When we last visited with our favorite things he thinks he thinks thinker, he was being weened off of lattes by his nutritionist and stumping for the draft to be moved out of Radio City Music Hall. Two forms of pure nonsense. What sort of nutritionist says you can keep drinking beer if you give up the lattes? Raw food cleanse or bust, PK. And move the draft? MAYBE, but I’ve been hearing the draft could come to LA every year since the Nokia Theater was built next to the Staples Center and we’re still no closer to that happening.
Today? Well it’s Memorial Day so I’m sure Mr. King will be respectful and keep the hyperbole to a minimum during our time of reflection. Despite all the war imagery, no one is going to mistake a professional football player for a solider.
On Holidays, Heroes and A Patriot Named Brady
Welp, so much for that.
On this Memorial Day, we pause to remember the 1.3 million Americans who have died protecting our country since our founding, and the 1.5 million who have been wounded in wars in the name of the United States. Thank you. Thank you again, to all who have served and sacrificed, and to those who now serve and sacrifice.
Has anyone ever done a usage trend search on the word “sacrifice” around Memorial Day? If so, PK just pinned the needle.
And to those who will serve, thank you in advance. I want to tell the story of one man in particular this morning: Joe Grimaldi of Hawthorne, N.J., a senior relief pitcher for the St. Thomas Aquinas (N.Y.) college baseball team, which opened NCAA Division II College World Series play last night in North Carolina … without Grimaldi. He has always had twin passions—baseball and military service. He pursued baseball hard, getting cut from two college teams before making the roster at a community college and enrolling at St. Thomas Aquinas for his last two years, and making the back end of the bullpen there. Knowing he was never going to be Mariano Rivera, Grimaldi decided to enlist in the Marines, with his reporting date coinciding with the end of his senior year at St. Thomas Aquinas. Grimaldi threw 7.2 scoreless innings out of the bullpen for the team this year, and St. Thomas Aquinas earned a spot in the World Series. But Grimaldi’s report date is May 27—Tuesday—and his enlistment officer said it could not be delayed.
The army still gets heats because they let Elvis defer for a few months to film a movie, so you can understand the military’s position.
Grimaldi has been playing baseball since he was 6. Local teams, travel teams, high school teams, college teams. He loved being on a team, banding together every spring and summer and being part of a team, trying to beat whoever his team was playing. Now, before the biggest week of his baseball life, it was over. He didn’t seem to be mourning about it. With the Marines, he said, he would get to be a part of a similar brotherhood, at a higher level.
Shouldn’t you be crushed, young man?!?! You could be playing sports! Show some disappointment. Just a little. An iota of sadness, just for me. Let me suck the spirit leaving you right out of your pores.
“Being at the College World Series is the thing I wanted to do second-most in the world,’’ Grimaldi told WINS radio in New York. “And the thing I wanted to do first-most is to be a Marine. So … I’m okay with it. What they’re doing is so much more important than baseball.”
See? Why be disappointed? Maybe of those years of baseball made him realize that deep down, he really hated baseball and being a Marine was much preferable than hurling a ball a 90 miles an hour.
Good luck, Private Grimaldi.
Seriously, good luck. Both of my grandparents, my grandmother, some aunts, some uncles all served in the military. Each one of them volunteered for service and I still cannot imagine what a leap of faith that must be to trust not only in yourself, but a group of strangers.
Oh good, my favorite. The change of subject asterisk breaks. How we go from the serious to the light-hearted in these here Peter King columns. God forbid someone has to write a real transitional sentence or paragraph.
Tom Brady, not in the twilight.
Well I’d like to see him shimmer in the twilight but if you prefer him with your morning latte, that’s on you Peter.
Sometimes, Tom Brady gets slapped in the face that he’s still a pretty big deal, even with no Super Bowl titles for going on a decade now.
By who? Honestly? Who is leading this charge against Tom Brady, The Overrated? A two year-old poll in SI of only 180 players that had him ranked #9 on their overrated list? A three year-old article on Bleacher Report, where they sometimes post two different views about the same topic so they can serve two different audiences and therefore garner twice as many hits? Name names because it does us no good fight against imaginary enemies. Even if you call him, “Mr. Strawman at the Wichita Gazette [paywall]” at least we would know who are dealing with and if it’s a legitimate debate.
People still think Joe Montana is a big deal and he hasn’t won a Super Bowl in a decade either. Loser.
His charity of choice, Best Buddies, which fosters relationships and employment training for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, asked him to make a trip to Houston for a private Best Buddies dinner and auction. “I sat next to this man’s wife at dinner, and it was a really good night,’’ Brady said. “He’s been very supportive of Best Buddies, and he was that night.” I should say: The man bid $100,000 for a spot to play in Brady’s touch football game this Friday as part of the 15th annual Best Buddies Challenge, part of a fund-raiser that brought in $850,000 in one night for Best Buddies. Not bad: Half a day in Houston, almost a million bucks for the charity he’s passionate about. Which left him grateful, and a little dazed about raising that much in Texans country, half a country away from his team.
God it must be nice to have Texas oil, military contracts and real estate money. Have cash like that to blow on a touch football game and still turn the receipt into your CPA.
