Shooting From The Hip…

A few things on my mind this week:

After 49ers linebacker Chris Borland retired this week at the age of 24, citing the risks of the game, many in the media used this as an opportunity to laud Borland and use their platform to lecture the public on the dangers of the game. Some tried to tie in other offseason retirements of young players with the dangers of head trauma as well, even though those situations were all different.

I’m not going to debate the dangers of brain injury in football. They exist. Players are aware of the risks. Chris Borland felt the risks outweighed the rewards and made the decision to walk away. It took guts to do that. Anyone can (and should) admire that.

Some in the football media are very aggressive in pointing out the dangers of football, and applauded Borland for his stand on the issue and his integrity for walking away from the game. They’ve made football into a morality play.

For instance, everytime I turn on the WEEI morning show lately, I’m hearing how Kirk Minihane will not allow his son to play football, and I’m hearing the hosts reel off concussion data and make all sorts of connections to head trauma. When I look on Twitter, I see people covering football making sweeping statements about the dangers of the game.

My question is, if these media people feel so strongly about the dangers and morality of the game and risks to brain health, do any of them consider quitting their jobs covering the game? They’re not in any physical danger, obviously, but if they really are concerned and disgusted by the dangers of the game, can’t they take a stand, too?

Or do they value the “prestige” that comes with covering the NFL more than their integrity on the matter?

You should read former Patriot Matt Chatham’s take on this issue: Borland’s Retirement Brings Out Worst in NFL Media

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Are the Celtics for real? Glad you asked

I’ll give the Globe this, they’ve done a good job of bringing in writers on the Celtics beat as of late. I thought Baxter Holmes was excellent in the short time he was here, and I’ve liked what I’ve seen from Adam Himmelsbach thus far.

The Celtics are fun. They’re not a true contender in any sense of the word – I don’t quite get the point of the segments out there asking “If Celtics make playoffs, are they one and done?” Now they’re supposed to beat a top seed? Of course they probably lose in the first round. If they even get there. Baby steps.

I’ve never been a proponent of tanking, my feeling is that any playoff experience, even a playoff race that falls short is good experience for young players. This summer should see a bigger influx of talent onto the roster than we’ve seen in some time, and the future is looking up for this team.

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Should the Patriots even bother to take the field this fall? Based on what I hear on sports radio, probably not. Apparently the AFC East has morphed into the 1980’s NFL East overnight and the Patriots have no cornerbacks after cheaping out on Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner.

I’ll admit, the outraged guy on Twitter who asked Tom E Curran if the recent recall of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese was the reason why Bob Kraft wouldn’t pony up a couple million dollars more for Revis made me laugh a bit. As did they guy who said “What do you mean, wrong Kraft?” when Curran corrected the first guy.

What is amusing is that the people leading the charge in wailing over Revis and Browner, are the ones who early last season were first saying that Revis had lost a step, and then were saying that he wasn’t giving full effort on all plays. These same people complained all season long about the penalties that Browner was flagged for. Eventually he’s going to cost them a game, caller!

With Revis apparently headed back to the Jets all along, the Patriots knew that they would not be able to get another cornerback of Revis’ man-to-man coverage ability. Thus they would probably be playing more zone defense, which made Browner’s price tag way too high for someone who would then be more of a situational guy. If Revis was still here, Browner probably would be too.

It’s always fun to hear the screaming pulling-out-their-hair types in March. There’s a long time to go before they actually start playing games.

Revis Fallout Continues…

The Bruins and Celtics have had exciting wins this week, and the Red Sox are ramping up towards opening day.

But still much of the local talk this week has centered on the bumbling, incompetent, cheap, Super Bowl winning franchise that plays NFL games in Gillette Stadium.

The Patriots have had five players from their Super Bowl team sign elsewhere – Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner, Shane Vereen, Akeem Ayers and Jonathan Casillas. They also parted ways (at least for now) with Vince Wilfork.

As of now, the only signing of note that the Patriots have made is linebacker/DL Jabaal Sheard, who should make a nice impact in the front seven. Their other signings have been depth and special teams guys.

But, we’re entering the phase of free agency where New England usually makes their moves. The silly money has been spent, and there are still productive players on the market looking for jobs.

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It sure was nice of Felger and Mazz to license their show for Dan Shaughnessy to use almost word-for-word as his column today.

