By Tom E. Curran
Last night, I got in a joust with a friend named Aaron Nagler on the Twitter. Nagler, a pretty funny entity who works at Cheesehead TVand tweets (@Aaron_Nagler) wondered why it was cool for players like Pats tight end Rob Gronkowski to go on NFL Network as a guestwhen incoming rookies are being discouraged from going to the NFL Draft which the NFL Network is (obviously) televising.
Actually, this brings up a fascinating (to me) conversation. You know the 1 billion credit the players give the owners every year from total league revenue? The money the owners are supposed to pump into ventures that grow the game? The NFL Network is a primary recipient of that money. So, in essence, the players have invested deeply in the NFL Network and are very much partners in that enterprise. They own it, too. Which is why on the Friday before the Super Bowl, the network didn't just televise the address by commissioner Roger Goodell but also the address by NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith. Further, the players - near as I can tell - haven't really been censored when they've been on. They are allowed to speak their peace on whatever topic arises. It behooves them to get on there and make their message heard. OK, fine. So why - as Nagler was asking - should rookies be discouraged from attending the NFL Draft and be televised on NFLN?This is where the legal stuff comes in. The players have a pending lawsuit accusing the NFL of antitrust violations.When theywere a trade association, the now-disbanded NFLPA agreed to allow things that went against fair trade practices as long as the owners and players bargained collectively in good faith. Now that the NFLPA is no more and the CBA's expired, a draft telling players where they will work is not a fair trade practice. It's unconstitutional, a violation of antitrust law. Sohow's it look if the players are arguing in court that the NFL is violating antitrust law, yet showing up gleefully forthe draft?So far, the players' talking point on discouraging rookies from going to the draft is that the man with whom they shake hands - Goodell - is the one locking them out. As with so many things, the players havewhiffedon an opportunityto deliver a clearer message. The draft is a violation of their rights as American workers. And without a CBA, they can't rightfully participate. What they should do is point this fact out and then magnanimously agree to attend, not for Goodell and not for the NFL Network but for the fans. The people who want to see their team's jersey held up. That would win the players a helluva lot more points with the public (where they're getting killed, by the way), thenboycotting or intimating that some rookie is going to have a hard time with veterans because he went to New York. But, to me at least, veterans have every right to appear on NFLN. They own a stake. (Read Florio's opposite viewpoint at PFT right here.)
Tom E. Curran can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran
When the topic of Deflategate was broached on HBO's Any Given Wednesday with Bill Simmons, which debuted this week, Ben Affleck became all kinds of fired up.
"What they did was suspend Tom Brady for four days for not giving them his [expletive] cellphone," Affleck said. "I would never give an organization as leak-prone as the NFL my [expletive] cellphone . . . so you can just look through my emails and listen to my voicemails?"
Affleck grew up in Cambridge, Mass. and is a passionate Patriots fan. He made no attempts to hide his fandom, and his appreciation for Brady, as he and Simmons (also a Patriots fan) discussed the football-deflation controversy that has now lasted well over a year.
Affleck, who said he would want to cast himself as Brady if ever a Deflategate movie was made, harped on the fact that the league wanted Brady to turn over his phone.
"Maybe Tom Brady is so [expletive] classy and such a [expletive] gentleman," Affleck said, "that he doesn’t want people to know that he may have reflected on his real opinion on some of his co-workers."
Brady is waiting for the Second Circuit to make a decision as to whether or not it will rehear his case against the NFL. Earlier this offseason, the Second Circuit reinstated Brady's four-game suspension issued by the league when a three-judge panel ruled in favor of the NFL, 2-1.
Pro Football Talk wrote on Thursday that a decision from the Second Circuit could come at any time. If the rehearding request is denied, Brady could then take the case to the Supreme Court. Should the Second Circuit grant Brady a rehearing, his suspension would be delaed until the court reached a decision. In that case, Brady could potentially play the entire 2016 season before a decision came to pass.
Tom Brady wasn't always the most famous person in his family. Growing up, his sisters were the accomplished athletes in the household.
For his latest Throwback Thursday style Facebook post, Brady published a pair of photos of an old high school essay that he wrote in the fall of his senior year in 1994. It was titled "The way my sisters influenced me."
I found an essay I wrote in 1994... I love my big sisters! #tbt. Thanks for the good grade Mr Stark!Posted by Tom Brady on Thursday, June 23, 2016
In it, he discusses some of the difficulties of growing up with three older sisters and no brothers. Because Maureen, Julie and Nancy Brady had achieved so much in softball, basketball and soccer, Brady -- or "Tommy," as he signed his paper -- had trouble getting noticed.
Of course, it wouldn't be long before Brady was headed from San Mateo, California to Ann Arbor, Michigan in order to play football for the Wolverines. He probably had no trouble garnering attention by then. Still, it's funny to read about how he felt overlooked in his youth.
He closed the essay explaining that he knew his sisters would always provide him support throughout his life, adding, "hopefully, just maybe, one day people will walk up to them and say, 'Aren't you Tommy's sister?' or 'Hey where is your brother?' Maybe . . . "
If the Brady sisters didn't get those kinds of comments by the time the baby of the family was given an 'A' for his English assignment, it probably didn't take long before they did. About seven years later, he took over as the starting quarterback of the Patriots.