“I shake my head about a lot of things these days,” Brady said.
Like how no serious person calls you overrated?
Not much changes for Brady, except the calendar. He goes to some horse races in the offseason, squires his famous wife to A-list events,
“Squires?” Gisele would probably destroy anyone would insulted her honor. That is one person who does not need extra defense from their spouse.
throws the football with his receivers, is very serious about this one charity venture, works on throwing motion with mechanics doctor Tom House, and tries to beat his mates
Mates? Squires? How much time did PK spend on the British Isles again?
to offseason workouts at Gillette Stadium. Time marches on, and he’ll be 37 in August.
GASP! That is one year and like five months younger than Peyton Manning and he was in the Super Bowl this year! There is still time for Brady to lose another one!
The other day, he used his 6:20 a.m. drive from Boston to Foxboro to talk about his present and future, but not to dish very specifically about anything.
My favorite Brady line from our 40-minute chat, talking about longevity: “You know, you don’t have to suck when you get older.”
Little did Tom realize, it was too late for Lord Latte. He turned 67 when he was 13.
Said Brady: “It’s hard to explain this to people, but the commitment I make, in terms of keeping my body in shape and my nutrition right, should make me healthy. I feel better today than when I was 25, and I know that’s hard for people to believe, but I do. I work at it. Basically, I work all off-season to prepare my body to not get hurt. I can’t help the team if I’m on the sidelines. I’ve got to be durable.”
“Also I don’t want to end up like a cyborg like Peyton. Ever poop after a kale cleanse? Amazing. A perfect coil of vitality.”
So he works with House, the former baseball pitcher and maestro to many pro quarterbacks and major-league pitchers, and he is diligent about his eating and fitness. But beyond that, he’s not going to help you with specifics.
“It’s all very well-researched,” Brady said. “But that’s for the other guys to figure out. I’m not going to give away any state secrets. I’m not here to be king of the weight room. I do things to make me a better quarterback, whatever they are. Does it work? You be the one to judge. Watch me play. Then draw your own conclusions.”
Poor Tom. Now he’s going to hear, “DO YOU EVEN LIFT, BRAH?” a million times a day.
Since returning at age 32 in 2009 from his one major NFL injury—the knee reconstruction suffered on opening day 2008—Brady has started all 89 Patriots game. So the durability is spotless, obviously. And the results? It’s pretty amazing to consider that, even with the 16-0, 50-touchdown-pass season of 2007 included in the pre-knee-surgery category, he’s been better in his thirties, and after the knee surgery, than he was in his twenties.
People with jobs that require a higher level of thinking get better at it as they go along? Unbelievable.
Avg. wins Comp.-Att. Pct. TD-INT Rating
Brady, 2001-2007 (before the surgery) 12.3 2,293-3,639 .630 197-86 92.98
Brady, 2009-2013 (after the surgery) 12.2 1,877-2,933 .640 162-48 99.26
Yep. Those are some numbers to help with your imaginary fight with no one.
Now, Brady and his cadre of mostly inexperienced receivers suffered last year, and he had his lowest completion mark (.605) since 2003; his touchdown total (25) was his lowest since 2006. So there’s been that to focus on this offseason.
“Tom, age these receivers so they can get better like you did. Also, get them some kale.”
As well as the draft: Bill Belichick waded into the second round—his highest pick of a quarterback since Brady appeared on campus in 2001—to take a quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo of Eastern Illinois. It’s the second time he’s spent a fairly high pick on a passer in recent years. In 2011, Belichick used the 74th overall pick on Ryan Mallett. This year, Garoppolo was the 62nd overall choice.
Didn’t your own publication just write about how Garoppolo was selected because his throwing motion is so similar to Tom Brady’s? Like in the past week? Can’t imagine guys who throw like your current quarterback fall off the turnip truck that often, so it seems smart to look for one if you’ve designed your whole system around a particular style.
Mallett’s been in the witness protection program since draft day 2011; he’s thrown four passes in his three NFL seasons. Even when the Patriots are routing foes, which is often, Mallett hasn’t played. Though Brady is entering his 13th starting season, he hopes Belichick’s just wasted another pick on Garoppolo.
Oh does he? That’s an awful thing to say about a teammate.
Don’t expect Brady to ever say that. But there’s no question that’s how he feels.
So he didn’t really say that he hopes Garappolo was a wasted pick, PK can just read Tom Brady’s feelings. Through a cellphone. In 40 minutes. While one of the people on the phone is in a moving vehicle.
“I felt like I had a pretty good idea we’d take a quarterback,” Brady said. “Coach Belichick doesn’t care who the quarterback is here. He’s always going to play the guy who he thinks gives him the best chance to win. It’s not my role to choose players here, thankfully. And this is not the first time they’ve taken another quarterback either. There’s no entitlement in the NFL. I don’t expect to be given anything. I just hope I’m the one most entitled to play that position for a long time here.”
Hope in one hand, kale poop in the other, Brady. Feel free to use Peter’s hands in this scenario.
Three other Brady quickies:
Tara Reid, Layla Roberts and Mariah Carey. What do I win?
