Here's some sporting finger food to chomp on while awaiting Tom Brady's march to the federal courts for an "Armageddon" on "Deflategate." Yeah, sure; that'll be the day! But if Quarterback Brady would be nuts to go that route -- once his NFL appeal gets soundly dismissed -- Owner Kraft would be certified insane to allow it.
Can we just end it?
Brady hasn't much more to lose, in this mess. He's had his Merriwellian image watered down to rather more realistic dimensions; whittled overnight in the Foxborough Camelot from a Galahad to more of a Modred in but a wave of a Merlin's wand and a puff or two from a bloody football. And nothing will change that.
Even if it were attainable -- highly unlikely at best -- some measure of exoneration in the evolving appeal process would regale only the choir while leaving the rest of that small slice of humanity that actually gives a dang smirking in varying degrees of derision.
Face it, if you love the Patriots -- which means you hang out somewhere between Eastport and Block Island and no further west than the Berkshires -- you can weep for poor Tom and deplore his alleged martyrdom without seeming thoroughly delusional. It's the perfect right for over-the-top fans to see no evil in that which they adore. Lord knows they pay for the privilege. But if you're not thus afflicted you've already closed the book on this nonsense. Kraft, Brady, and company would be wise if they did the same.
Kraft has little to gain from going to the mattress in this farce; maybe no more than trivial bragging rights, some balm for his pride, and a couple of recovered draft picks with the draft picks being the most valuable of the three commodities. There's money at odds here too but it's the least of the issues.
On the other hand, Kraft has tons to lose. He'd tie up his franchise in controversy and confusion indefinitely; hugely aggravating. He'd burn his bridges in the league, permanently estranging his old pal the commissioner while risking priceless access to the power and influence he's clearly prized. He'd even more gravely alienate his lodge brothers in the ownership consortium. Suing them -- effectively what he'd be doing -- would be regarded as the ultimate violation of the near Masonic codes and canons that bind this band of brigands. They would never forgive him. As the Herald's Ron Borges has smartly observed, if he goes this route he'll become ''the new Al Davis.'' That's no distinction.
The late renegade owner of the Raiders, Davis alone has ever been bold enough to sue his NFL partners and he paid a heavy price with about 20 years of being faintly tolerated, widely ignored, and ultimately cast irrelevant. A true gadfly, Al Davis didn't give a hoot. A consummate insider, Bob Kraft does!
Kraft has his dander up so he might talk himself into this Quixotian misadventure on the grounds it's somehow noble. But however quaint, it could prove classically delusional.
It's hard to believe Kraft and Brady would welcome court action with all those wonderful depositions and sworn testimony, every inch of it subjectable to the fiercest cross examination, and don't forget to bring your cell-phones, text messages and e-mail records with you, boys. If it happens, a highlight doubtless will be locker-room attendant Jim McNally and ball-boy John Jastremski -- the working stiffs who took the fall -- standing up under oath to tell nothing but the whole truth, etc.
And, in the end, for what? Brady and Kraft need to be reminded that Roger Clemens won his case in federal court and how much good did that do him? Use your heads, gentlemen, and cut your losses!
Who's the boss?
On to hockey, where the best action and controversy are to be found on the ice where it belongs, with the Stanley Cup Playoffs raging at a level of quality, never better. The exception, alas, is in Boston where in the boardroom of the Bruins the Original Amateur Hour is presumably still trying to figure out what to do next. We say "presumably" because it's hard to know for sure, there being only a profound silence emitting of late.
It's been fully a month since Charlie Jacobs and Cam Neely bounced GM Peter Chiarelli in what seemed a temper tantrum and which now seems even more childish as it increasingly appears they have no idea how they'll replace Chiarelli and with whom, although they'd love to hire an ex-employee they ran off years ago who now works for the NY Rangers; but if they think Rangers' boss Glen Sather will do them any favors they're more naÔve than feared. Meanwhile, dutiful Don Sweeney remains patiently waiting in the wings. But if fearless co-pilots, Jacobs and Neely really believe Sweeney is the man for the job they could have hired him about 10 minutes after they gleefully canned Chiarelli, who -- by the way -- swiftly landed a much cushier job in Edmonton.
If all this seems confusing it's because it is and if it seems unpromising it's also because it is. Maybe Sather in the end will be merciful and maybe the cow will also jump over the moon.
Compounding the GM issue is the coaching issue. Most undeservedly, Claude Julien has been obliged to twiddle his thumbs and wonder what's to become of him while the GM question remains unresolved. Having a juicy new contract in his pocket -- thanks to Chiarelli -- he gets paid no matter the outcome. Still it's a rude comeuppance for Julien, a much respected class-act in this game who has served this team well even if -- for the sake of argument -- last season was not his best, although I'd be hard-pressed to explain why he was to blame even if I believed he was to blame.
Julien deserves better. Troublesome is the fact that the new co-pilots, still deeply enmeshed in their ongoing on-the-job training, obviously don't realize this. Where the Bruins are concerned, one suddenly is not sanguine.
Do we really need them?
While the improbable Olympics cause in Boston continues to bounce along fitfully some fresh new discordant notes from Brazil where they've lately finished tussling with one global sporting mega-event and are bracing to combat another are worth passing along.
The horror stories left over from last year's World Cup soccer festival are piling up while the bills add up amidst a sea of promises gone awry. It's an all-too familiar tale.
When this desperately poor third world country pledged the equivalent of a half billion US bucks for the construction of a magnificent 70,000 seat stadium in Brasilia it was justified on the grounds that after the games it would become municipal property serving the city's educational system and there were extravagant assurances. But it turns out Brasilia now can't even afford maintaining the property let alone utilizing it; so after lying abandoned a year it's become a parking lot for Brasilia's public bus system and that's what it will apparently remain.
A half billion dollar parking lot; sounds right! Actually there are four huge and handsome stadia that were built for the World Cup in Brazil now being pronounced worthless "white elephants" with their original cost now being compounded daily by maintenance costs. It all amounts to a burden one official commenting on NPR termed "disastrous" in a country that well knows the meaning of that word.
And now Brazil has the Olympics on the way, set to begin next summer. Just what this beleaguered nation needs! In their latest report, host officials admit only 10 percent of the 56 promised major Olympic projects in and around Rio de Janeiro are finished and fully 25 percent haven't even been started with the prospect of the original roughly $26 billion dollar budget now being doubled. There's nothing new about this story but it bears repeating.
Boston isn't Brazil, you say. That can't happen here. We are a provincial people. What else might we say? But have you not heard this song before?
Clark Booth is a renowned Boston sports writer and broadcast journalist. He spent much of his long career at Bostonís WCVB-TV Chanel 5 as a correspondent specializing in sports, religion, politics and international affairs.
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