Government, Politics, Sports

Performing Under Pressure

Pats & Pres

Number 12 couldn’t make it.

In the locker room~

“Everyone listen up! Step forward everybody who wants to go to the White House!

Scrambled scraping of chairs, shuffling and stamping of feet.  Clearing of throats and nervous coughing.

“Uh, not you Tom.”

Sometimes it’s just not in the cards, and my suspicion is that we didn’t get the whole story when the New England Patriots visited the White House, on their own, without star QB Tom Brady.

The official excuse from the Brady household was that he had a family commitment.  More likely, he was rushed to find one after a round of calls between the back offices of the NFL, Ted Wells, the White House, and of course, the Patriots.

Is there anyone who really believes Tom Brady blew off the President and the Oval Office for a family picnic?  This is the same NFL star who managed to leave town and his family for 12 games during the season,  including the SuperBowl.

Political writers suggested he was a staunch conservative and anti-Obama.  And would never show.


Keeping Up Appearances At The White House

My hunch is that the powers that be had set up their dance cards about two days after deflategate hit the news. There’s no way that the obsessive meeting planners at the White House only thought in February to ask the Super Bowl champs to visit.

More likely they cued the caterer and photographer last November, don’t you think?  They probably had brackets displayed across the kitchen wall for months.

And the adminions-in-charge would have their antenna up for any possible smudge that could sully a Presidential photo op.   Remember, Aaron Hernandez, another Patriot, was on trial for murder at the same time.

Without question, the President would have to tap dance a bit if the deflated football story didn’t turn out well.

And it didn’t.

Special investigator Ted Wells was assigned to the case February 14, and May 6 he delivered his verdict.

The timing was precisioned too. With the deftness of a Manhattan social maven, Wells stalled past March Madness. Got beyond the MLB spring opener. Stretched it through tax day. Slid through the White House visit.   Let the NFL draft event take place.  And then 4 days later dropped the hammer.

The President was spared the embarrassment of hosting a person who was under a cloud. But to be sure, they burnt his invitation.

Their hunch was right, and they probably had it confirmed by Wells, or NFL’s Roger Goodell, weeks before.

To save face everywhere, Tom Brady stayed at home to see the fam, because after all, when it comes to what counts, politics is definitely low  priority.

Or is it?

Media, Politics, Sports

Complicated Is Right


Will Estes and Tom Selleck tackle a dilemma.

Our favorite TV police commissioner is Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck, Blue Bloods, CBS) who presents at least one pithy moral judgement at the Reagan family dinner table on Sundays.   Lately, he said: “Doing the right thing may be hard, but it’s not complicated.”

So it probably was hard, and not complicated for NBC to say ‘anchors away’ to Brian Williams, who will go without work or pay for 6 months.

As a loyal fan of the NBC News show, I will miss Mr. Williams, but at the same time, the quick action of his management will save his reputation for another day.   (It begs the question, when he returns in August, will he have a weathered tan, beard and shaggy hair, shod in Birkenstocks?)

This week the American audience had another cold shower when the International Little League stripped the Jackie Robinson West baseball team of their 2014 U.S. Championship title.

The flames haven’t quite burnt out in this issue, as a legal suit is now underway against the League contesting the decision.   But there might be kudos for the individual or group who made the vacating decision.   We’ll wait to see.

In these two instances however, one must respect the gumption of the decision makers, to essentially throw away the enormous investment of public goodwill and the positive momentum directed at both Williams and the Little Leaguers during their respective arcs.

The Jackie Robinson West team, reputedly disadvantaged Chicago south siders, practiced and played their way to the top of the heap, a great story.   Brian Williams, hardly disadvantaged, but still trusted and loved as America’s #1 rated news anchor… could he just be a celebrity entertainer after all?

These are huge disappointments.   But due to some tough decisions, the integrity of the Little League, and of the NBC News can be preserved.   There won’t be any nagging thoughts and “yeah-buts” in the future.

Which raises another troubling question: what about those deflated footballs?

Is it possible that the NFL will escape the painful compression point of making a decision some day?   Does the investigation, effectively in place since January 22, continue long enough that the public loses interest as MLB Spring Training hovers on the horizon?

It must be tough in NFL headquarters, especially when the public saw one of the best games ever, with impossible catches, Tom Brady with his 4th Super Bowl ring, Katy Perry and her sharks, and the incomprehensible Lenny Kravitz dazzling us at half time.

Against that euphoric background, and pumped up with countless $4.5 million ad spots, it will be very, very hard for the NFL to stick a pin in the balloon if the investigation turns up any factual details of malfeasance.

In the mean time, we’ll coast through to the next Super Bowl, but always with a nagging thought, a “yeah-but” on our conscience.

Which brings me back to another observation that Frank Reagan tells his family a week later at the table: “Doing the right thing is easy.   Deciding  what is right is hard.”


Just my point of view obviously, but tell me if you have another perspective I didn’t consider.  Thanks for reading!