On wanting to play for multiple years: “There’s nothing that can wake me up at 5 o’clock in the morning on a Thursday morning in May like getting ready for a day of football. I want to play a long time. There’s nothing I like doing that’s close to football. What’ll I do when I’m done playing? I don’t know, but I know it won’t be nearly as fun. I can tell you neither me nor Peyton [Manning] will probably be very far from the game of football when we’re done.”
What about becoming a Marine like that guy in the first story. He likes it better than baseball and you like baseball!
On the nine-year Super Bowl-win drought: “It’s hard to win. Thirty-two teams are working hard to try to win it every year, and we’ve been close … 14-2, the Super Bowl in 2011, the AFC Championship Game in 2012 and 2013. You get to those games, and you have to play your best to win, and we haven’t. I haven’t. We had too many opportunities we missed last year in Denver. And then what it comes down to is only one team really had a great season at the end.”
Sports: They be tough. Sort of the reason we watch.
On self-scouting: “Sometimes, we’ll be watching tape and [offensive coordinator] Josh McDaniels will say to me, ‘What happened on that play?’ And I’ll say, ‘I missed it. I just missed it.’ Throwing a football is a very, very tough to thing to do consistently well. Other sports too. You think when LeBron tries a three-pointer he’s aiming for the back of the rim, hopes he hits the back of the rim? Of course not. On an approach shot in golf, are you trying to miss by four feet? No—you want to get it in, or within two inches. That’s why, to me, it’s so important to work in the off-season perfecting your mechanics. Say you’re off 1 percent on your mechanics of throwing in one week, and you don’t fix it. Over four weeks, if you keep going, that’s 4 percent that you’re off. And you say, ‘Why am I not throwing the ball as crisply as I need to? I was the 199th pick in the draft for a reason. I need to maximize my efficiency, my mechanics and my reps to be sure I stay on top of my game.”
It’s like a Tom Brady TED Talk, if PK watched TED Talks.
Now he was in Foxboro. The clock struck 7. Last question:
“Is Joe Flacco elite?”
I mean, we can dare to dream, right?
“How’s it been to work and throw against Darrelle Revis so far?”
BOR-ING. Why not ask, “How does it feel to work and throw against Darrelle Revis now that he’s on the same team and you can see and hear what he learned during his time with your division rivals, the New York Jets? Do you feel like he too has gotten better with age and kale salads?”
“I’m tired of throwing against him, that’s for sure,’’ Brady said. “I did tell him, ‘Hey, we plan on building a couple of hotels on your island over there, so don’t be offended.’”
Brady’s got access to supermodel money, so don’t offended if he buys nothing but beachfront property.
The 15th annual Best Buddies Challenge happens this weekend, beginning Friday night in Boston and culminating on Cape Cod Saturday. There’s a touch football game, with Brady quarterbacking and mates Julian Edelman, Vince Wilfork and others playing, Friday night in Boston, followed by a Guy Fieri-led cookout;
Back to not liking Tom Brady again.
a 20-, 50- or 100-mile bike event from Boston to Cape Cod Saturday with Tour de France veteran George Hincapie (Bill Belichick has ridden the past couple of years); and a five-mile run/walk with Olympian Carl Lewis on Saturday. Best Buddies is aiming to set a fundraising record for the Massachusetts event this year—$4 million.
That’s it? Not for nothing, but Massachusetts has enough old money and world class hospitals that the number shouldn’t be that low. Get your people in line, King.
For what it’s worth, Charity Navigator rates Best Buddies as good, but not elite in the amount of money which goes to overhead costs versus how much is spent on the actual programs comparison.
Most-seen question in the NFL public over the past four months: What’s taking Roger Goodell so long to bring the hammer down on Jimmy Irsay and Ray Rice? Actually, the questions is usually phrased something like this: What the #%^*+ is Goodell doing, punishing guys for marijuana and letting that $%#@ Irsay skate free?
Peter King is &^$&$# mad at this &^#! language being used around here, it’s so god-^%$* disrespectful he could just ^*%$* a *%*$*-*&%*# out.
I believe sooner, rather than later, Irsay will be suspended and heavily fined by Goodell for violating the league’s personal-conduct policy. Under Goodell, the NFL has almost always waited until the legal process played out on a first-offense
That’s a really, really, big “almost” in there.
with a player or other league or team employee. This is Irsay’s first legal offense. But I don’t think Goodell is going to wait much longer, and I don’t believe Goodell will let Irsay have his day in court before he sanctions the Colts owner.
Also he’s tired of hearing how he isn’t Adam Silver. Always someone younger and prettier, eh Tom?
The reason is that there’s a lot we know already, including:
- Irsay was arrested for driving erratically on March 16.
- Irsay refused to undergo a field sobriety test. He refused to have his blood drawn to check his blood-alcohol content. Indiana authorities had to obtain a search warrant and forcibly draw blood from him on the night of his arrest.
- Irsay entered a substance-abuse rehab program immediately after the incident.
- Irsay was found with numerous bottles of prescription drugs in his car, and the drugs were not prescribed to him.
- Irsay was found with $29,000 in cash when arrested.
- Goodell has said club officials and owners “must be held to a higher standard” of behavior than players.