I’m curious though, just where are these Patriots toadies who are trashing Revis right now and saying that he can’t play and how he only had two interceptions this season?

Did Dan make them up like characters in a Mike Barnicle column? Because I haven’t heard them. It’s been pretty universal to me that fans wish the team could’ve found a way to keep Revis.

Also – if Robert Kraft was truly “needy” about being “more special and smarter than the competition” and being “loved and admired” wouldn’t he have just paid Revis whatever he wanted?

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A few links, items of interest from this week:

Katie Nolan to debut talk show on Fox Sports 1 – Chad Finn looks at the Framingham native and rising star getting her own show, and also examines some numbers from last weekend’s prime time boxing telecast for NBC.

NESN to feature Worcester State duo – Bill Doyle looks at the “NESN Next Producer” contest, and the entry from a pair of students about the “Death and Rebirth of Baseball in Worcester”

The Red Sox will finally formally introduce Cuban phenom Yoan Moncada at an 11:30 press conference this morning.

The story behind how Yoan Moncada landed with Red Sox – Rob Bradford has a good look at how the deal between the club and the player came together.

Scouts say Mookie Betts poised for ‘All-Star’ year – Alex Speier has baseball evaluators very high on the Red Sox young centerfielder.

Tuukka Rask turns mistakes into wins – Fluto Shinzawa has a couple of hot games from the Bruins goaltender putting hope into the team’s chances for the postseason.

Celtics set bar even higher after beating Memphis – Steve Bulpett has the Celtics getting a signature win this week, one that can only raise their own expectations for themselves.

‘It Was Like Living in a Video Game': An Oral History of Larry Bird’s 60-Point Game – A must-read from Finn yesterday on the 30th anniversary of the Legend’s 60-point game. Almost all the principals from the game participated in the article, even benchwarmers Carlos Clark and Greg Kite.

Here We Go Again…

Some people will never learn.

Granted, after the Patriots won the Super Bowl (which they indeed DID do, by the way) I did not foresee the parting of ways with Vince Wilfork, Brandon Browner and Darrelle Revis as the first moves towards the team’s title defense.

But if there is one thing that we’ve learned in the last 15 years, it is that these guys generally know what they’re doing, right? I don’t think that’s a ‘fanboy’ take, it seems pretty rooted in line with facts.

Did they want to keep Revis? I’m sure they did. Would it have made sense to match what the Jets gave him? They would’ve had to have shaved off even more salary in order to do that, and still needed more to sign anyone else or their rookie class. Yet, you’ll see and hear various ignoramuses spouting that they ‘should’ve just paid the man!’

It doesn’t help that there are willfully ignorant sports radio hosts leading the charge on this, with their thinly veiled borderline anti-Semitic comments about the team owner. “They have a budget, Tony, and they stick to that budget…”  Others insist that the Patriots are still paying Revis $5 million this season to play for the Jets.

So what is the plan? I really have no idea. Are they going to start their title defense with Malcolm Butler and Logan Ryan as their starting cornerbacks? I don’t think so, but who knows?

I do know that they valued Devin McCourty enough to make the huge financial commitment to. He, along with Jamie Collins and Dont’a Hightower are the key cogs to this defense and they are 28, 25 and 24 years old, respectively. They’re the current and future leaders of this group. Chandler Jones is 25 as well and Sealver Siliga is 24. All of those guys will have paydays coming up in the next few years.

It’s tough, but that’s how the salary cap works. Name me the last team to go “all in” on the first day of free agency and win the Super Bowl. It doesn’t work that way. Team that spend a lot in the first days of free agency are generally lousy teams who have a lot of cap space because they don’t have good enough players on their own team to pay.

The team will play a different style come fall. They’ll have to. I think they’ll figure something out. That’s not blind faith. That’s looking at an established track record and having confidence in the leadership that put it in place.

So the lunatic fringe of Patriots nation (h/t to Kerry Byrne) can howl and whine and moan, and the Jet fans can gloat over another offseason victory, but in the end, I’m pretty confident they’re all going to end up looking stupid.

Again.

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By the way, how’s that tampering case coming, Roger?

Tampering accusations are going to be dismissed as “sour grapes” by many, but there seems to be a clear pattern here that led to Revis returning to the Jets.

First, Woody Johnson “accidentally” let slip that he’d really like to have Revis back with the Jets.

