On Holidays, Heroes and A Patriot Named Brady

Colts owner Jim Irsay is facing discipline from the NFL following his arrest in March for operating a vehicle while intoxicated. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)
Colts owner Jim Irsay is facing discipline from the NFL following his arrest in March for operating a vehicle while intoxicated. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

Police blotter.

Most prevalent question from 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 question is usually phrased something like this: What the #%^*+ is Goodell doing, punishing guys for marijuana and letting that $%#@ Irsay skate free?

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 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.

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 a controlled substance in the body. The substance, prosecutors allege, was “oxycodone and/or hydrocodone”—both strong and addictive painkillers.

Goodell could choose to wait until the case is adjudicated; that has been his M.O. 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. 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.”

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.”

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?

* * *

Now for Rice. 

So now Ravens running back Ray Rice and his wife, Janay Palmer, have appeared in front of the media and stated their cases about the February incident in which Palmer, at the time Rice’s fiancée, was dragged unconscious out of an Atlantic City elevator. Other than Rice’s 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.

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.

Janay Rice and her husband Ray addressed the media for the first time since an incident at an Atlantic City, N.J., casino in February. (Patrick Semansky/AP)
Janay Rice and her husband, Ray, addressed the media for the first time since an incident at an Atlantic City, N.J., casino in February. (Patrick Semansky/AP)

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.”

I’m sure she does, and I’m sure both of them wish they could replay that evening. But for Rice not to 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.

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 back the trust that I have lost 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.”

Opportunity wasted. Rice likely faces a short (maybe two-game) suspension from the commissioner for being a first-time offender under 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.

* * * 

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.

Vikings owner Zygi Wilf was elated after Minneapolis won the right to host Super Bowl LII in 2018. (David Goldman/AP)
Vikings owner Zygi Wilf was elated after Minneapolis won the right to host Super Bowl LII in 2018. (David Goldman/AP)

All owners get five minutes to cap their cities’ presentations. Benson capped New Orleans’ bid. Jimmy Irsay capped Indianapolis’. And Mark Wilf, owner/president of the Vikings and brother of principal owner Zygi Wilf, 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.”

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.”

“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 droughts that will be a decade long by the time the game comes around, it was no lock Minnesota would have gotten the 2019 Super Bowl.

What I find interesting in studying Super Bowl sites this century is that no stadium has been dominant. Five sites have gotten two games (Tampa, New Orleans, Miami, Arizona and Houston) of the 19 games that have been played or awarded since 2000. Look at the five games beginning with New Jersey in 2014, and you see the stadium commonality:

                  2014—MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J. Opened in 2010.

                  2015—University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz. Opened in 2006.

                  2016—Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, Calif. Scheduled to open in 2014.

                  2017—NRG Stadium (formerly Reliant), Houston. Opened in 2002.

                  2018—Vikings Stadium, Minneapolis. Scheduled to open in 2016.

Average stadium opening date for those five venues: 2009. Thus, the smart money would be on Atlanta in 2019.

* * *

A classy $100k.

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 on him. 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—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.”

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435 comments
سلطانالشراري
سلطانالشراري

Turlough's first song? A hilarious and rather touching rendition of I'm Calm from A Funny Thing Happened On the Way To the Forum, with him offsetting his character's obvious nerves by frantically blowing into a paper bag in between phrases. A must-listen in the run-up to Christmas.

يوتيوب اهداف دوري عبداللطيف جميل
http://www.btls-photo.com/?video=class&class=51

سلطانالشراري
سلطانالشراري

Turlough's first song? A hilarious and rather touching rendition of I'm Calm from A Funny Thing Happened On the Way To the Forum, with him offsetting his character's obvious nerves by frantically blowing into a paper bag in between phrases. A must-listen in the run-up to Christmas. 
يوتيوب اهداف دوري عبداللطيف جميل
http://www.btls-photo.com

ProfessorGriff
ProfessorGriff

Peter - talk about these nuts with the guns.  Nothing wrong with them mentally except that they want their 15 minutes of fame, simply put.  I have that people try to cover for them saying they have mental defect which is complete BS.  They are just evil and heartless.

Edward George
Edward George

Peter......I have a question. Since the NFL wants to be popular on a National and International stage, why then is the Super Bowl ONLY played at NFL team facilities? For example, why not allow a game to be played in a wonderful tourist destination such as San Antonio or some large college football facility? If the 'good ole boys NFL ownership click' (because of the almighty dollar) will not allow such a concept, then at least rotate the games to each NFL town. Should towns like Pittsburgh never get a game while towns like New Orleans get the game a disproportionate number of times!!?? Just a thought!


Ed George

balo030869
balo030869

Brady OVERRATED, can not win a SB not knowing in advance what the defense' s play is going to be.  Life is hard after Spygate

Knowitall
Knowitall

Peter - FLASH. Topics for next week's MMQB

1) Shameful, disgraceful treatment of REAL Patriots in our VA system - and no explanation or action to correct it from the Adminstration. No clever Obama quote so far, but I'm sure you can find one.