- Irsay now has been formally charged by the Hamilton County (Ind.) prosecutor’s office with two misdemeanors: operating a vehicle while intoxicated, and operating a vehicle with oxycodone or hydrocodone—both strong and addictive painkillers.
Just a few graphs ago we heard about a man who dropped $100K to play touch football. It’s not that far out to think a multi-millionaire could just have $29K laying around. That’s like $50 bucks to the rest of us.
The rest of all those facts sound pretty bad though. And we know them. CASE CLOSED.
Goodell could choose to wait until the case is adjudicated; that has been his M.O.
Sorry, what was that you said Mr. Pacman Jones? You object?
But there’s enough that’s solid now for him to make his call, and there’s the specter of letting an owner own while a damning case drags through the legal system, if it does drag.
And there’s one thing the commissioner must do whenever he does come down on Irsay: He has to include random testing, the same way the league random-tests players who run afoul of the drug program.
Ugh, why even bother being rich enough to have $29K walking around money if you still have to pee in a cup?
Early this month, when I was in Atlanta covering the Falcons’ draft, I ran into a retired player who launched into a screed on Irsay and how the NFL hadn’t disciplined him yet. “When that discipline comes, he ought to be tested daily,’’ the player railed. “If they can test a player 10 times a month, an owner should be tested more.”
Was Anonymous Retired Player having a drink with Anonymous GM at the Clermont Lounge? Did you have any beer recommendations for them?
On Sunday, I called the new president of the NFL Players Association, Eric Winston, and asked him about the Irsay case—and about random testing being a part of whatever sanction Goodell hands down.
“Owners own for decades,’’ Winston said. “Players, if we’re lucky, might play for a decade. If protecting the shield is the most important thing, and owners are the ones most responsible for the league’s future, the owners have to be held to a higher standard. So I don’t understand how we can be talking about comparing the punishment of a player to what the league might do to an owner. Owners should be held to the highest of standards. And I can tell you, players are watching. A lot of players are watching. This has been on players’ minds for quite a while.”
“And quite a few of them are ready to pop a bottle of champagne — responsibly of course — in celebration of an owner getting a taste of their own medicine.”
Goodell has to be considering a large fine and removing Irsay from any involvement with the Colts for months. But any penalty that doesn’t included future random testing will be dangerous and wrong-headed. Does Goodell really want to risk the specter of an impaired Irsay staggering in after a three-game losing streak and firing his coach and general manager?
Actually, that sounds pretty funny in the reality of “it would never happen even in Irsay’s wildest drinking days” that we actually live in. Goodell’s biggest fear should be Irsay giving away state secrets, like Tom Brady’s kale salad recipe.
Now for Rice.
So now Ravens running back Ray Rice and his then-fiancee and current wife Janay Palmer have appeared in front of the media and stated their cases about the February incident in which she was dragged unconscious out of an Atlantic City elevator. Other than Rice appearing repentant about the incident—and what else would he be?—I thought the press conference (with no questions) was bad for both of them, and for the Ravens.
But it was speedier than a real trial. Better to get to Judge Goodell’s part of the process sooner rather than later.
There is a growing picture emerging of what happened that night. As Chris Mortensen has reported, sources say Rice and Palmer both were physically aggressive in the elevator. Who hit whom first? What does it matter? Palmer was the one who was knocked out and had to be dragged into a hallway. And there is no excuse for hitting a woman. None. Never. If she hit Rice 10 times, he has to hit her zero times. I don’t want to hear, “She hit him first.” Two wrongs don’t make a right. Ten wrongs don’t make a right, especially when it comes to physical abuse on a woman … especially physical abuse on a woman.
Rice apologized to his owners, his coach, his teammates, his sponsors (his sponsors!), his fans … and not to his wife, sitting next to him at the press conference.
How can that be?
Things got worse. His wife then said: “I do deeply regret the role I played in the incident that night.”
It really was the worst thing to happen in football last week. If it’s so obvious that even the Nuggetor realizes you made a terrible PR mistake, you’ve made a terrible PR mistake.
I’m sure she does, and I’m sure both of them wish they could replay that evening. But for Rice to not apologize publicly to his wife, and for his wife to emotionally apologize for the incident … It left as bad a taste as possible after what should have been a cleansing event. This was a dumb event, not a cleansing one.
Back to PK being clueless. This should have been a what now? A cleansing event? Everyone feels superficial better and then we never talk about it again? For a brief second there, I thought we were going to see Peter King break free from the Shield Machine, but they sucked him right back in.
What should have happened is Rice should have said, regardless of who hit whom first, and who was responsible for tempers escalating: “I apologize to my wife for hurting her physically and emotionally that night, and I apologize to my team and those who have supported me so fervently since I’ve been in Baltimore. There is no one in this incident to blame but me. No man should ever raise a hand to a woman, regardless of the circumstances or what might have led to that moment. I am a better man than that, and I will work hard from this moment forward to try to earn the trust that I have lost back from everyone I know, and from every follower of the Baltimore Ravens. I am deeply sorry. Now I’ll answer any questions you might have.”
Well that couldn’t have been more cleansing of the truth and what really happened, spoken deeply by someone trying to save a career and a league from any shred of honesty. If we could have only publicly shamed him with questions, we would have felt much better is what King is proposing.