Since then there have been reports in the New York media that the Jets were working furiously to come up with a plan to sign Revis away from the Patriots should they decline his option. The NY Daily News has been leading the way on this, reporting that Johnson was having  intense internal discussions to bring back Revis.

How do reports of those discussions make it into the media? Someone leaked them. Tampering.

Even this from the other day – If money is equal, Darrelle Revis will choose Patriots: sources – seems like the media being used to drive up the Jets price, and then today the story was different – if the offers were similar, Revis would’ve still chosen the Jets because he loves New York. OK then.

I call shenanigans. I’m not the only one.

I’m not sure you could have a more textbook case of tampering than what went down here.

No big deal? You can say that Revis would’ve ended up with the Jets anyway, but that really is not the point.

What would the national reaction have been if the roles in this affair had been reversed?

I suspect Goodell will do nothing. He claims it’s his job to investigate when rules are broken, just as he claims he is available to the media every day.

Twitter, Cap and JaVale, Oh My!

Help me out here.

So John Dennis and Gerry Callahan, who were once suspended for making racist remarks on the air, Kirk Minihane, who was suspended for calling a woman a “gutless bitch” and saying she should “drop dead” on the air, and John Tomase, who forced his paper to issue a public retraction and apology for a story he wrote, (but kept his job) have been the ones leading the charge for accountability for Twitter trolls?

Has anyone looked at John Dennis’ Twitter account? At times, he’s barely a notch above the idiots they’ve been condemning all week.

I have no issue with Curt Schilling putting the misogynistic morons who defamed his daughter on blast. (Though, if he’s as experienced with the Internet as we think he is, didn’t he realize something like this was likely to happen?) I recognize that D&C&M and Tomase have the audience and platform to bring attention to this situation.

I just wish they weren’t such blatant hypocrites.

Chad Finn looks at the Schilling story as well as another Twitter snafu from the week:

Sports incidents provide cautionary tales on Twitter

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The NFL salary cap is complicated and confusing, there’s no doubt about it. Cap space, cash spending, carryover, signing bonuses, Top 51 rule -it’s easy to get things mixed up.

Enter Miguel Benzan. His Patriots Salary Cap Information Page has long been an essential resource for any Patriots fan. Also, his blog on Patsfans.com provides outstanding breakdowns of individual situations and he’s a must follow on Twitter, as well.

It’s been good to see him getting more and more credit and recognition from the mainstream media, and watching him (gently) correct reporters on the facts in their coverage is fun.

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There was an interesting media story around the Celtics yesterday, as it was reported early in the morning that the team would be signing free agent center JaVale McGee to a contract through next season. Jeff Goodman of ESPN was the first on the story. Other outlets confirmed the story, and even Danny Ainge himself sort of confirmed it on his appearance on 98.5’s Toucher and Rich program.

Outlets went about producing content to reflect the signing, and what it would mean for the team.

But later in the day, the venerable Steve Bulpett of the Herald broke the news that McGee would not be coming to the Celtics, that the two sides could not reach agreement on a contract.

There followed a bit of confusion online, the Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach was on an airplane and continued tweeting as if the deal was going through, and promoted an updated story on the situation, before realizing the deal had fallen through and having to correct himself, but having no access to a phone to confirm.

In many ways this incident was a symbol of the new media world we inhabit. In the “old” days, the story wouldn’t have even been reported until the next day, and would’ve just been a footnote, with the team coming “close to signing” McGee but ultimately not being able to. The need for constant, real-time content isn’t always conducive to accuracy.

No one is really to blame for how the reporting was done, Goodman went with what he knew, and others confirmed it, but it wasn’t final yet, and things happen. In the end, the real scoop went to Bulpett.

Young Celtics Can’t Hang On Against Warriors

The Celtics ran out to a 26 point lead against the team many believe is the best in the NBA right now, the Golden State Warriors.

The Celtics didn’t so much lose that lead and eventually the game, as they did return to the mean.  What they did in the first half wasn’t really sustainable, but they remained competitive right to the end, and still had a chance to pull out the game in the end.  (Check CelticsLinks.com for all coverage.)

While the Celtics are a long ways from being a contender again, I’ll take their situation over just about any other “rebuilding” franchise in the NBA. They’ve got a bold GM, a very good coach who is getting better, some decent young talent under control, and tons of upcoming cap space and draft picks, not to mention trade exceptions.

