't bet against him.
The other part of that press conference was Bill Belichick being Bill Belichick. He answered questions for about ten minutes and this was the sum and substance of it:
- "That issue has already been addressed."
- "We're here to start training camp and get ready for the 2015 season."
- "Everybody will get the same number of reps in training camp. That's what training camp is for."
He never once mentioned the name of any player, including You-Know-Who.
I know that we are not supposed to like Bill Belichick, and I know all the reasons for it, but I have to say that I came away from that performance of his yesterday with a grudging admiration for him. He seems to be telling us (although who really knows what he thinks) that he is a football coach, plain and simple. He doesn't give a shit about any of these outside distractions, he really doesn't give a shit about who his players are, he just wants to get to training camp and prepare for the next game. There is something to be said for that.
As for Brady, I think we can all agree that his punishment does not fit his crime, and that this whole thing could have been reduced or even avoided entirely with a mere slap on the wrists to those involved if all parties had reacted just a bit differently. However, Tom Brady has shown himself to be just another spoiled "Me-First" jock with a monstrous sense of entitlement. By God, he wasn't going to give in because "I am Tom Brady", and he has cooked his own goose because of it. I don't really care what happens to him. As for the destruction of his cell phone, this has become the 2015 version of Rosemary Woods' missing seventeen minutes of audio tape.
The story isn't over, as injunctions and lawsuits are sure to follow, and a lot of lawyers will get rich. As for me, I can't make any promises, but I am not so sure how much I am going to write about this in the weeks and months ahead. I've had my say.