Opportunity wasted. Rice likely faces a short (maybe two games) suspension from the commissioner for being a first-time offender in the personal-conduct policy. He’s got a strong résumé and is greatly admired for his work in the community. He shouldn’t be thrown out with the trash. But he’s got to realize that the performance the other day was tone-deaf.
Much like the two paragraphs above.
Now we see the future of Super Bowls. Unemotionally.
When a fragile and unhealthy 87-year-old Tom Benson, the owner of the Saints, appealed for New Orleans’ 11th Super Bowl last week in Atlanta, he used the city’s 300th birthday in 2018—the year of the Super Bowl three cities were bidding for—as a big selling point. That, plus a gorgeous, new four-football-field facility where proper coaching and training techniques would be taught to youth coaches, and where down-on-their-luck retirees could go for career and life help.
Did he mention the Team Gleason home for ALS patients opening for retired players too?
All owners get five minutes to cap their cities’ presentations. Benson capped New Orleans’ bid. Jimmy Irsay capped Indianapolis’. And Mark Wilf, the son and co-owner of the Vikings, put a bow on the Minneapolis bid by saying, simply: “We need this now. The Super Bowl in 2018 will help us sell our stadium to our community far more than if we got the game two or three years later.”
“Give us this now so we can build it. Look at how well that works for the Olympics and the World Cup.”
On the fourth ballot, requiring a simple majority, Minnesota won. The Saints thought they had 15 votes, so theoretically the vote could have been 17-15, Minnesota; the owners aren’t told what the vote was. But whatever it was, the upshot was easy. Sentimentality was out. Benson likely was giving his last Super Bowl hard-sell, and it’s not every year your city has its 300th birthday. The stadium was in. Minnesota’s public-private partnership, and the arduous road the Wilfs and state legislature traveled to do the $1-billion stadium deal, carried the day.
“From talking to the owners,’’ Roger Goodell said at the Atlanta meeting, “the determining factor was the stadium in Minneapolis, and the effort they made in bringing that stadium to completion.”
Or, as one source in the room told me: “The tricentennial was huge for New Orleans, obviously. But it didn’t do anything for the rest of the owners, honestly.”
“Really, those guys in New Orleans will celebrate anything. They’ll have a massive 301 birthday party, just you wait.”
“It was so important,’’ Mark Wilf said Saturday, “because the competition for Super Bowls is not going to get less intense. New stadiums are getting built all the time. You never know after 2018 when our chance would come.”
It certainly would have come soon, because stadiums with domes in northern cities always get one game. But with the smooth and influential Arthur Blank getting spades in the ground in Atlanta last week for his new stadium—set to open in 2017—and Atlanta not having a Super Bowl since 2000, and with southern venues like Tampa Bay (last Super Bowl: 2009) and South Florida (2010) trying to break decade-long droughts, it was no lock Minnesota would have gotten the 2019 game.
And everyone might want to go back to New York again in five years! The Chargers might have a house by then, and then we need to go there! Then the Bills have a new stadium and it’s 2021 and Benson is dead by then.
What I find interesting in studying Super Bowl sites this century is that no stadium has been dominant.
NFL parity: It ain’t just for teams, unless you’re talking about off-field discipline and hey look a butterfly over there.
There are two ways to look at what the Seattle Seahawks did when they waived their sixth-round pick, Marshall tackle Garrett Scott, on Friday. You can say they blew it with their pre-draft investigative work of sixth-round tackle Garrett Scott. Or you can say it correctly—no one knew about the rare heart defect Scott had, and it never affected him in his college career, and, once the team found out, the Seahawks did a noble thing.
Seattle doctors found the heretofore undiscovered heart defect in Scott—one that hadn’t shown up at Marshall or in the NFL’s pre-draft screenings of Scott—once he came to Seattle last week. Instead of releasing Scott because he’s not going to be able to perform this season, and maybe ever again, Seattle GM John Schneider first signed Scott to a four-year contract, with a $100,000 signing bonus.
“This enables him to go and see different experts,’’ Schneider said Saturday, “and allows us to either assist in getting him back on the playing field in 2015, or helping him transition to his post-football career. We’re just blessed that our docs dug further into the player and hopefully helped save a life.”
Plus that Korey Stringer thing was expensive for the Vikings.
Joking aside though, hope this is just a Kris Letang thing and he gets to play sports again after a heart issue.
Fact-checking yet another Washington team-name debate.
I asked The MMQB’s Jenny Vrentas to weigh in on the latest back-and-forth over the controversy of dueling letters late in the week (50 U.S. senators asking for “Redskins” to be banned, club president Bruce Allen saying it’s a prideful moniker), particularly in the areas of their letters where facts are used. Her report:
Why not do this as a separate post with her own byline since it’s her report?
Let’s just skip ahead to the part Peter King wrote and his opinion, since this is about him and not her work.
Of the 49 Senators who signed the letter, 47 are democrats and two are independents. Both senators from Maryland, where Washington’s FedEx Field is located, signed in support of a name change; neither senator from Virginia, where the team has its headquarters, signed. On Thursday, Washington senator Maria Cantwell gave a speech on the Senate floor for bipartisan support of a name change. “I’m convinced that if each member of this body speaks on this issue and is forceful in their resolve that we can help initiate change,” she said.