If you think teams like the Knicks, Sixers or Lakers are going to become contenders before the Celtics, I’ll politely mock you and move on.

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The Bruins will look to make a final splash to determine the future of their season today with the NHL trade deadline coming down at 3pm this afternoon.

GM Peter Chiarelli made a move for the future overnight, trading picks for Tampa right wing Brett Connolly.

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The Patriots are are facing a deadline today with the 4pm deadline for designating Franchise players. While many think that S Devin McCourty is the prime candidate for this tag, Mike Reiss tweeted this morning that his intelligence suggests that K Stephen Gostkowski is more likely to be tagged.

I’m not sure what that means. Do they think they can work something out with McCourty before free agency starts next week? Does it mean they’re close with Revis and can’t make both moves right now? Could they lose both McCourty and Revis next week? I don’t think so, but I shudder at the possibility.

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Former Red Sox ace Curt Schilling is in the news this morning after his post on 38 Pitches last night (yes, it still exists!) about a situation that arose after he tweeted congratulations to his daughter for being accepted to college.

The world we live in…Man has it changed. ADDENDUM!

Wow. Sadly though, the types of Tweets Schilling is talking about, are all over the place. It’s the downside of social media, for sure.

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Speaking of idiots on social media, we have Peter King. The MMQB leader seemingly can’t go more than a couple of weeks without putting something absolutely tasteless or irresponsible out for public consumption.

The 21-year-old son of ESPN’s Ivan Maisel has been missing for a week now, and media types all over the country have been raising awareness of the case and expressing their concern and hopes.

King naturally, tries an awkward attempt at injecting himself into the topic and relating to the situation:

Ugh.

Does King even for a second consider how he comes off here? People I respect a ton have said that we shouldn’t get on King for this, as he no doubt is concerned about the Maisel family.

I don’t know that. To me this is King injecting himself into a topic that in no way involves him. If he wants to express sympathy for the family, there were a million better ways to do it. How about reaching out privately?

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A couple other links:

Why do media need to talk to athletes? – In like of the previously affable Kevin Durant going off on the media over All Star weekend, Bob Ryan examines why talking to the media is a part of the job for pro athletes.

A call to give Dick Vitale one more Duke-North Carolina game – Richard Deitsch’s SI Now media column looks at the big stories of the week.

Dale and Holley Sticking Around A Bit Longer

A bit of positive news, in my opinion, from Chad Finn this morning, (Dale Arnold-Michael Holley reunion has worked for WEEI) as he reports that Michael Holley is about to sign a new deal with WEEI and that he and Dale Arnold will be remaining together in the afternoons on the station – along with Jerry Thornton.

Holley has his flaws, but in my limited dealings with him, he’s always been one of the more thoughtful and self-aware guys out there. The show is a nice contrast to the daily bombast of negativity that is the Felger and Mazz show, and their ratings are reflecting that. While still trailing F&M by over 5 ratings points, Dale and Holley posted a strong 8.0 rating in the fall book.

There are plenty of vocal haters out there of both Dale and Holley, but I find myself appreciative of their style and I’m glad WEEI management is recognizing their success and keeping the show going.

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It’s early, but I think the Marc Bertrand/Scott Zolak pairing on 98.5 mid-days is going to be fine, and perhaps even an upgrade on the year-round basis. The football stuff might take a small step back, but Bertrand has a better all-around sports knowledge base and ability to talk about other sports than Andy Gresh did.

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But we can trust these guys to be objective when talking about the team? Klemko himself said the Patriots should lose all of their 2015 draft picks and railed about them cheating and getting away with it.

He should probably stick to beating up cab drivers and stealing cabs.

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It was somewhat odd to hear Danny Ainge trash the conditioning of Jared Sullinger yesterday morning on the Toucher and Rich show on 98.5. While it is no great surprise to anyone who looks at Sullinger that he would have issues with conditioning, it is rare to hear a team executive in any sport so publicly criticize his own player in this manner.

Ainge is no fool though. For the last few years he managed to keep Rajon Rondo’s trade value at least somewhat level by defending the player at every turn. If he’s saying these things about Sullinger, there must be a reason for it as well. The trade deadline is past, no further moves are going to be made until after the season. Sullinger isn’t going to play again this season, so the comments by Ainge likely were meant to attempt to light a fire under the talented yet seemingly unmotivated young forward.

