Return of the Broadsheet Bully

Ron Borges had a rough few days here covering the Deion Branch contract situation and trying his best at every turn to attempt to make the Patriots look bad. Here’s a look at a few statements made by the Boston Globe columnist, and some rebuttal thoughts on each:

From Friday’s Patriots dropped the ball column:

If their trade demands are absurd (read that a first-round pick or more when Donte’ Stallworth was worth only a fourth and a backup player, and Ashley Lelie cost basically a third-round pick and a short-yardage runner), what then happens to Branch?

Borges and the like can say that the Patriots can only get a mid-round draft pick or spare part because that’s what players like Lelie, Stallworth, etc were expected to fetch and that the Patriots are being unreasonable if they demand more. So is Borges saying that Branch is only on the level of a Stallworth/Lelie type?

However, Borges and others ALSO think Branch should get the 43 million dollar Reggie Wayne contract, and that isn’t unreasonable because he’s worth it, to them. So why isn’t he worth more in a trade? Isn’t the Reggie Wayne leve of receiver worth more in a trade than a Donte Stallworth or Ashley Lelie? Is Branch closer to Stallworth/Lelie or Joey GallowayKeyshawn Johnson? (Each were traded for two first round picks)

Follow along this further, if the Patriots see this through to the bitter end, and allow Branch to come back after week 10, and then franchise him next spring, other teams can still sign him…but will need to give the Patriots two first round picks. If that is the case, why should the team settle for a second rounder now? And why is demanding a first round pick now “absurd” as Borges says?

Borges went through the usual Patriots are “cheap” routine, and went through a list of “what if these teams allowed their receivers to leave” scenarios. This was a nice Straw Man tactic used by Borges.

While we’re talking cheap…let’s talk cheapness for a moment…were the Steelers cheap with Antwaan Randle El?…..Colts cheap with Edgerin James?……Jets with John Abraham?…..Bills with Nate Clements (who they franchised)….Denver with Trevor Pryce?….Saints with LeCharles Bentley?….Seattle with Steve Hutchinson?

In addition, one of the scenarios Borges outlined above was Pittsburgh allowing Randle El and Hines Ward to leave. Well, the Steelers did allow Randle El to leave, (as the Patriots did with Givens) however, Ward is still there, and Branch should still be here had he honored the last year of his contract.

The holes in Borges’ faulty reasoning are endless…another quote from the same article:

but no team has yet won a Super Bowl by running the ball and throwing to their tight ends.

As emailer Malachi S. points out:

In the last 10 years alone, both the ’97 Broncos and the ’00 Ravens did exactly that. Both teams were led in receptions by their tight end (Shannon Sharpe) and both ran the ball exceptionally well.

From Saturday’s Branch offers refused column:

According to the Jets, their offer of a second-round choice was flatly rejected, with no counter demand made by the Patriots.

The insinuation is that the Patriots have acted in bad faith by not counter offering. According to most published reports, Chayut and Branch have never countered the Patriots first contract offer of months ago. Who is negotiating in bad faith here?

The point has been made elsewhere, but bears repeating here: If these offers from the Jets and Seahawks were so genuine and sincere…then why did they come in at the last moment? Especially on the Jets side, it seems to be nothing more than trying to cause trouble for a division rival.

in the second section of Borges’ Sunday Football Notes:

It became fashionable for some Patriots toadies in and out of the media to attack not Deion Branch but his agent, Jason Chayut, since Branch’s summer-long holdout began, but Chayut proved his point Friday.

A disappointing development has seen Borges turning into little more than a toadie for agents such as Jason Chayut and Brad Blank. You’ll recall that Borges had up close and personal access to David Givens’ foray into free agency, thanks to their mutually shared agent, Blank. This relationship was of course never mentioned in the Globe stories.

With Chayut, Borges again seems to be trying to send a message…essentially separating himself from other media types and giving his support to Chayut. Borges’ anti-management stand (except when it comes to the Raiders) has been well documented. With more organizations becoming tight-lipped about their dealings, agents have become reporter’s best friends. Of course, their statements are always going to be ridiculously slanted in favor of their clients, making them not the most objective sources for stories.

As reader Dana B emailed in:

His over-the-top defense of agent Chayut tells us more about Borges than it does about the dispute. We know that he is rabidly anti-management. One might conclude that his support of the agent is an extension of that bias. I think the larger agenda here is to demonstrate his support for agents generally, who just might be his best source of insider info to help fill his columns. Why otherwise launch an ad hominem broadside at his colleagues and readers than to send a friendly signal. And then he panders to the poor players claiming that “… no one in the Patriots locker room feels Branch deserves to be treated this way.

You also gotta question a guy who has defended Don King to the point of blows with another writer having the audacity to call anyone else a “toadie.”

Just as significant is that no one in the Patriots locker room feels Branch deserves to be treated this way.

No one, huh Ron? Did you talk to every single person in there? I think you forgot to add “They hate their coach.” This “locker room unrest” theme was just way too predictable, not to mention impossible to prove or disprove.

To top everything off, after all this work, Borges can’t be pleased that Mike Reiss ran a column yesterday (Experts don’t back Branch) which said that Branch faces a tough battle in winning his grievances.

Borges did some great work over the summer covering the NFL’s search for a new commissioner to replace Paul Tagliabue. His reporting of the candidates and selection process was top notch and a credit to the Globe. It even had me rethinking an earlier position on Borges. However, this recent coverage again shows that Borges should not be allowed anywhere near a Patriots story, as he is simply incapable of writing objectively about the team. Keep on the national NFL beat…just keep him away from Foxboro.