You could have added that others reported on reasons why the Virginia senators did not sign, but seem interested in changing the name too.
My take, as one who no longer uses the team name when I write about the Washington team: This is not going away.
PK really needs to jump on the THE Washington Team with me. THE Ohio State. THE U. The definitive article must be allowed to go pro.
In fact, it’s intensifying. Bruce Allen writes a smart, cogent, mostly accurate letter, with the point the team has been making for months now—that they view the name as a noble tribute to native Americans everywhere. The fact is, there’s a burgeoning group of native Americans, which seems to grow larger by the month, that is offended by the name. Thousands, and I can’t tell you how many thousands, view the name as a slur. That number will increase as the story gains traction, which it’s doing now. Simply put, there are pockets of native Americans across the country, and an increasing cadre of politicians,
Did someone give King a word of the month calendar? Cadre twice in one piece is strange, even in an 8000 word article.
that are not going to drop this. Does owner Daniel Snyder want this to be a continuing story for years? Does the team want to keep expending energy to fight this fight, and to risk turning off the other 31 owners and the league office with a black eye that is likely to come from a protracted fight over something that has nothing to do with making the league, and the team, better?
King needs to hear from the Anonymous Owners on this already. Do they want a fight or do they want to pee in cups like the players do.
I’ve thought this for some time. At some point, at some league function or some private moment, but probably not for some time because it’s not a tidal wave of native sentiment yet,
If only there were enough Native Americans to make a splash, much less a tidal wave, which is sort of the point here.
Roger Goodell and perhaps another owner Snyder trusts will go to Snyder and ask him, “Why are you doing this? Is this worth it? If you’re offending even 15 percent of native Americans in this country—and that’s probably a low number—is it worth it?” To me, it just doesn’t make much sense for Snyder to keep fighting a fight that’s on the wrong side of history.
This is never going to happen because there is no way Dan Snyder trusts another human being on the planet. It’s going to be mandated, and it’s going to be ugly.
Quotes of the Week
I. “Russell has won more games through his first two seasons than any quarterback in history. He also became only the second African American quarterback ever to win a Super Bowl. And the best part about it is nobody commented on it, which tells you the progress that we’ve made.”
—President Obama, on quarterback Russell Wilson, during the White House ceremony celebrating the Seahawks’ Super Bowl victory on Wednesday.
Well now you have and it’s a thing. THANKS, OBUMMER.
II. “I am sorry that Marshawn is not here, because I just wanted to say how much I admire his approach to the press. (Laughter.) I wanted to get some tips from him.”
—Obama, joking (we think), about the reclusive and absent Marshawn Lynch.
“We think.” No one could hate the press, could they PK? Absolutely no one. Maybe if Obama always an Anonymous President.
III. “I’m not going to get into speculating on what’s going to happen, what could happen, what will happen. There’s nothing really I could further add to this line of questioning. You can take bamboo shoots and stick them under my fingernails, and there still wouldn’t be any more I could add further to this discussion.”
—San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh, in a testy exchange with San Jose Mercury News columnist Tim Kawakami concerning the organization’s stance on oft-accused linebacker Aldon Smith.
Sounds like someone has finally checked out the Bay’s large S&M scene.
V “He’s a man’s man. He knows how to lead alpha males. The culture that he’s forming here with the help of [GM] Phil Emery and the McCaskeys and everyone upstairs, I’ve never been around it. He puts us in position every single day to grow as men.”
—Brandon Marshall, expressing his appreciation to Bears coach Marc Trestman at a press conference announcing the wide receiver’s three-year contract extension.
How soon do you think we stop hearing the term “alpa male” around the league?
The press conference, from a distance, seemed extraordinary for how many people Marshall included in his gratitude. Marshall, according to Dan Wiederer of the Chicago Tribune, thanked 56 different people for the contract—including Bears media czar Jim Christman, for his counsel, for fixing his tie, for the post-game gum, and for the Chapstick. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a football player thank that many people for making his life so good.
He didn’t thank the pee cup collector, so he cannot be that happy.
Factoids of the Week That May Interest Only Me
I. You have gotten to know Andy Benoit, I am sure, from his exhaustive work at The MMQB over the past year. He’s insightful and football-insatiable, and a delightful guy to be around. The other day, Andy, who was on the East Coast to do some homework at NFL Films, stopped by and a few of us at The MMQB met him for lunch downstairs from our midtown Manhattan offices.
Downstairs but not upstairs because we cannot let the bloggers know they have rights too.
Andy is a bachelor. He lives in Boise. He told us he has two cats: the quite unathletic Calico cat, Mister Fizzles, who he inherited from his sister a couple of years ago (“Mister Fizzles might have been raised by potheads; that is just not an agile cat,” Andy said), and the athlete in the feline family, Othercat.