Midweek Media Notes

A few items of interest across the Boston Sports Media world…

With Yoan Moncada and Other Elite Red Sox Prospects, It’s OK to Believe the Hype – I’m glad Chad Finn addressed the absolutely ridiculous memes on sports radio following word that the Red Sox had agreed to terms with the Cuban phenom.

Not that this is anything new, but I just don’t understand this mindset. The ability to find a negative – even a perceived one – in anything, is just astounding, and frankly, disturbing. That train of thought then spreads from show-to-show, from radio to TV like an insidious disease.

Putting on the old bastard hat for a moment, I remember when following sports used to be fun, and it was actually OK to be excited for your teams, and when they made a big move.

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It was interesting to see John Henry directly refute what his own employee, Dan Shaughnessy wrote about Larry Lucchino losing power in the Red Sox front office. Henry said “I read that ridiculous story…

Shaughnessy insists today that he’s not retracting what he wrote. So is this 1) Shaughnessy attempting to save face, 2) Henry trying to minimize embarrassment for Lucchino, or 3) A way to drum up interest in the Globe by creating a false conflict between owner and employee?

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Keep Revis and McCourty, that’s all I ask.

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Emily Austen named new on-air reporter for Tampa Bay Rays television broadcasts – The Celtics digital and arena reporter is moving on to a new position with FOX’s Sun Sports.

This position has been a stepping stone in recent years. Kristine Leahy is now anchor at CBSLA, Molly McGrath is now host of America’s Pregame on FoxSports1, and now Austen is leaving for a more prominent role elsewhere.

Jason Mastrodonato is the latest MassLive.com reporter to be plucked for a larger role. He’s done great work over there, and bringing him on essentially to replace John Tomase is a really good move for the Herald.

Adam Kaufman slides into the seat that was held for decades by legendary Patriots radio man Gil Santos.

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The Boston Sports Media in the Information Age and Taming the Beast Within – Take some time to read this by Larry Russell. Some mind-blowing quotes in here from the likes of Gary Tanguay, Dan Shaughnessy, Bob Ryan and Mike Felger, all of whom, not surprisingly, are either harsh or condescending towards Patriots fans.

New Brookline sports show by the fans, for the fans – A look at a new show by Scott Kerman.

Red Sox Spring Training Game Schedule on NESN

NESN will broadcast 12 games of the Red Sox spring training schedule, beginning with a March 8th game against the Mets. Remember, for a safe place to bet visit GamblingSites.org.

NESN’s 2015 Red Sox Spring Training Game Telecasts

DATE OPPONENT TIME*
Sunday, March 8 New York Mets (Port St. Lucie) 1:00 PM
Friday, March 13 New York Yankees 7:00 PM
Sunday, March 15 Philadelphia (Clearwater) 1:00 PM
Tuesday, March 17        Atlanta 1:00 PM*
Saturday, March 21       Pittsburgh (Bradenton) 1:00 PM
Sunday, March 22 Philadelphia 1:00 PM
Sunday, March 29 Tampa Bay                                     1:00 PM
Monday, March 30 Minnesota 7:00 PM
Tuesday, March 31        Tampa Bay (Port Charlotte) 1:00 PM*
Wednesday, April 1 Toronto 1:00 PM*
Friday, April 3 Minnesota 1:00 PM
Friday, March 4              Minnesota (Hammond Stadium) 1:00 PM

*Select Spring Training day games will be replayed in their entirety at 7:00 pm as the schedule permits.

Will ESPN Learn From Its Latest Disaster?

The process of breaking news is obviously a complicated one. How much information do you need to have before you go with a story?

In the case of the Outside The Lines reporting this week, it seems that the reporters involved came up woefully short.

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ESPN put the spotlight (literally in this case) on Jim McNally.

ESPN is without an Ombudsman at this time, so we won’t have an internal reaction on that front as to how those involved came to the conclusion that the information that they had was worthy of smearing a part time employee from coast to coast.

It’s worthy to check the writings of the departed Ombudsman, Robert Lipsyte for some prescient insight on how ESPN views journalism, and perhaps how they should view it.

In his final entry, Lipsyte writes I think that improvement is most needed in ESPN’s inconsistent execution of journalism, which does not appear to be the highest of company priorities.

He suggested a central news desk with a dedicated staff whose entire job would be breaking actual news. Currently the network just sort of taps into resources here and there as needed amongst its personnel.