2) Gross incompetence in disclosing the identity of the Head of the CIA in Afghanistan

3) Critcism of Hollywood's promotion of a depraved, moral-less culture and it's corruptive affect on mentally disturbed people like the Santa Barbara killer. (see the Washington Post).

You might have to pass on football entirely next week, Peter. Just too damn much going on in your sweet spot.

mike202
mike202

“While [native Americans’ interests] might not be front and center in mid-Atlantic states, I guarantee they are a very integrated part of our economy in the Pacific Northwest and in other parts of the U.S.,” Cantwell said. “I just think that the NFL is out of touch with that and is just parroting the line the team has, which is definitely a very out-of-touch perspective.”


As the former Chairwoman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, Maria Cantwell should be well aware that of the 29 tribes in her home state of Washington, 11 have schools whose nickname is Redskins.

vince2
vince2

PK has become increasingly political, when he talks about anything!!!  He's driving me crazy.  I won't use the Washington franchise's nickname.  Ray Rice should have [insert PK's own views - including apologizing to his wife in public - when he obviously is dealing with her in a real way, not some bs public relations way.] I'm getting so tired of his preaching and moralizing and telling us how a gay draftee is the most important thing in the world and on and on and on.  The worst part is that I share some of his views, but I think it's offensive for him to act holier than not only thou but everyone.  Can't wait until he tells us why the Pope is wrong on birth control and what Muslims should really be concerned about and how women should have equal rights, but should always be treated differently (never, ever, ever, not ever hit a woman, even if she's about to split your head with a crowbar).  PK - you've made me a hater.  Luckily it's confined to you. 

vince2
vince2

Brady's math is the best.  Hate to tell you, Tommie, but 1% four weeks in a row still works out to 1%!

mike.stevey23
mike.stevey23

In Peters 10 things is think i think


Does anyone know what article he is talking about in terms of soccers impact on the northwest?


I would love to give it a read but cant seem to find it.

Robert Karp
Robert Karp

Hi Peter, I know you're a big Red Sox fan, but didn't they sign Drew, because Will Middlebrooks is on the DL and Bogaerts is being moved to 3B?

BlackDog
BlackDog

TroyBoy, you write:


"And I still think that, unless a man or someone he cares about is being physically threatened by a woman, striking her is cowardly and wrong. End of story. I suspect that was what Peter meant with his statement."


Peter King is an accomplished writer who chooses his words with care. If that's what he meant, he would have said so. Instead, he stated, "There is no excuse for hitting a woman. None. Never."


I, and many other commenters, have pointed out the fallacy of this mantra. That's the purpose of discussion boards like this -- to arrive at a deeper understanding of an issue, and to move closer to truth.


Frank 

TroyBoy
TroyBoy

I love how any viewpoint posted on the internet can cause outrage and people scrambling to disprove it. Men hitting women is disgusting except in extreme circumstances. In most cases, a man is physically stronger than a woman. Are there women who fight, who are great athletes, who are into bodybuilding? Sure. And I still think that, unless a man or someone he cares about is being physically threatened by a woman, striking her is cowardly and wrong. End of story. I suspect that was what Peter meant with his statement.


The upshot? To commenters trying to make yourself look clever with extreme scenarios: it isn't working.

BlackDog
BlackDog

Peter,


Great column, as always.  But you write, in connection with Ray Rice, that: "There is no excuse for hitting a woman. None. Never."


What if the woman outweighs the man by 100 pounds, and is choking him to death?

What if the woman, crazed on drugs, is slamming her infant's head against a wall?

What if the woman is a terrorist, and about to detonate a bomb on a crowded street.



Politically correct mantras  don't always stand the test of the real world.


Frank

Brig
Brig

So.......they're slow on the draw to punish Irsay and Rice because of the legal process being played out,  I get that.  But what's the hold up on Aldon Smith?

SkokieDog
SkokieDog

"To me, it just doesn’t make much sense for Snyder to keep fighting a fight that’s on the wrong side of history." 

And to me, it just doesn't make much sense for a sportswriter to use such a weak argument to claim that the debate is now closed. This reads like a sound bite from a political press conference. Why not just write, "the science of naming teams is now settled"?

armagecko
armagecko

"And there is no excuse for hitting a woman. None. Never." 


Gone to insensitivity training lately, Mr. King? How can a liberal journalist have missed the last 40 years of the women's rights movement? While I'm sure your misguided comments make you feel all chivalrous inside, they only continue to perpetuate the subjugation of women in our society. Women can be just as dangerous and as lethal as any man (google Maria Jiminez, Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester or even Calamity Jane). You've probably never heard of Renne Toney, Rhonda Rousey or Becca Swanson. If any one of these women were to hit you, you wouldn't remember your planet of origin. I'll bet none them think they need protection from a pudgy old man with an overactive guilt complex. In addition, women have proudly served in battlefield operations for over a decade. Insurgents in other countries have used women in combat for centuries. Brave men (and women) in our armed forces have not only hit - they have killed - other women. Now, you say that this was in some way less of an appropriate or "manly" action. On Memorial Day, no less! 