“I didn’t know what to call him,” Andy reported. “He just came into my place one day. He came right into my living room, like he’d been there for years. I was caught off-guard by his bravado and whenever I spoke to Mr. Fizzles, I felt obligated to speak to the other cat in the room too. So I just started call him ‘Othercat.’ Not ‘Other space Cat.’ One word: Othercat. It just stuck. One day my parents were over for dinner and they were aghast at the name, implored me to change it and that’s when I dug in my heels.”
“I did genuinely believe—and still believe—that it is a great name.”
Othercat evidently likes the name, according to Benoit. “I call out the door, ‘Othercat!’ And he appears!”
Nearly 200 words on a cat’s name. My apologies for only using about five words when discussing Ape’s cat’s name earlier today.
II. Andy Benoit likes two drinks and two drinks only: water and skim milk. He recently had ginger ale for the first time.
“It’s like Sprite,’’ he reported. “Only more sophisticated.”
The sort of take you expect for someone who used to contribute to The New York Times.
A bachelor calls his cat Othercat who only drinks water and skim milk. No wonder people get nervous around stats wonks.
Mr. Starwood Preferred Travel Note of the Week
Because I have not been to Portland, Ore., much in my life, I didn’t know the city had a thriving community of food trucks and carts. Last Tuesday, on a walk through downtown Portland, I was amazed to see an incredible variety of food available in small trailers, all set up in an open-air parking lot in the center of the city, facing out on a square of sidewalks surrounding the parking lot. Transylvania food. Iraqi food. Georgian food. (Not Georgia the southern state; Georgia the country, halfway around the world.)
This is how you know someone is really on a diet, all they can think about is food.
I was walking at about 7:30 in the morning, and so most of the carts weren’t open yet. But if you came back at lunchtime, here’s a sample in one square block what you could have had for your midday meal:
Basil pesto penne. … Chocolate crepes. … Tofu burrito. … Chicken paprikash. … A sausage, cooked in a cheesy pretzel dough. … A German bratwurst. … Fresh lamb Green salad. … Lemongrass noodle salad, with tofu. … Fried mahi-mahi, with mac and cheese.
Leave it to the hippies in Portland to ruin a perfectly good piece of fish.
… Fresh Peruvian bean bowl. … Yakitori (salted and peppered Japanese chicken thighs).
Football fans aren’t dumb, PK. I posted about yakitori for a Foodball recipe like six or seven years ago.
… Scottish fish and chips. … Gluten-free meat loaf platter. … A “Spicy Goat” waffle, with peppered salami, arugula and pistachios. … A Cajun shrimp hoagie.
Hey, Mr. Starwood. You’ve been to New Orleans approximately a hundred times. You know the difference between a hoagie and a po’boy. I mean look at the next thing on the list:
… A Philly cheesesteak.
You’d never call it a cheesesteak po’boy. Get it together, man. You haven’t been dieting so long that you’ve forgotten the names of sandwiches.
… Stuffed Georgian dumplings. … Fresh Brazilian roast coffee, the aroma of which filled the air as Portlandians walked to work.
That’s all in one square block.
You know, not unlike major farmers markets in cities, like New York.
Ole Latte, where the Brazilian roast was brewing, was thriving among the commuters going to work downtown. The 27-year-old barista, Rachael Metzger (“Barista is another word for daytime bartender,” she said),
Bartender is just another word for nothing left to lose.
filled me in on the culture. “Obviously the overhead’s not as much as the brick-and-mortar stores,’’ she said. “And it gives such a variety to the food scene in Portland. People just love coming to the food trucks and food carts.”
So do people in every other city. There is being behind and there is being six years late to a trend.
No time to chat. Customers.
“My usual Starbucks barista talks to me for at least five minutes, earning that fifty cent tip.”
“Hey David! Costa Rica today?” Rachael said.
David: “Nooooo. Brazil. My favorite. How was your weekend, Rachael?”
This is the worst “Portlandia” spec I’ve read.
Stat of the Week
With the Packers’ plans to use Julius Peppers as a hybrid defensive weapon—part-rush outside linebacker, part-two-way defensive end, part-three-technique tackle—I think the 34-year-old free-agent will turn out to be a good investment for Green Bay. But defensive coordinator Dom Capers will have to be imaginative to reverse the recent decline in Peppers’ game. Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy is obviously hoping the combination of being rejuvenated (Green Bay was his first choice in free agency), being able to hide in Green Bay (he’s a reserved guy), having another good pass-rush threat in Clay Matthews opposite him (if Matthews can stay healthy), and having a defensive coordinator (Capers) who will know how to free him up bodes well for Peppers in 2014. As these Pro Football Focus numbers show from his four seasons in Chicago, Capers and Peppers will have to be on their game to make the Pack’s three-year investment worth it:
Year Plays Sacks QB hits Pressures Total QB sacks/pressures/hits
2010 1,069 8.0 13 46 67
2011 918 11 5 53 69
2012 797 11.5 7 37 55.5
2013 865 7.5 6 27 40.5
Plus, he’s older and had time to work on his mechanics.
Tweets of the Week
I know you can’t suppress news. But how long before another rampage from someone who wants to be famous like Elliot Rodger?
— Scott Simon (@nprscottsimon) May 25, 2014
The NPR host posed this question on Saturday night in the wake of another slaughter, this one killing seven and wounding six near a college campus in California, by another demented kid with a grudge against people and access to guns.