This incident seems a perfect example of the flaws in the ESPN way of doing things. The initial report seemed so incomplete and raised many questions, but the main reporter, Kelly Naqi, (who is no rookie, she’s been at ESPN since 1987.) was adamant on WEEI yesterday that she engaged in “no speculation” and her job was to “literally just report the facts.”

She failed in her job then.

Jim McNally ended up at the center of a whole new wave of CHEATING! cries from around the country, ESPN First Take made comments such as “such a dumb attempt to cheat on the part of this part time locker room attendant.” and “this part time locker room attendant for the referees will take the fall for this, he will clearly lose his job and go down in infamy as the guy who went rogue and attempted to cheat.

The network even came up to McNally’s house here in New Hampshire and attempted to bully him into a comment.

ESPN then planned their Outside The Lines broadcast yesterday in which Naqi could take her bow as having broken open a new angle to the AFCCG story.

Except that the show was a mess. Their guests – one a former NFL official and the other a former official and head of NFL officials – directly contradicted each other, and then Adam Schefter unexpectedly called into the program and dropped a bomb, which essentially cleared McNally within 30 seconds.

After that, ESPN went into crisis mode. An internal alert went out directing all personnel that they were “holding off further reporting [on this story] temporarily until we resolve a few issues.” Despite Schefter’s report, the story was not updated on any ESPN site for a number of hours. The network later also directed staff to not attach the tag “deflategate” in rundowns on the story, preferring to use “NFL Ball” instead.

It’s not clear what the issues were that needed resolving, be they journalistic, or perhaps even legal. We know that the NFLRA demanded an apology from ESPN for what appears to be sloppy wording in the reporting – “NFL Official” vs “NFL Employee.”  Was someone representing McNally involved?

Schefter may have saved ESPN from itself. Had they continued along the path of painting McNally as the villain here, they could’ve been in deeper trouble with McNally, who as it is, should be considering his options.

The questions of what happened that allowed the original report to be published need to be answered. Even a loyal soldier like Mike Reiss is openly questioning the process:

If I’m a reader/Patriots follower, and passionate about the team, the natural follow-up is to search for answers. What happened? What was the process that led to the story being published, then altered, and the time lag in which it happened? I wish I was in position to provide those answers, but that’s not my job and quite honestly, I don’t know those answers. But it is my job to communicate with you and be honest and accountable. I’ve said in the past that I feel like an ombudsman would be beneficial for all involved when it comes to coverage of the Patriots/under-inflated footballs, and I include myself in that category because I’m far from perfect.

While in the past it has been fun to mock Patriots fans as being paranoid about the coverage the team receives, it sure seems like there is a concerted effort by someone (*cough*Mike Kensil*cough*) to dictate the coverage that is coming out, especially in this instance with ESPN.

It’s interesting to me anyway, that all initial “leaks” seem to be slanting in one direction, and then they are followed up by leaks that swing things in the other direction. It is clear to most by now that the NFL has screwed this up royally.

What is ESPN’s role in that? I think we deserve answers.

Update: From Tom E Curran: Strong NFL link to recent ‘Deflategate’ leak

It’s about the ties of Kelly Naqi’s husband:

More recently, Hussain Naqi worked for the New Meadowlands Stadium Company in East Rutherford, N.J. There, he served as Vice President of Business Planning and General Counsel at MetLife Stadium, the home of the Jets and Giants. Naqi would have worked closely with the league office on all the logistics for Super Bowl 48. The man in charge of “running” the Super Bowl for the NFL is its Vice President of Game Operations. He would speak to Naqi a lot. His name is Mike Kensil.

Ugh.

NFL Integrity Takes Another Hit

Before ESPN’s Outside The Lines ran their program this afternoon, they sent an afternoon email promising new developments.They quoted a former NFL head linesman as calling the activities of Patriots locker room attendant Jim McNally “unusual.” They even created a cute little hashtag for Twitter people: #PatriotsIssues

After Kelly Naqi repeated her reports that McNally had attempted to introduce an unapproved game ball to the AFC Championship Game, Adam Schefter called into the program. The show turned.

Let all that sink in, will you?

So the NFL, investigating the Patriots, is revealed to have had an employee stealing charity-bound game balls.

Great work, Roger.

Also:

Report: NFL official fired in deflate-gate case for selling football