Women don't need your "protection", creep. They need and deserve equal rights under the law, equal opportunities in education and the workplace, and equal treatment in the media. You are ignorant and pathetic, and you should apologize for being a chauvinist pig. After your apology, I think you should resign for your offensive, insensitive and troglodytical comments. I hope that the feminist voices prosecute you as you and the self-assigned "media morality police" have done to the "offensive" Redskins. 



FranklinMint
FranklinMint

"To me, it just doesn’t make much sense for Snyder to keep fighting a fight that’s on the wrong side of history."


You don't make history by bowing to it. You make it by bucking it. I think there's a real potential here for the NFL Redskins to rehabilitate the term from a slur to at least a neutral term, if not an honorific. That might not be their actual goal, but I think it's a potential one. 


Maybe, just maybe, with the Redskins' help, at some point in the future no one will remember that the term had negative connotations and no one will use or consider the term a slur, and the word will lose all power to harm. That should be the ultimate goal, and if there being a very popular team with that name can help that process, we should definitely take that into account when deciding what should be done.

The5wineFlu
The5wineFlu

It is BS to say there is never a reason to hit a woman.  There can be a reason.  What if she pulls a weapon on you and is intent on doing serious damage to you or another?

Wolfpack
Wolfpack

Since we are changing names that offend us, I'd like to change the New England Patriots name.  It offends me that only New Englanders are recognized as "Patriots".  I want to change all team names that represent animals because I'm offended that they didn't ask permission to use animal names and I'm sure that PETA doesn't like it and will organize protests.  I'd like to change the Raiders and Buccaneers' names because I'm offended that it glorifies a terrible time in our nation's history.  I even want to change the San Diego Chargers name even though I don't know what a Charger is other than a plate at the dinner table, and as a guy, it offends me that I know that!

WhateverItTakes
WhateverItTakes

"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."  Really?  No, Mr. Brady, it's still 1 percent, just 1 percent of a bigger number.

Kevin1
Kevin1

@ProfessorGriff  you do know that he stabbed 3 of his victims, don't you ??? oh that's right, the media (including Peter) didn't tell you that. I wonder why ?

blynder
blynder

@Edward George

I thought there was some discussion maybe 2 years ago about having a Super Bowl in London or some other venue.  The revenue does play a huge role in it; the "but" statements were about people getting there (affordably - which is kind of ironic when you look at who goes and how much tickets actually cost) and putting butts in the seats. 

Having it at a venue like San Anton or one of the larger College venue's is interesting - but working in Higher Ed I have doubts as to whether or not they'd go for something like that.  The $$$ would have to be pretty enticing.

VanHayhow
VanHayhow

@balo030869 Ever try logical thinking? Reading your post, I would guess not. In the last two superbowls the Pats lost, they had a lead into the final time period which the defense could not hold.

SteveRowFla
SteveRowFla

@vince2 Here here. I couldn't agree more. The funniest part was defending Cuban (as would I) and his right to free speech, while castigating REDSKINS fans and ownership.

Jeff1992
Jeff1992

@vince2   Actually, you're wrong.  The formula would be:  (100% - 1 %) ^4   and the answer is 96.06% !! Or a 4% cumulative degradation is performance from 100%.


FranklinMint
FranklinMint

@The5wineFlu What if she's actually the she-hulk and turns all green and muscled and comes at you with a sledgehammer?


Sure, you can come up with all sorts of hypotheticals from the unlikely to the ridiculous, but I think you and anyone with a functional brain gets his actual point. 

rwill27
rwill27

@Wolfpack  There is only one team that uses a racial slur for their name.

Hienieken
Hienieken

@WhateverItTakes C'mon man.  It's athletes and numbers.  These are the same group of guys that are always giving 110 or 120% effort.  How do you give more than 100% effort?

ShaunSterling
ShaunSterling

@WhateverItTakes Actually, your analogy only works of 1% from a bigger(or smaller depending on framework basis) number if your talking about the change the last week from the previous week, but his point was from the starting point, not from the 3rd week to the 4th week. 

ShaunSterling
ShaunSterling

@WhateverItTakes What?


What do you mean 1% of a bigger number? Actually, if your mechanics drift 1% each week, at the end its ALMOST 4%. Because each time 1% is of a SMALLER number if your using an absolute accuracy percentage, but if your talking about drifting 1% each week from a geometrical range, like 1% left or up or what have you and you don't backtrack in any direction then you could justify the 4% comment. Either way it depends on the basis, but 1% of a bigger number I am not sure how you are coming up with that, maybe it works but in what framework of comparison?

Ron5
Ron5

@FranklinMint @The5wineFlu his actual point is about as sexist as you can get, I wonder if no-neck has heard that women box, wrestle and play football? They don't need a lard-a like King to protect them.

mike202
mike202

@rwill27 @Wolfpack The Cleveland Indians is also a racial slur if will.  Indians is as much of a slur as Redskins is

Tbone5150
Tbone5150

@Ron5 @FranklinMint @The5wineFlu Its actually a little funny that by supporting Rice's girlfriend, Super Lib Peter is actually being sexist in thinking that she couldn't handle her business. Hitting anyone male, female or other is never OK. Sex has nothing to do with it PK.

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