The opposite is to do what? Not examining what makes a person kill? Not discussing the disturbed and the disturbing that dangerously walk among us? Scott Simon is a smart person, but the idea we cannot use a person’s name is reprehensible. Did he run out of characters to use “infamous” in his Tweet?
Ten Things I Think I Think
1. I think that was a great job by Tim Graham of the Buffalo News, going to Los Angeles and coming up with a depressing picture of the future of the NFL in L.A. two decades after the Rams and Raiders last played there. The money quote from Graham’s story, from long-time Los Angeles city councilman Bernard Parks: “I’ve finally, personally come to a conclusion. I have to resign myself to the fact the NFL is not coming.” Strong words from one of the biggest NFL flag-wavers in town.
2. I think, Sam Farmer, I will wait for your retort. Or your forecast.
You mean how @LATFarmer already linked to the Buffalo News piece? Think Farmer knows what’s up by now.
3. I think I hope Bill Belichick—as he did last week on SiriusXM NFL Radio—continues to press for replay on any call made in any game. For those who say it will lead to five-hour games, come on. It won’t increase the number of challenges each coach has per game; it will simply provide another bit of insurance against a blown call changing the outcome of a game.
Did Peter actually hope this or did Tom Brady just intuit this thought while driving to work?
9. I think—and this is not a football note, but a societal one—following the Mark Cuban controversy of the past few days, what he said at worst was borderline racist. Borderline. I wouldn’t have said it, but…
Oh boy. Here it comes.
I also wouldn’t have attacked him for it.
Let the first latte-toting, nugget-producing man who crosses the street when faced with a hoodie cast the first stone.
Pretty soon, no public figure will say anything, ever, at all, that is borderline controversial. We’re forcing all free-thinkers and speakers to measure everything they say and then come out with pablum, or else risk facing some hurricane of anger in some social segment of this world—on Twitter, or some other forum—whether it’s truly deserved or not.
Doubtful. Not when there are so many egotistical Anonymous General Managers and Anonymous Owners still to speak.
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. Happy 73rd, Bob Dylan. (It was Saturday.)
Such a Baby Boomer thing.
b. Happy 74th, Brent Musberger (today).
Why not send him a card? At least Musberger would probably read a card and not have plow through 8000 words first. Think of his poor eyes.
c. Waking up Sunday morning, which of the following would you have believed more likely: Manny Ramirez named player-coach of the Triple-A Iowa Cubs, or Kim Kardashian selling everything to follow the Dalai Lama?
Vague-ly Red Sox related news time.
d. Call me crazy (many do), but I think Manny actually might be good at it. He was a nut job, but he worked pretty hard to be good. And Theo Epstein wouldn’t have done this if he thought Manny would infect his prospects with nonsense.
No, they probably wanted a coach that wouldn’t cash his checks so they could save on payroll.
f. Runs scored by Red Sox in first inning Saturday at Tampa Bay: 5. Runs scored in previous 16 innings, and next 14 innings: 0.
g. I do not approve of the Stephen Drew signing. I approve of growing pains with a future star shortstop, Xander Bogaerts, instead of slapping him in the face after six weeks of mediocre play in the field at a time when his peers are juniors in college.
Go tell it to your Sox LiveJournal already. I’m trying to read about food trucks and cat names here.
k. One more story from the week that I absolutely loved: Joe Rhodes of the New York Times journeying to Vancouver to tell the tale of soccermania in nutty MLS markets Vancouver, Portland and Seattle. Always thought—and I told MLS commish Don Garber this—he should put the league office in Seattle, so it would be in the middle of three markets that treat the league closest to the way the English treat their major league.
Don Garber “Who are you again? I’m just waiting in line at this food truck for some mahi-mahi, sir.”
l. Soccer is coming. And those who says it’ll always be a minor sport here, read that story about the impact of the game on the Pacific Northwest, and then be with me in my New York City apartment Saturday afternoon, with the windows open. At one point, I heard a sustained roar. I looked out to see folks overflowing out of a jam-packed bar. Someone must have scored in the Champions League final, I thought. That’s right. Twitter exploded with the news about five seconds later.
Also, weekend day drinking which is a great excuse to watch soccer.
n. Coffeenerdness: See my take on Portland coffee trucks on Page 4.
You actually didn’t say how good the coffee was. Did you have a latte? Did you tell your nutritionist? They’re like a priest, you have to tell them everything for it to work.
o. Beernerdness: My beer of pleasure on the trip to the Pacific Northwest last week: Breakside IPA (Breakside Brewing, Portland, Ore.), which has a clean and smooth taste—and the slightest aftertaste of a pine cone. That should be gross. But it was tremendous. Love that beer.
Why would that be gross? Do you even know how IPAs and hops even work?
p. Johnny Manziel. Champagne rainstorm. TMZ. Las Vegas. Manziels will be Manziels.
Again, they told him to act like a backup. Not his fault if the first page of the backup guidebook is a picture of Matt Leinart in a hot tub.
You can’t tell the story of
Pat Tillman enough.
Evoke the season
To be a proper haiku
Summer is coming.
I want more like this!
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